Korean Chinese cuisine

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Korean Chinese cuisine
Jajangmyeon, jjamppong, and tangsuyuk (three quintessential Korean Chinese dishes)
Korean name
중국 요리
Revised Romanizationjungguk yori
McCune–Reischauerchungguk yori
IPA[tɕuŋ.ɡuk̚ jo.ɾi]

Korean Chinese cuisine (Korean중국 요리; Hanja中國料理; RRjungguk yori) is a hybrid cuisine developed by the ethnic Chinese and the ethnic Koreans in South Korea.[1] Despite being derived from Chinese cuisine, Korean Chinese cuisine consists of unique dishes with Korean flavors and ingredients.[2] Most Korean Chinese restaurants in and outside South Korea are owned and operated by Koreans rather than ethnic Chinese. In South Korea, the food is usually delivered.[1] In the United States and elsewhere, Korean Chinese dishes are served in Korean restaurants and not Chinese restaurants.

Some Korean Chinese dishes such as jjamppong and udong have names etymologically from Japanese, but the dishes themselves are not originated or influenced by Japanese or Japanese Chinese cuisine. The Japanese language-influenced names are the result of Japanese occupation of Korea in the early 20th century, when the use of Korean language was prohibited and Japanese was the language used in menu items of high-end Chinese restaurants in Korea.


The cuisine was first developed during the 19th century in the port city of Incheon, where most of the ethnic Chinese population of Korea lived.[1] Due to geographic proximity and the demographics of the Korean Chinese population, most Korean Chinese dishes are derived from (or influenced by) northern, eastern and northeastern Chinese dishes mostly from Shandong, where the majority of the earlier Chinese immigrants in Korea were from.

Chinese restaurants in Korea are unusual in that most are owned and operated by Koreans, rather than ethnic Chinese. This was because the assimilation of the ethnic Chinese into Korean culture and their emigration due to legal discrimination, particularly under the Park Chung-hee administration. Consequently, the most authentic Korean Chinese cuisine may be found in overseas Korean communities.[3]

The food is primarily delivered, comparable to pizza delivery in the US or Indian take-away in the UK, and is similarly priced relative to other dining options. Chinese dishes, also popular in South Korea, are generally served at upscale Chinese restaurants rather than Korean Chinese establishments.


Three primary Korean Chinese dishes are served in most Korean Chinese restaurants in South Korea and elsewhere:

  • Jajangmyeon (자장면) is a noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of sweet bean sauce (chunjang), diced pork or seafood, and vegetables. Derived from the Shandong zhájiàngmiàn (炸酱面), Korean jajangmyeon is distinct from the zhájiàngmiàn dishes served in China.[4]
  • Jjamppong (짬뽕) is a spicy noodle soup flavored with vegetables, meat or seafood, and chili oil. The dish derived from the Shandong chǎomǎmiàn (炒码面) and its name derived from chanpon, a Japanese Chinese dish derived from the Fujian mènmiàn (焖面).[5] The addition of chili powder (gochugaru) and chili oil to jjamppong began during the 1960s.[5]
  • Tangsuyuk (탕수육) is a Korean version of a sweet and sour meat dish derived from the Shandong tángcùròu (糖醋肉). It can be made with pork or beef, coated with corn- or potato starch or glutinous rice flour. The dish is served with a sweet-and-sour sauce typically made with soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, corn- or potato starch and fruits and vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, onions, wood ear mushrooms, apples and pineapples.[4]

Other dishes often served in Korean Chinese restaurants include:

  • Jungguk-naengmyeon (중국냉면; 中國冷麵), literally "Chinese cold noodles", is enjoyed during the summer. Jungguk-naengmyeon is made with junghwa-myeon (Chinese noodles), shredded five-spice marinated beef or pork (五香醬肉), cucumber, crab sticks, jellyfish and a fried egg in a cold chicken broth seasoned with soy sauce and spices. A sauce, mixed with mustard and peanut sauce, gives it a nutty, spicy flavor.[6]
  • Kkanpunggi (깐풍기, derived from gàn pēng jī 干烹鸡/干烹鷄), fried chicken (with or without bones) glazed with a sweet, spicy sauce
  • Kkanpung saeu (Korean: 깐풍새우): Deep-fried, breaded sweet-and-sour shrimp, with a mild spiciness distinct from tangsuyuk, tangsu saeu and the stir-fried Kung Pao shrimp served in Chinese restaurants. Kkanpung saeu is served with a sweet sauce, peas, carrots, green onions and red chilli peppers.
  • Rajogi (라조기, derived from làjiāojī 辣椒鸡/辣椒鷄), similar to the Sichuan laziji, a Chinese chilli chicken dish
  • Udong (우동), a noodle soup similar to jjamppong but with non-spicy white soup, derived from Sandong-style dǎlǔmiàn (打卤面/打滷麵) and not related to Japanese udon despite the name.
  • Ulmyeon (Korean: 울면), similar to udon, consists of wheat-flour noodles, chopped vegetables and seafood in a chowder-like broth thickened with cornstarch. It is derived from a Chinese dish, wēnlŭmiàn ().

Dumplings are also served at Korean Chinese restaurants, usually a pan-fried cross between Chinese jiaozi and Korean mandu. Dried red-chili flakes are provided to season food or mixed with soy sauce.

Koreans traditionally eat Chinese food with a side dish of danmuji (yellow pickled radishes) and raw onion dipped in unfried chunjang. Kimchi, a Korean staple, is also eaten with Chinese food.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Lee, Cecilia Hae-Jin (2 September 2015). "A Chinese-Korean mashup? Here are 5 restaurants to try in L.A." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  2. ^ Kayal, Michele (14 January 2014). "Traditional Chinese New Year fare symbolic". Associated Press. Retrieved 18 April 2017 – via Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
  3. ^ Julia Moskin (2008-07-30). "Let the Meals Begin: Finding Beijing in Flushing". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-06-26.
  4. ^ a b Chung, Paul (24 July 2013). "Korean Chinese Food: The Must-Try Fusion Cuisine You've Never Heard of". Asia Society. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b 이, 성희 (17 March 2017). "[명사 70인과의 동행] (38) "중국 초마면 본 일본인이 짬뽕이라 불러"…한국 근대를 맛보다". Kyunghyang Shinmun (in Korean). Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  6. ^ Seo, Won-ye (서원예), (2009-06-12)냉면만 먹자니 지겹죠…색다른 '여름麵' 어때요 (in Korean), Hankguk Gyeongju