I don’t know about the rest of you but I love Korean television dramas. Am I the only one who gets a hankering for jja jang myun (or ja jia mien if you’re Chinese like me) every time I watch a k-drama? I couldn’t watch Fantasy Couple without developing a serious craving for those black sauced noodles. The girl in the drama was shoveling those noodles in her face at least once per episode! How could I not?
Funnily enough, jja jang myun instant noodles have been popping up in all the Asian supermarkets lately. Coincidence? Or maybe they’ve always been around and I never noticed before. Hmm, something to ponder. Anyway, it seems to me that recently the stores nearby have all started carrying various brands of these noodles. I’ve already tried Nong Shim’s version, which is called Chapagetti. You know what I think Chapagetti tastes like? A crispy noodle snack called Baby Star. They have the same smoky, almost burned flavor. LOL I know that doesn’t exactly sound like a glowing recommendation but Baby Star’s actually one of my favorite snacks. I just don’t know whether I want my jja jang myun tasting like it.
Just this past weekend, the supermarket started carrying Paldo’s Jja Jang Men/Chajang Noodle. I wanted to buy one bag to try but, unfortunately, they only came packaged in 5-pack bundles ($4.59) so I had to buy the whole thing. LOL
I would have to say that the Paldo noodles are disappointingly bland. I followed the directions exactly. I boiled the noodles for the time required. Then I drained the noodles except for 2-3 TB of water (I only used 2 TB) as instructed. Finally, I poured the sauce mix on the noodles and mixed well. I hoped and expected the sauce to be quite thick, but it was actually kind of soupy. And what are those mysterious lumps in the black sauce? I know some black chunks are imitation meat (a gluten product) but I have no idea what the other black lumps are. I think they’re vegetables but are they potatoes, carrots or what? They’re totally black from sitting in the sauce for so long and are completely unidentifiable. They don’t taste bad (they taste just like the sauce) but what are they? The curiosity is killing me!
I still have 4 more bags of noodles, so next time I think I’ll drain the noodles completely to keep the sauce thick. Maybe the sauce was diluted too much by the water, and it’ll be more flavorful without any additional liquid. I’ll also take another look at the packaging. Maybe it has an ingredients list that will tell me what those mysterious black lumps are. As it stands though, I wouldn’t repurchase this particular brand/type of noodle.