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Alternative names Jjajangmyeon
Type Myeon
Place of origin Korea
Main ingredients Noodles, chunjang, meat, vegetables, sometimes seafood
Similar dishes Zhajiangmian
Cookbook: Jajangmyeon  Media: Jajangmyeon
Korean name
Hangul 자장면
Hanja (*炸)醬麵
Revised Romanization jajangmyeon
McCune–Reischauer chajangmyŏn
IPA [tɕa.dʑaŋ.mjʌn]
Hangul 짜장면
Hanja (*炸)醬麵
Revised Romanization jjajangmyeon
McCune–Reischauer tchajangmyŏn
IPA [t͈ɕa.dʑaŋ.mjʌn]

Jajangmyeon (자장면) or jjajangmyeon (짜장면) is a Korean Chinese noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of chunjang, diced pork and vegetables.[1] A variant of the dish uses seafood.


Jajangmyeon dates back to 1905, when it first appeared in Gonghwachun (공화춘; 共和春) restaurant in Incheon Chinatown run by an immigrant from the Shandong Province of China. The restaurant is now the Jjajangmyeon Museum.

Although the name jajangmyeon is cognate with the Chinese dish zhájiàngmiàn (炸酱面), Korean jajangmyeon differs in many ways. Yong Chen, an associate history professor at the University of California, Irvine, argued that although the dish "began as the Northern Chinese noodle-and-ground pork dish zhájiàngmiàn, it is thoroughly Korean."[2]


Jajang (자장; alternately spelled jjajang 짜장) derived from the Chinese word zhájiàng (炸酱), which means "fried sauce". Myeon () means "noodles". The Chinese characters are pronounced jak (; ) and jang (; ) in Korean, but the noodle dish is called jajangmyeon, not jakjangmyeon, because its origin is not the Sino-Korean word, but the transliteration of the Chinese pronunciation. As the Chinese pronunciation of zhá sounded like jja (rather than ja) to Korean ears, the dish has been known in South Korea as jjajangmyeon, and the vast majority of Korean Chinese restaurants use this spelling.

Naming dispute and changes[edit]

However, until 22 August 2011, National Institute of Korean Language did not recognize the spelling as a solidified idiomatic transliteration. Later jjajangmyeon was accepted as an alternate standard spelling alongside the existing jajangmyeon in the National Language Deliberation Council, and on August 31, it was announced as a standard spelling and included in the Standard Korean Language Dictionary.[3] The reason jjajangmyeon did not become the standard spelling was due to the transliteration rules for foreign words announced in 1986 by the Ministry of Education, which stated that the foreign obstruents should not be transliterated using doubled consonants except for some established usages.[4]

Consequently, there was a criticism of the standard transliteration. Those in favor of the jjajangmyeon questioned if jjamppong should really be called jambong as per the official manual. In the 95th episode of the Korean food culture cartoon Sikgaek, Ahn Do-hyeon, the Sowol Poetry Prize winning Korean poet, announced that he would always write the dish's name as jjajangmyeon, not jajangmyeon, because the former is the name with which he associates all his childhood memories of the dish.[citation needed] In his book of essays jjajangmyeon, he wrote he never saw a Korean Chinese food restaurant selling jajangmyeon (spelled with single j) ever, anywhere in Korea.[5] He wrote an article in the newspaper about why he insists on writing jjajangmyeon.[6] He says in the article that the sound of jja (with fortis consonant) makes the smell of jjajangmyeon, which was soaked in people's memory, stimulate their noses more profoundly and aggressively. Also, when all is said and done, the power of jjajangmyeon comes from the power spread by its smell. An episode in the article shows how much he loved this name. After he published the book jjajangmyeon, he gave an interview in a broadcast station. The interviewer, who was a woman announcer, kept saying jajangmyeon even though the title of the book was not that. The poet thought the announcer's word jajangmyeon is unfamiliar and tasteless, and although there's a familiar and tasty word jjajangmyeon, she says jajangmyeon to satisfy herself. (Announcers have to pronounce completely within standard rules, and back then, jajangmyeon was the right usage.) He says he could understand that as a strong work ethic, but sitting in front of her made him feel tight and stifling. Every time he said jjajangmyeon, he pronounced jja very strongly. Every time he said jja, he could see her knit her brows.

