Single? I’ve got the perfect date for you: Jajangmyeon, or black bean noodles.

It’s eaten widely in Korea on April 14th, which has the nickname Black Day. Korea has two days dedicated to smug couples: Valentine’s Day on Feb 14th (when the girls give presents to boys) and White Day on March 14th (when the boys give presents to girls). So what happens if you gave nor received any presents this year? You get to cozy up with some noodles on black day – and deck yourself out in black too! But it’s not an indoors affair, as many cafes hold noodle eating competitions and make it into a kind of festival.

Jajangmyeon (also romanized from hangul 짜장면 as jjajangmyeon) basically consists of thick white wheat noodles, black bean sauce, and a variety of toppings – pork and green veg like onions are pretty common. The dish first came to Korea with Chinese immigrants in the Joseon Dynasty, but Korea eventually developed its own black bean paste, chunjang, with caramel and onions, so it’s sweeter than the Chinese version.

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Making the dish at home isn’t too fiddly, as this Eat Your Kimchi vid demonstrates. The hardest bit is probably going to be finding the chunjang – but if your local stores are hopeless, ebay as always is your friend – here’s a pack for £5.

Serves one single… or take a tip from the Coffee Prince Go Eun Chan and challenge your single friends to a messy and glorious eating contest. Enjoy!


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British writer and editor living in Japan. Currently studying Japanese, Korean, K-pop dance, and the fine form of 이성종's legs.