Japchae is one of the most comprehensive dishes in terms of variety of ingredients and a very popular dish on birthdays.

This is one of the best loved Korean noodle dishes by Koreans as well as by foreign visitors to Korea. The main ingredients are sweet potato noodles which are combined with a lot of different vegetables and meats. Japchae combines over 20 different vegetables with pheasant meat and was eaten by Korean kings and the royal family.

Korea was colonized by Japan between 1910 and 1945, Beginning in 1920, Korea underwent drastic changes under Japanese rule not only in politics but also culturally including food too. After 1920 Japchae, previously a dish for the upper classes, was commoditised and became available in restaurants dish using sweet potato noodles coming from China.

In 1592 Japan invaded Korea the war, we call Imjin Waelan, lasted for 6 years. When the war finished and Japan retreated, there was not enough food for the people also there was no palace left for the king. It was at this time that Japchae became very highly prized by the King.

There is a written record that two low class men, with power over many farmers collected all the ingredients and bribed the king with Japchae and then, the king knighted them. The other courtiers sarcastically called them the Japchae knights.

Speaking of which,

“Innocent if rich, guilty if poor”, is a well-known adage in Korea.

The Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics had been found guilty of bribing the former president, Park Geunhye. So, I guess bribery is still the route to power.



Naengmyeon means literary in Korean, cold noodles. There are two kinds, one is Bibim-Naengmyeon which is mixed with spicy sauce with a little bit of beef or vegetable broth. Another one is Mul-Naengmyeon, served in a chilled broth made from beef or radish water kimchi.
Naengmyeon used to eat by only nobles, especially among scholars in seventeen centuries. It was used to eat only in winter from late seventeen centuries but when technology was introduced how to store ice in summer, Naengmyeon became the most recognised a summer dish. It is too fresh and cool to resist in hot summer weather in Korea


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Naengmyeon is famous for two representative cities. one is Pyongyang and another is Hamheun, these two cities are located in North Korea.
After the Korean war in 1953, many North Koreans who were flown to South Korea to live, they felt nostalgia for their food so some people started to open only Naengmyeon restaurants to share their feeling about left family in North Korea. But Naengmyeon is significant dishes and most eaten popular among South Koreans.
Pyongyang Naengmyeon is buckwheat mixed with flour, less chewy so more likely used eat as Mul Naengmyeon(beef or radish kimchi broth ) whereas Hamheun Naengmyeon is made from potatoes flour so a lot chewy used to Bibim Naengmyeon( mixed with chilli sauce).
Why do we eat after the meat meal? In old days, there was called a Kisaeng house which is highly trained artist women in Joseon dynasty (1392-1897) who entertained men with music, conversation and poetry in much same ways as Japanese geisha.
Often high class scholars went to take a break from their studying and after meal (normal meat and alcohol) were served from the Kisaeng house as hangover cure.
We still eat this noodle after the meat meal and still expensive compare to other cold noodles.


I am back!


I am back. It has been a long time since I last updated my blog.

My new adventure just has started to study about anthropology of Korean food as well as teaching Korean cookery in Cambridge beginning 25th of May https://cambridgecookery.com/

I will be updating some of my previous blog posts and I will add more about Korean food and the stories behind it.

The UK has adopted Indian curry as a national dish. We know that the Portuguese discovered India but it was Britain that brought spice to the World.

So what about Korean Gochu (chilli)?


It is commonly thought that the Portuguese introduced this red chilli to Korea. However, Koreans have been planting and harvesting Gochu for the last 1,500 years. So now the English want to taste Korean dishes that use a lot of fermented chilli pastes and chilli powder.

My first cookery class will be a Korean Barbeque menu

So-galbi-gui-grilled short beef ribs marinated with fresh pear and soju

Buchu-jeon– little garlic chives savoury pancake and its sticky, infused soy sauce/vegetarian

Banchan-side dishes

  1. Kong-namul – crispy soy bean sprouts with natural soy sauce  and sesame oil / Bibim bab side dish/vegetarian
  2. Mu-saengchae-spicy mooli salad / Bibim bab side dish/vegetarian
  3. Kimchi/Bibim bab/vegetarian

Naeng-myeon– chilled summer bibim noodles with pear, pickled cucumber, mooli and boiled egg (optional)/ vegetarian