Jjajangmyeon (Black Bean Sauce Noodles)
Jjajangmyeon is a popular Korean-Chinese noodle dish topped with sautéed diced pork and vegetables in a sweet and savory black bean sauce.
Jjajangmyeon (짜장면) is made with chunjang (춘장), a fermented soybean and wheat flour paste mixed with a dark caramel sauce. When making jjajangmyeon, you usually first fry it in some oil to remove some of its bitter taste. The chunjang that I use doesn’t need to be fried beforehand. Adding sugar also helps to balance out the paste’s saltiness.
Try not to confuse chunjang with doenjang (된장). While doenjang is also a Korean fermented soybean paste, it is made with only salt and soybeans. It is also a bit tangier, and has more umami flavor.
This jjajangmyeon recipe uses pork for protein. I’ve tried using beef, but it doesn’t quite add the same depth of flavor. The beef taste is also a bit too strong for this dish. I like to first sauté the pork in some oil, garlic, and green onions to remove some its gamey taste.
For vegetables, I use zucchini, potato, onion, and red cabbage. Most recipes use green cabbage. However, I like how red cabbage is more nutritious and vibrant in color.
Julienned cucumber is a popular topping and garnish. While totally optional, I find that it adds some fresh crunch that balances some of the heavier and savory flavors.
Fresh Korean “Udong & Jjajang” noodles go best with this dish. You’ll most likely find them in the refrigerated section of your local Asian grocery store. They are the same ones I use for my Korean spicy seafood noodle soup and Korean spicy noodle hotpot. I like how these thicker, fresh wheat noodles are tender yet chewy.
Koreans also like to enjoy the jjajangmyeon sauce with some fried rice (jjajangbap, 짜장밥).
Korean-Chinese cuisine (Junghwa Yori, 중화요리) was created by early Chinese immigrants in Korea. Over time, the Chinese restaurants in Korea created their own adaptations of classic Chinese dishes using Korean ingredients and flavors.
You’ll notice that Chinese zhajiangmian sauce has a thicker consistency and is more meat-based. It is sometimes described as Chinese bolognese. Korean jjajangmyeon sauce, on the other hand, is thinner and loaded with meat AND diced vegetables.
Other popular Korean-Chinese dishes areKorean spicy seafood noodle soup (jjamppong,짬뽕), sweet and sour fried pork (tangsuyuk, 탕수육), and spicy garlic fried chicken (ganpungi, 깐풍기).
These Korean-Chinese dishes are also delicious to enjoy with sliced Korean pickled radish (danmuji, 단무지). Since most of the dishes are pretty hearty or fried, the sweet and tangy radish adds a nice, bright flavor to the meal. You can most likely find this at your local Asian supermarket.
Jjajangmyeon as seen in Korea
Like Pizza Delivery
In Korea, you can order jjajangmyeon for quick home delivery. It’s sort of like how pizza is conveniently and quickly delivered here in the US. In some Korean TV shows, you may notice someone delivering these noodles in a steel metal carrier via scooter.
For Single Koreans
There is also an unofficial “holiday” in Korea called Black Day (블랙데이). On April 14th, single Korean friends gather and eat these black bean sauce noodles. I remember seeing couples everywhere back when I still lived in Korea. Korean couples usually get “couple rings,” “couple t-shirts,” and other matching accessories.
There are a lot of fun and unique things to do in Korea if you’re in a relationship. They get two holidays (Valentine’s Day and White Day) to express their love to their significant other. So naturally and unsurprisingly, single Koreans made their own day to embrace their singleness together.
Other Korean Noodle Dishes:
Mise en place
If you make this Jjajangmyeon, I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag me on Instagram!
Jjajangmyeon (Black Bean Sauce Noodles)
- 26 oz fresh Korean "Udong & Jjajang" noodles
Sauce Base Ingredients
- 3 tbsp sunflower seed or canola oil
- 5 tbsp chunjang paste
- 1 tbsp garlic, crushed
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- ¾ lb pork loin, cubed
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1½ cup chicken broth
- 2 tbsp cornstarch powder
- ½ tsp salt (or TT)
- ½ cup yellow onion (cubed to about ½")
- ½ cup zucchini (cubed to about ½")
- ½ cup potato (cubed to about ½")
- 1 cup red cabbage (cubed to about ½")
- ½ cucumber, julienned (optional garnish)
- Bring about 5 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. This will later be used to cook the noodles.
- Preheat the oil in a skillet on medium-low heat.
- Add the chunjang. Let it simmer for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Transfer the fried chunjang and oil to a small bowl.
- Pour only the oil back into the skillet.
- Add the garlic and green onions to the skillet and sauté for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the pork and stir for about 2 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the potatoes and stir occasionally for another 2 minutes.
- Mix in the onion, cabbage, zucchini, and fried chunjang paste. Let it cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the coconut sugar, oyster sauce, salt and broth. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer on low heat for about 3 minutes.
- Mix the starch with ¼ cup of the sauce in a small bowl. Add the starch mixture to the skillet and stir it in. Let it cook until the jjajangmyeon sauce is thickens and vegetables are cooked through.
- Add the fresh noodles to a pot of boiling water (in step 1) and cook them according to package instructions. Drain the noodles in a colander.
- Add some noodles into a bowl, top with the jjajangmyeon sauce and some julienned cucumbers. Serve immediately.