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November 15, 2010

Japchae, the food for the fiesta.

A dish, such as soup, hot pot or BBQ are certainly main topic material for sure (and I’m sure I’m going to cover that at some point), but since we do have a lot of, I mean a lot or side dishes so I want to introduce them.

First of my choice to #KoreanFoodWednesday is Japchae.

The biggest reason why is because my mother happen to made this recently and I had a chance to take some pictures. Don’t get me wrong, not just because of the convenience, this is a great dish as well!


VoilΓ ! I present you, Japchae.

Japchae is considered as very fancy food among my parents’ generation. Because in the old days Japchae was usually served at special occasion, such as someone’s big birthday or a wedding.

Let’s see what our friend Wikipedia has to say about Japchae.

Japchae (jabchae, chapchae) is a Korean dish made from cellophane noodles (called dangmyeon), stir fried in sesame oil with various vegetables (typically thinly-sliced carrots, onion, spinach, and mushrooms), sometimes served with beef, and flavoured with soy sauce, and sweetened with sugar. It is usually served garnished with sesame seeds and slivers of chili. It may be served either hot or cold.

*Main ingredient

-Noodle, for sure. A bit thick but clear cellophane noodles.

-Vegetables : whatever you like. Usually including spinach, onion, carrot, mushroom (tree ear) – The Color!!!

-Seasonings : Soy sauce, sesame oil, grounded garlic, salt, sesame seeds, pepper…

Vegetables are ready! Bring up the huge bowl and put the ingredients all together. Oh and the noodle too. All we have to do is… Stir!!

Regarding the staring process… This is what we do with food in Korea. Hands, well-mommy hands make food taste better, that’s what we believe. It’s more intimate, and caring gesture. That’s why so many Korean restaurants have ‘mom’s hand’ related names. So that’s what my mom did. She put the ingredient all together and mixed it. Adding some sesame oil and soy sauce, tasting and mixing it some more. If you cook Japchea yourself you will know it’s actually harder to stir with chopstick or paddle is actually harder because this kind of noodle is very sticky – to each other – and slippery.

mmmm… Fresh made Japchae is so filled with emotion. That’s a common thing with Korean food actually. It makes me feel so homey and loved. My uncle took a half of that day’s batch. It’s his favourite dish. Not many people make this at home anymore because it’s quite high maintenance process. The procedure sounds so simple but in fact Japchae is one of the hardest Korean food to make. Mom’s one is the best. πŸ™‚

If you ever went to Korean restaurant, you might recognize Japchae. It was a fancy, big fiesta food but now it’s served for side dish in many restaurants, and still popular.

I am quite glad that I start my first #KoreanFoodWednesday with Japchae because it’s vegetarian friendly dish. I know a lot of vegetarian travelers are having a hard time finding eatable food in Korea. If you are a vegeterian and you saw this in the restaurant, dig in! You know Korean restaurants don’t charge you for side dish, so have it all! πŸ™‚

Oh sometimes people use pork as one of the ingredient, but not many and there’s no meat-soup involved.


(cc. @LeslieTravel , @Brypie )

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Juno set off for the wider world to pursue her passion for travel and storytelling. She traveled the world as an award-winning travel blogger and photographer, witnessing the everyday life of different cultures. Currently based in Anchorage, Alaska and exploring this amazing Last Frontier. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Instagram .


  1. LeslieTravel says:

    Thanks Juno! I didn’t realize there was vegetarian Korean food. This dish looks so tasty– I’ll have to find it in NYC πŸ™‚

  2. brypie says:

    IT was hard to find vegetarian food in Seoul but not impossible if you know where to look.
    I found a place called hanguachae in Insadong. It serves temple food.
    I also recommend if you are in a restaurant and can’t find meat free food ask for buchujeon – its a pancake type meal with green onions. Its yummy with soy sauce πŸ™‚
    A great website is for vegetarian/vegan restaurants

  3. Evan says:

    Looks like a feast! πŸ˜€ Yum.

  4. Japchae looks SO good! And it seems easy enough that we might be ale to make it here in West Virginia- & we might try it for one of your #KoreanFoodWednesday events on Twitter! πŸ™‚ Your photos make my mouth water, and make me wish we were back in Korea- w/you at your folk’s house, of course, in their kitchen, with toasting bowls of magkoli! πŸ™‚

  5. byya says:

    Oh Juno, I missed this while in Korea. Your photos are tempting and look delicious. I just wrote about Korean food as well πŸ™‚

  6. the food looks great i am going to try it out for myself.

  7. Giulia says:

    Oh girl you’re making me sooo hungry :p
    Another reason to put Korea in my bucket list I guess… would be great to sit in a restaurant with you with our chit chat and japchae! =)

  8. Rika says:

    μž‘μ±„ 먹은 적이 μžˆμ–΄μš” πŸ™‚
    μž‘μ±„λ₯Ό 보면 μΈλ‹ˆ μŒμ‹μ˜ Bihun Goreng κ°™μ•„μš”..

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