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What Does Jajangmyeon Taste Like?

If you’re a fan of K-dramas or Korean cookery, you might have found yourself wondering about jajangmyeon.

A Chinese-Korean noodle dish, jajangmyeon is often eaten as a takeout meal, to celebrate a long day finally ending!

What Does Jajangmyeon Taste Like

It’s incredibly popular and found on the menu of many Korean restaurants.

But what does jajangmyeon taste like? Jajangmyeon has an earthy and salty taste, which is offset by additions of sugar.

Cooked with pork, the dish has a meaty base, which is enhanced by using pork fat and chicken stock.

Jajangmyeon noodles are thick and chewy, and are amazing when coated in the umami sauce.

There’s sometimes a slight hint of sourness, but this can be fried away, or offset with sugar.

Jajangmyeon is an incredibly popular fast food, and can be made in under an hour.

Take a look at this guide to learn more about jajangmyeon, and why this Korean classic must be added to your food bucket list!

RELATED: 20 Traditional Korean Breakfast Recipes

The Benefits Of Eating Jajangmyeon

Jajangmyeon is created using quite simple ingredients: chunjang, diced pork, noodles, and vegetables.

A delicious dish with a balance of sweet and salty flavors, the main reason to eat jajangmyeon is the amazing flavor!

But it also comes with some impressive health benefits.

The sauce used in jajangmyeon is made with chunjang, a black bean paste.

This is part of what gives the jajangmyeon its sweet and salty flavor, as chunjang is made with caramel. It also uses a fermented flour base.

Fermented foods are thought to be good for the gut, with potential antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Fermented foods can potentially lower your risk of heart disease, if eaten as part of a balanced diet.

Jajangmyeon also traditionally contains lots of vegetables.

Onion, green cabbage, mushrooms, zucchinis, and potatoes are all used in jajangmyeon. These contain plenty of nutrients and vitamins.

Jajangmyeon is often topped with even more vegetables, including cucumber, scallions, and even more onions.

If you’re making jajangmyeon at home, you can make your dish slightly healthier. Replace chicken stock with water, and substitute pork for mushrooms!

But the biggest benefit to eating jajangmyeon is that it makes you feel good.

In Korea, jajangmyeon is seen as a quick dinner, often ordered as take out.

It’s a comfort meal, something that you’d enjoy after a long day of work.

It’s also pretty good for your wallet! One of the reasons jajangmyeon became so popular is due to how inexpensive the ingredients are.

How Is Jajangmyeon Prepared And Served?

Jajangmyeon is made from noodles, pork, and vegetables fried and coated in a black bean sauce, and often topped with eggs, vegetables, and pickles.

The first thing you need to do when making jajangmyeon is prepare your meat and vegetables.

Jajangmyeon comes together quickly when you’ve started cooking, so it’s better to get the prep done in advance.

Jajangmyeon Taste Like

Cut the pork and vegetables into small, even cubes, and then place the pork in a marinade consisting of rice wine, ginger powder, and salt and pepper.

In a wok, melt pork fat or vegetable oil, and fry the chunjang for a few minutes. This will remove the bitter taste from the paste.

Add some sugar and fry for a few more minutes, before removing the sauce from the wok.

Fry the pork in the wok, adding vegetables in stages until everything is evenly cooked. Then, return the black bean paste to the pan.

Add chicken stock and rice vinegar, and coat all the ingredients with the sauce. Finish with a starch slurry, which will thicken the sauce.

Prepare the noodles, place them in your dish, and top with the sauce and vegetables.

Jajangmyeon can be served as is, or finished with a hard boiled egg, cucumber slices, or pickled radish!

Jajangmyeon is a pretty easy dish to make. If you’re new to Asian cookery, it’s a good recipe to try.

This is how traditional jajangmyeon is prepared and served, but there are some variations

Gan jajangmyeon is almost identical to the traditional meal, but stock or water isn’t added to the sauce.

This makes the sauce thicker and drier.

Samseon jajangmyeon is a seafood take on jajangmyeon, and will often combine pork with a seafood such as squid or mussels.

While traditional jajangmyeon uses diced meat, yuni jajangmyeon is made with ground meat.

And jaengban jajangmyeon parboils the noodles, before stir-frying them in the black bean sauce!

