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Koreans Love Black Bean Sauce Noodles Most

Posted October. 08, 2005 07:57,   


One well-known fan of black bean sauce noodles, or Chajangmyeon, is undoubtedly Hwang Woo-suk, chair-professor of Seoul National University. His lunch consists of these Chinese noodles 200 days a year.

“It’s a great food. It tastes great. It takes little time to finish one bowl of chajangmyeon (noodles with black bean sauce). I even feel grateful to it,” he said.

Hence, journalists are excited when he asks, “Shall we have some chajangmyeon?” The Chinese noodles break means an interview with him. He finishes one bowl of the noodles in five minutes. He always orders the 3,500 won Gan-chajang, because its noodles don’t stick together as easily when he is too preoccupied with his research.

Lee Sang-wan, president of the LCD division of Samsung Electronics, is another big aficionado of chajangmyeon. He also enjoys preparing it. He makes chajangmyeon for the disabled at rehabilitation centers nationwide with members of the Samsung employees’ charity association called “The People Who Make Chajangmyeon with Love.” As he has been making the noodles for as many as 100 people a meal for several years, he can make the noodles as well as any chef.

He said, “When there is harmony among ingredients, the best taste can be delivered. This couldn’t be a better situation, because you can help others and learn how to bring harmony to society, a company, labor and management while making chajangmyeon.”

Huh Young-man, the cartoonist well-known for his comic book series “Sikgaek” (meaning “gourmet”), is a bon vivant himself. He explained, “Insights into ingredients or a recipe is essential to enjoying food.”

The comic artist, who published a comic book titled “Chajangmyeon” in 1998, was captivated by chjangmyon, simply because he wanted to appreciate it. His wife, Lee Myeong-ja, studied ingredients and recipes, eating only the noodles for several days in a row for several months, until she finally found a unique recipe for her family.

Jae-Young Kim jaykim@donga.com