Preparation and serving[edit]

Jajangmyeon topped with a hard-boiled egg, julienned cucumber, and toasted sesame seeds

Jajangmyeon uses thick, hand-made or machine-pulled noodles made from wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and water.[7] The sauce, jajang, is made with fried chunjang with other ingredients, such as soy sauce (and/or oyster sauce), meat (usually pork, but sometimes beef), seafood (usually squid and/or shrimp), fragrants (scallions, ginger, and garlic) vegetables (usually onions, zucchini or Korean zucchini, cabbage, and), stock, and starch slurry.[7]

When served, jajangmyeon may be topped with julienned cucumber, egg garnish, boiled or fried egg, blanched shrimp, and/or stir-fried bamboo shoot slices.[7] The dish is usually served with danmuji (yellow pickled radish), sliced raw onions, and chunjang sauce for dipping the onions.[7]


Variations of the jajangmyeon dish include gan-jjajang, jaengban-jjajang, yuni-jjajang, and samseon-jjajang.[8]

  • Gan-jjajang (간짜장) – Jajangmyeon with the dry sauce made without adding water (stock) and starch slurry. The letter gan came from Chinese pronunciation of the letter (Korean hanja: ; reading: , geon; Chinese simplified character: ; reading: gān) meaning "dry".[8]
  • Jaengban-jjajang (쟁반짜장) – Jajangmyeon made by stir-frying the parboiled noodles with the sauce in a wok, and served on a plate instead of in a bowl. Jaengban means "plate" in Korean.[8]
  • Yuni-jjajang (유니짜장) – Jajangmyeon made with ground meat. The word yuni derived from the Korean reading of the Chinese word ròuní (肉泥; Korean reading: 육니, yungni) meaning "ground meat".[8] Although yungni is not a word in Korean, the loanword yuni, used only in the dish name yuni-jjajang, is likely to have been derived from the Chinese immigrants' pronunciation of the Korean reading of the word, with the dropping of the coda k (or ng, due to the Korean phonotactics) which is difficult for native Mandarin speakers to pronounce.[9]
  • Samseon-jjajang (삼선짜장) – Jajangmyeon which incorporates seafood such as squid and mussel. The word samseon derived from the Korean reading of the Chinese word sānxiān (三鲜) meaning "three fresh ingredients".[8]

There can be combinations. For example. samseon-gan-jjajang may refer to seafood jajangmyeon made without adding water.

Dishes such as jajang-bap and jajang-tteok-bokki also exist. Jajang-bap is essentially the same dish as jajangmyeon, but served with rice instead of noodles. Jajang-tteok-bokki is tteok-bokki served with jajang sauce instead of the usual spicy sauce.

Instant jajangmyeon, such as Chapagetti, Chacharoni, and Zha Wang, are instant noodle versions of jajangmyeon that consists of dried noodles that are boiled in the same manner as ramyeon using dried vegetable bits that are drained and mixed with jajang powder or liquid jajang sauce, as well as a small amount of water and oil.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kim, Eric (2017-06-16). "Jjajangmyeon: A Shared Cultural Icon". The RushOrder Blog. Retrieved 2017-08-15. 
  2. ^ Kayal, Michele (14 January 2014). "Traditional Chinese New Year fare symbolic". Associated Press. Retrieved 9 March 2017 – via Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. 
  3. ^ 김, 태식 (31 August 2011). "'짜장면', 표준어 됐다". Yonhap (in Korean). Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  4. ^ Ministry of Education (1986) (in Korean). Wikisource link to 대한민국 외래어 표기법(제85-11호). Wikisource. 
  5. ^ 이, 준영 (12 October 2016). "[밀물썰물] 짜장면 시위". Busan Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  6. ^ 안, 도현 (5 October 2005). "그래도 짜장면 이다". The Hankyoreh (in Korean). Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Jjajangmyeon" 짜장면. Doopedia (in Korean). Doosan Corporation. Retrieved 22 July 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e 원, 호성 (19 August 2015). "집밥 백선생' 백종원이 알려주는 짜장면의 종류, 간짜장·유니짜장·쟁반짜장의 차이는?". Sports Q (in Korean). Retrieved 22 July 2017. 
  9. ^ Kim, Tae-kyung; Park, Cho-rong (2014). "Pronunciation Errors in Korean Syllable Coda by Native Chinese Speakers". Journal of Korean Language and Culture. 55: 5–34 – via DBpia. 

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