Valentine's Day

Jjajangmyeon (Korean Black Bean Noodles)

February  7, 2019
7 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

If Americans have delivery pizza, then Koreans have jjajangmyeon (often romanized as jajangmyeon), a popular black bean noodle dish studded with fatty pork. In Korea, you can order it over the phone and have a bowl delivered to your door in a matter of minutes. It’s not uncommon to see delivery men biking around the city with huge steel boxes on the backs of their bikes, filled with white plastic bowls of these incredible noodles, tightly wrapped with cling film and served alongside small dishes of danmuji (Korean pickled daikon radish, a lurid yellow dream) and raw white onion (which tastes great doused in vinegar and dipped in black bean sauce). Once you finish your bowl, you can leave it outside your door, unwashed and all, and the delivery person will come back in a few hours to retrieve it. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Why I Eat Korean Black Bean Noodles Every Valentine's Day. —The Editors

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 1
  • 4 ounces noodles, such as jjajangmyeon, thick spaghetti, or linguine fini
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces pork belly, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon roasted black bean paste
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 small handful julienned cucumber, for garnish (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and cook the noodles to your liking (I prefer al dente). Drain and rinse with cold tap water, then plop into a bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and pork belly and pan-fry for about 5 to 7 minutes, until some of the fat has rendered out and the pork is slightly browned at the edges. Add the onion and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes until no longer raw. Stir in the black bean paste and fry for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from the pasta to the pan with the sauce, bring to a boil, and let thicken and reduce by about half. Season with a pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Top the noodles with the sauce and garnish with julienned cucumbers.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lili
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • Darian
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

3 Reviews

Lili January 21, 2020
Not exactly the same jajangmyeon that koreans would eat. No sesame oil? A few key ingredients were missing but if you're not really concerned with authenticity, then this is probably okay. Simple and easy to make.
Darian February 21, 2019
I made this last night, still thinking about it!! I scaled up x3 and found it made 4 comfortable servings. I used a 12oz box of bucatini and chopped pancetta. I topped with scallions instead of cucumber because I had them, and because I thought my family would prefer it that way. SO SO GOOD!! Thank you!
Author Comment
Eric K. February 21, 2019
Great to hear, Darian. Thanks for reporting back!