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Korean Black Bean Noodles 자장면


Whenever my family dines out at a Korean restaurant, 9 times out of 10, these Korean black bean noodles are what I order.  I think there’s something about the predictable side dish of neon yellow radishes that accompany this big steaming bowl of goodness that’s comforting in its familarity or the fact that it has a little bit of everything in the sauce.  I can’t really tell you one specific reason why I don’t venture further into the menu.  It’s not that I’m against another noodle dish or the plethora of stews on the menu, it just always somehow manages to be my instant go-to.

Perhaps that’s because it’s one of my favorite noodle dishes.  It’s a classic Korean-Chinese fusion meal comprised of thick, chubby noodles drenched in a chunky, savory black bean sauce.  It has a great mix of chopped veggies tossed with pork belly and always makes me think of home.  Per tradition, you can fry the entire sauce in fat if you purchased chunjang 춘장 but with jjajang 짜장, the work has already been done for you and at home, we always used the latter and the addition of pork belly renders off some great flavor.  Our family has also been known to use heavily marbled slabs of ribeye as well and the fat there melts really nicely into the sauce as well.  So perhaps the fact that the restaurant version of jajangmyeon is so heavily indulgent also has something to do with it.  There, it comes heavily drenched in extra fatty richness, leaving behind a visible pool of sparkling fat.  Kind of gross, maybe.  Completely delicious?  Oh yeah.

It’s completely unnecessary to douse the sauce in even more pork fat but sometimes, the heart wants what it wants so you can definitely tailor this to your taste.  Also, the restaurant versions always tend to be much sweeter too.  I personally cook mine to lean more on the savory side at home so feel free to sprinkle in 2-4 tablespoons of sugar if you’d like.  Either way, jajangmyeon is a pleasure to enjoy whether it be at home or when you’re dining out.  The hearty sauce stuffed with meat and veggies and chewy noodles are what make this dish so delicious.  If you can’t find sutamyeon or udon noodles, you can use thicker pasta noodles in a pinch but that’s one area where I personally can’t compromise on.  A girl does have her limits, you know


Noodles in Black Bean Sauce {Jajangmyeon} 자장면
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Serves: 3-4 Servings

  • ½ lb chopped pork belly
  • 2 chopped potatoes
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 large chopped zucchini
  • 1½ c chicken stock {or water}
  • 4 tb black bean paste {called jading}
  • 1 ts sugar
  • 2 tb corn/potato starch + 4 tb water
  • Thick noodles for jajangmyeon {called sutamyeon}
  • Cucumber garnish {optional}

  1. In a skillet, fry the pork belly. When it begins to release some of its fat, toss in the potatoes.
  2. When the potatoes take on a nice golden color, tumble in the rest of the veggies. Stir fry for about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the stock to deglaze the pan and scrub up the delicious bits at the bottom with a wooden spoon.
  4. Stir in your bean paste and sugar.
  5. When this reaches a bubble, slowly drizzle in the slurry {starch whisked together with the water}. This will continue to thicken.
  6. While the sauce keeps warm, cook off the noodles according to your package {since the noodles are fresh/handmade, it shouldn’t take long}. Drain and rinse and serve with hot sauce. Garnish with cucumber matchsticks if desired.


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