Monday, October 20, 2008

Using your Noodle

I recently returned from a short trip to South Korea (which I'll blog about once I can be bothered to sieve through the million snaps that I took in my 4 days there), spending time in Jeju-do and Seoul. And whilst I sampled some fantastic dishes during this time, there was one dish that I never got a chance to taste due to that old problem of having too many cravings and too little time.

The dish? Ja Jang Myun - korean rice noodles with a dark, gooey, chewy sauce of black bean paste, pork and an assortment of diced vegetables. Scoring a big fat zero on the list of glamorous things to eat - you mix the noodles and the accompanying sauce into a pile of sticky mess and slurp up, not once caring about staining the white shirt you're wearing coz it just tastes so darn good.

In South Korea, Ja Jang Myun is the epitomy of fast food delivery - just call up the hotline and tell them where you'll be waiting (sitting by the third tree closest to the park entrance, or next to the guy that sells sports shoes in the heart of Dong Dae Mun) - and your noodles will arrive piping hot courtesy of a delivery guy on his motorbike in under 20 minutes. Incredible. It seems to me that the US government should really just hire a few Ja Jang Myun delivery guys to track down their most wanted.

But back to cravings... I returned from my trip strangely unfulfilled. Afterall, I had looked forward to slurping a bowl of Ja Jang Myun in the most random of places while I was in Seoul. I wanted to experience what it would be like for your meal to come looking for you rather than the other way round. And so - not one to leave cravings unfulfilled, I decided to cook up my own version today. A surprisingly quick and simple lunch of flat korean rice noodles topped with a gooey sauce of pork, diced vegetables (radish, cabbage, carrots, onions), korean black bean paste and toasted sesame seeds.

I happily tucked into my messy meal, thrilled at the sloppy deliciousness of it all. And while I knew that the noodle delivery guy didn't find me, I was still grateful for having found my own little bowl of Ja Jang Myun.


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