The first syllable of the name comes from the adverbjjolgit-jjolgit (쫄깃쫄깃) in pure Korean language which means "chewy", while myeon is a hanja word meaning "noodles". Thus, the name literally means "chewy noodles".
Jjolmyeon is one of the most popular noodle dishes in South Korea, especially among young people at bunsikjeom (Korean snack restaurant). It is a representative dish of Incheon, where jjolmeyon originated in the early 1970s by a mistake made while making naengmyeon. Noodles larger than regular naengmyeon noodles were made at a factory and instead of being thrown out, were given away to a nearby bunsikjeom. The owner mixed the noodles with gochujang sauce and jjolmyeon was born.