What Does Jajangmyeon Taste Like? (Is IT Truly Delicious!)

If February 14 is for couples, April 14 (a.k.a Black Day) is for all the single gals and guys in Korea. (*) And do you know how they celebrate it? They eat Jajangmyeon!

Why jjajangmyeon? That’s because most Koreans consider black bean noodles as their comfort food, which fits the belief that singles need some comfort.

If you haven’t tried jjajangmyeon yet, you might be wondering: what does jjajangmyeon taste like?  

Short answer: Jajangmyeon has a full flavor profile. It’s salty, sweet, slightly bitter, and packed with umami.

With its unique flavor, it doesn’t come as a surprise that jajangmyeon is considered one of the most popular Korean dishes.

If you want to know more about it, you should keep reading! You’ll also discover the answers to:

  • What is jajangmyeon? (and why you should try it!)
  • What does jajangmyeon taste like?
  • ..and the simple hack to fixing salty jajangmyeon!

If you wish to join in the fun on Korea’s Black Day, you need to know more about jajangmyeon, so let’s get started!

What is Jajangmyeon?

Jajangmyeon is a thick Korean noodle dish with a black bean sauce. The sauce is made with chunjang, vegetables, and sometimes, diced pork. (*)

Did You Know?

Jajangmyeon was first introduced in a restaurant called Gonghwachun, located in Chinatown in Incheon City.

Jajangmyeon is said to have been inspired by the Chinese noodle dish they call “Zhi Jhiang Mian” which means fried noodles.

Chapagetti Vs. Jajangmyeon

A lot of people confuse jajangmyeon with chapagetti. However, even though these noodle dishes taste almost similar, they are quite different.

Here are their differences:

 JajangmyeonChapagetti
TasteMore flavorful and richerMild and not spicy
IngredientsBlack bean paste, diced pork, and vegetablesGround beans, dehydrated carrots, and spices
OthersCan be made vegan-friendlyNot vegan-friendly since it contains eggs

Why is Jajangmyeon Popular?

The main reason why Jajangmyeon became Korea’s iconic dish is two reasons. First, it’s convenient. Busy homemakers can prepare it quickly. Because of its ease of preparation, many fast foods and restaurants offer it too, so it’s always available for delivery.

Another reason is its affordability. This noodle dish is made up of only a few ingredients. All of which are widely available and highly affordable, so it’s one delicious dish that can fit the budget of most Korean families and even students.

Why Should You Try Jajangmyeon?

In addition to affordability and convenience, the best reason you should try out jajangmyeon is its nutritional benefit.

Keep in mind that the sauce of this noodle dish is made from black beans, which offer the following health benefits:

1. Delivers antioxidant protection.

Black beans are rich in antioxidants, which protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. (*) Free radicals facilitate the oxidative processes associated with chronic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancers.

2. Lowers cholesterol levels.

Black beans contain saponins which are antioxidants with cholesterol-lowering properties. The black beans also contain high amounts of fiber, which can help lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels. (*)

3. Improves heart health.

Due to its ability to reduce cholesterol levels and its high fiber content. Black beans contain flavonoids that promote muscle relaxation and prevent platelet aggregation. When combined, these benefits can help reduce blood pressure. (*)

What Does Jajangmyeon Taste Like?

Due to its black bean sauce, jajangmyeon tastes intensely pungent, earthly, bitter, and salty. It’s also a bit spicy and features a slight sweetness.

To be honest, we can’t fit all its descriptions in one statement because the flavor profile of jajangmyeon is quite complex. It features different flavors from its ingredients. We’ve broken it down below:

  • Saltiness from bean paste
  • Spiciness and heat from the mild Korean pepper
  • Richness and savory flavor of the pork
  • Pungent aroma and taste of garlic
  • Slight sweetness from the brown sugar

On the other hand, the texture of the noodles is similar to udon–  thicker and a lot chewier than traditional spaghetti.

Is Jajangmyeon Spicy?

Generally, jajangmyeon is not that hot. It’s saltier and sweeter than it is spicy. That’s why jajangmyeon would still be a good choice for people who aren’t fond of spicy food.

Please be reminded that jajangmyeon’s heat level would still depend on the amount of pepper used in the recipe, so you should do a taste test first.

Problem Solved: Why is My Jajangmyeon Salty?

Jajangmyeon is known for its salty-sweet flavor. So if yours taste a bit salty, there must be something wrong with preparing it. For example, there might be too much water or surface starch on your noodles, preventing the sauce from adhering to the noodles.

Don’t fret, though, because there’s a way to make it less salty. Here’s the simple solution: add sugar or honey to your sauce and drizzle sesame oil all over the noodles.

The sweetness of the sugar will undoubtedly combat its salty taste, while the sesame oil will bring a rich taste that can cut through the sauce’s saltiness.  

The Bottom Line

With its black sauce, jajangmyeon isn’t exactly the most appetizing noodle dish to look at. But we promise you: this Korean dish is a definite must-try!

So what does jajangmyeon taste like? Jajangmyeon is sweet, salty, and spicy with an earthy twist. It packs in a lot of complex flavors that work well together.

We’re not going to deny it. Jajangmyeon is genuinely a work of art that dramatically represents the richness and complexity of Korean cuisine. So whether you’re single or not, we encourage you to give this dish a try. Let us know how it goes! We’ll love to read your comments below.

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