No. 96, Jajangmyeong from Ching Chinese Express
Let the noodles rain!
Photo by The Mexican
Behold the beginning of our annual 100 Favorite Dishes countdown! Every day until the publication of our fantabulous Best Of Issue, we'll list our favorite meals this year in descending order. Enjoy, pass it on, and tune in daily!
I praised Ching Chinese Express earlier this year, so let me lovingly rip myself off to praise the jajangmyeong, m'kay? Enjoy!
Jajangmyeong, one of the most criminally underrated dishes in the county. It's a Korean Chinese classic: noodles slathered in a salty bean sauce spiked with caramel, then topped with your choice of veggies or meat. The meal is to Koreans what tacos are to gabachos: a once-foreign dish now assimilated as comfort food and best eaten in obscene amounts.
Ching's bowl is not only big enough to fill with water for your radiator in a pinch, but the owners pile on the noodles so high the dish's swirling height resembles the summits of Van Gogh's Mountains at Saint-Remy With Dark Cottage. Despite its largesse, you'll try to eat all of it in one sitting, the saltiness and savoriness and loops of the jajangmyeong balanced by the small batch of danmuji (the crispy yellow daikon slices frequently offered at Korean restaurants) on the side. When you finally admit defeat, the Korean woman acting as Ching's cashier will hand you a plastic to-go container with a knowing glance--leftovers for days.
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