Jajangmyeon Origin And Popularity

There are a few different theories as to how jajangmyeon became such a popular Korean dish, but it’s mostly thought to have been introduced to Korea by Chinese merchants, and adapted over the years to suit Korean preferences.

The origin of jajangmyeon is likely to be zhajiangmian, a Chinese dish that literally translates to “fried sauce noodles”.

Topping noodles with a fermented soybean sauce and diced meats, zhajiangmian originated in Shandong, Northern China, before its popularity spread throughout the country.

And in 1905, zhajiangmian made its way to Korea.

In 1905, Chinese merchants from Shandong opened a restaurant in Incheon, Korea, known as Gonghwachun.

On the menu was fried sauce noodles, which proved popular with Chinese immigrants and the local Korean population.

Over the years, zhajiangmian gradually evolved into jajangmyeon, and it changed naturally to match the food culture of Korea.

The popularity of jajangmyeon, and the changes to the traditional Chinese recipe, were partly the result of the aftermath of the Korean War.

The ingredients of jajangmyeon were made inexpensive, allowing more people to make the dish.

And with jajangmyeon often being served from the port town of Incheon, it was introduced to merchants and travelers passing through.

They took jajangmyeon recipes with them, spreading the popularity across Korea.

Variations of jajangmyeon replace pork with beef or chicken, use ground instead of cubed meat, or add popular seafoods such as mussels.

You can also get vegetarian jajangmyeon, which will typically replace the meat with mushrooms or tofu.

Is Chapagetti The Same As Jajangmyeon?

Chapagetti is very similar to jajangmyeon, and styled to resemble the dish, but the two aren’t the same.

Chapagetti is an instant noodle dish, released in South Korea in 1984.

It takes its name from a combination of jajangmyeon (sometimes written as chajangmyeon), and spaghetti.

Add the two together, and you get Chapagetti!

Like jajangmyeon, Chapagetti is served with a black bean sauce. This comes as a powder, and is cooked in water with dried noodles.

The powder and water combine to make a silky sauce with a salty and rich taste, similar to the sauce of jajangmyeon.

Although Chapagetti might emulate jajangmyeon, it’s only an echo of the original flavor. After all, this is a low effort, ready-made version.

Chapagetti is to jajangmyeon as boxed mac and cheese is to your mom’s homemade macaroni.

But that doesn’t mean Chapagetti isn’t delicious! Just like boxed mac and cheese, it’s tasty, comforting, and an excellent meal when you want something low effort.

Chapagetti can be eaten as is, or you can make it a little closer to traditional jajangmyeon by adding meat and vegetables.

The White Version Of Jajangmyeon

You no longer need to worry about the dark-colored black bean sauce from regular jjajangmyeon staining your clothes. 

From the heart of Incheon, Korea’s Chinatown is the white version of jjajangmyeon, popularized by the Korean variety show “Running Man.”

The novelty and uniqueness of these products might lead one to believe they are fads. 

Several positive reviews have been received on its taste and flavor, but this was not the case.

Fun Facts About Jajangmyeon

If you’re a fan of Korean dramas, then you might have heard jajangmyeon mentioned more than a few times!

Jajangmyeon is a Korean comfort food, and a popular food to get delivered.

After a long day of dealing with whatever romantic drama/work problems/friendship fall-outs/general stress that’s unavoidable on TV, a K-drama protagonist might order themselves a bowl of jajangmyeon to celebrate/commiserate.

Jajangmyeon has become the dish of April 14th, aka Black Day.

Black Day is a day for those who didn’t receive any gifts on Valentine’s Day or White Day.

On Black Day, single people get together to eat jajangmyeon, and discuss their lack of romantic entanglements. Jajangmyeon is eaten because the sauce is so dark.

The name jajangmyeon isn’t a Korean word, but a transliteration of the Chinese term zhajiangmian.

The original restaurant that introduced jajangmyeon to Korea is now a museum, celebrating all things jajangmyeon!

In Korea, jajangmyeon is an incredibly popular dish, and one that’s often enjoyed after a long day. It has a salty and sweet taste, but it isn’t spicy.

It’s also completely delicious and pretty easy to make!

