Monday, January 7, 2008

ZJM Battle: Part 1

I've been watching the Korean drama, "Witch Yoo Hee" which has been killing me with all their images of food and cooking. Two of the main characters are French chefs and one character owns a jajangmyeon shop. The scenes with the jajangmyeon (both eating and making of noodles) had me almost venture out in our pounding winter storm to go find a Korean place that serves this.
Korean jajangmyeon is Chinese zha jiang mien (ZJM) from Shangdong province. It's basically noodles with a bean sauce of some sort over it. Today I remembered that New Mandarin Garden in SSF has a Korean menu and went there to try. I asked for the ZJM from their Korean menu. Th waitress made sure that I wanted the Korean version rather than their Taiwanese version. She warned me, "It's black." I confirmed that indeed I wanted the black sauce version.
This was everything the TV version made me hanker for. The noodles were toothsome, the sauce was sweet and smoky. The crisp cumbers provided a nice contrast. The waitress mentioned that when most people order ZJM, they give them the Taiwanese version (which they say has dried bean curd). In fact, she told me that their Cantonese clientele HATE the Korean ZJM. I wonder why? I must come back to try the TW ZJM. Stay tuned to Part II...

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