One of the very first recipe request e-mails I received from a reader was for japchae. I had never had japchae before and it just looked like a simple vegetarian noodle dish, so I added to my “to make” list and it got pushed down to the very bottom.
When I first started blogging, I wanted to remake my favorite classics and also try to be super creative. That’s all good and well, but what I’ve learned in this past year is that sometimes, simple is better.
This japchae is as simple as it gets, but I couldn’t put my chopsticks down. Well, as you can see… they’re more like fopsticks (fake chopsticks.)
All through high school and a bit into college, I worked at a Japanese restaurant in my hometown called Tsuki. One of my best friends (still to this day), Shannon, got me the job there. We worked the phones, worked as hostesses and helped with takeout orders. I loved working there, it was my first real job and it put money in my pocket each week for whatever teenagers like to do – go to the movies, mini-golf, go out for dinner.
Lu’s probably rolling his eyes as he reads this, because he knows what I did as a teenager. He always teases me for talking about my days during high school where my friends and I would spend a Saturday night at Borders (R.I.P.!), flipping through magazines and books. Okay, so I’m sorta nerdy.
Oh, to be a teenager again – Shannon and I used to polish off huge bowls of rice with about a cup of the house teriyaki sauce. If only I could still do that and fit into my jeans. When we used to eat our sushi dinners or these teriyaki rice bowls, we would always use the “kids chopsticks” which were chopsticks that they wrapped with a tiny piece of paper and a rubber band to make them easier to use.
I think I was spoiled, because now, I can’t use real chopsticks! Obviously, I had to buy these clothespin ones at CB2 (the ones in the pictures). Lifesaver!
Whether using a fork, chopsticks or fopsticks, you’re going to love this japchae. It’s fantastic as a savory vegetarian meal, but you can also top it with shrimp, seared skirt steak, or some chicken. Japchae has one of those universally delicious flavorings that goes well with any protein.
So, thank you to my readers for suggesting I Inspiralize this classic Korean noodle dish!
What’s your favorite Korean noodle dish?