What Is The Best Way To Cook Jajangmyeon 

Jajangmyeon is a traditional Korean noodle dish cooked with black soy sauce, sweet brown sugar, and gochujang (a spicy Korean red pepper paste). 

The ingredients are boiled in a sauce until the sauce is reduced and then served with the noodles.

The noodles are stir-fried with thinly sliced pork, egg, scallions, and bean sprouts.

The best way to cook Jajangmyeon is by cooking it on the stovetop with a tablespoon of vegetable oil

In a large pan, saute onion and garlic in the oil until they are soft. Add the noodles and stir until they are slightly softened. 

Add the soy sauce and black pepper and stir until the noodles are evenly coated. Add the water and bring it to a boil. 

Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for about five minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Nutritional Value Of Jajangmyeon 

Total Fat9 gm
Cholesterol12 mg
Saturated Fat1.1 gm
Fiber3.9 gm
Sodium98 gm
Potassium328 mg
Protein7.12 gm
Total Carbohydrates25.5 gm

RELATED: 32 Korean Side Dishes (Traditional + Recipes)

Jajangmyeon Recipes

Jajangmyeon is a simple recipe to whip up at home, and now that Korean ingredients are easier to find, there’s no excuse not to make this dish! 

Get your hands on some unique paste and make this to enjoy at home while binge-watching your favourite Korean recipes.

RecipesCalories (per serving)Total Preparation Time
Noodles with Black Bean Sauce 63835 Minutes
Jajangmyeon Burger60060 Minutes
Creamy Cheesy Angel Hair Jajangmyeon 34430 Minutes

1. Noodles With Black Bean Sauce 

Bibimbap, kimchi jjigae, and Kimchi fried rice are some of the most popular Korean dishes among Southeast Asians. 

Another iconic dish is jajangmyeon or Jajangmyeon black bean sauce noodles! 

With its yellow noodles and black bean sauce, this dish combines Korean and Chinese cuisines and is a popular dish both in South Korea and here in the United States.

On almost any major street in Korea, you can find Jjajangmyeon, one of Korea’s most widespread noodle dishes.

This dish relies on the black bean paste halal chunjang to give it its dark color and distinctive flavor. 

Calories: 638

Preparation Time: 35 minutes

2. Jajangmyeon Burger

The chewy noodles are such an essential part of the dish that I decided to put them on the burger rather than just the chunky sauce, but the chunky sauce is also good. 

It’s also cool to have noodles on a burger!

The cost-effective dish has a flavorful taste to fill one’s stomach. 

It can be served with soft drinks or french fries to enhance the taste. 

Noodles on a burger look cool, so that’s a bonus!

Calories: 600

Preparation Time: 60 minutes

3. Creamy Cheesy Angel Hair Jajangmyeon 

A meal can be complemented by quite a few different types of drinks, much like wine.

The creamy, cheesy angel hair Jajangmyeon is a dish to be enjoyed during special occasions, which is considered expensive at the time. 

The taste may be passable, but it is just noodles, no different from any other bowl of noodles.

It is a substantial portion, similar to a bowl of spaghetti with lots of sauce. 

Rather than buying pre-packaged noodles, choose homemade noodles and thick sauces. 

There is no comparison to the taste.

Calories: 344

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Make Jajangmyeon Taste Better?

Adding a small layer of oil to chunjang paste eliminates its bitter taste. In addition to adding sugar in the latter part of the cooking process, a few spoonfuls of salt and pepper are added to enhance the savory flavor.

What Do You Eat Jajangmyeon With?

Additionally, black bean noodles in Korean restaurants are served with banchan (side dishes) such as danmuji (yellow pickled radish), kimchi, raw onion slices, and some black bean paste. 

Also, you’d commonly see jajangmyeon eaten with tangsuyuk (Korean sweet and sour pork). 

It’s a trendy pairing and often served as an entree combo. 

What Is The Best Side Dish For Jajangmyeon?

Serve the jajangmyeon on top of Asian noodles, and garnish with cucumber matchsticks. Great accompaniments include kimchi and yellow pickled daikon radish.

What Does Jajangmyeon Taste Like?

A black bean noodle dish from Korea, jajangmyeon is a popular comfort food. Explore more about it with health benefits.


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Recipe Video

Jess Smith