Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Black bean noodles (Son Ja Jang)

Jajangmyeon (from Son Ja Jang)

Remember how a few months ago I told you to go to Shanghai Mong to get black bean noodles? That they were the bees knees of black starchy concoctions... that they made me cream myself just at the thought of sauce drenched noodles (maybe this is why Google AdSense thinks I'm writing an 'Adult' blog)? Well I'm sorry. I was wrong. While their version is undoubtedly solid (and delicious if you're also going to get some sweet-ass tangsuyuk), it's not worthy as a destination by itself. To be fair, I also told you it looks like poo, so if you listened to me... there is something wrong with you. Or with me. Who knows? Anyway, to make amends for this - lemme tell you about a tight little noodle shop hidden in the back of generic - which is not to say it's bad - Korean barbecue joint. Tonight... we dine in Hell. This... is... Spartaaa! Wait, no. That's not right.

Looks like a puddle of black

mmm. Look how much that looks like poo. You can't unthink it now!

Tucked away behind the main storefront of Muk Eun Ji is a tiny operation by the name of Son Ja Jang. There are literally three dudes in a glass paneled room bitch slapping the shit out of hunks of dough. There's a certain musical quality that accompanies the punishment they dole out on that dough. A symphony of abuse if you will. After a few minutes, you'll get the bowl you see above. Tender strands of noodle that go on forevertown, with a certain snappiness that seems reminiscent of a rubberband. If there were a bowl of noodles I would consider eating plain, devoid of any sauce or toppings, it would be this one. It is, simply put, amazeballs.

Mix that shit up good

Then you mix that shit all up good. Really fuck it up. If the waitress doesn't offer, ask her to take a pair of scissors to it. Those glorious noodles are far too unwieldy once sauced on for you to tackle without being cut. The end result is this bowl of poo noodles. Shredded hunks of oh-so-fatty beef, sauteed onions, and some sweet-ass sauce of unknown origins (just kidding, it's black bean). The subtle sweetness of the sauce mixed with the richness of the beef blend into a beautiful session of lovemaking with the noodles. It is not sensual, it is straight carnal. No need to mince words.

Those three chilis...

You might look at their menu and think "hey, there's another one that's a dollar more called 'pul' jajangmyeonn. I be that because it costs more, it tastes beter!" Shut up. You don't know what you're getting yourself into. Those three chilis? They are not fucking kidding. The first time I went, I thought that I liked spicy food - that there was no way you could elevate plain black bean noodles to an undocumented level of pain with just the addition of chili oil. I was very wrong. Very very wrong. While it's built on the same platform of delicious bouncy noodles, the sauce is enough to transform a grown man's face into a waterfall of salt water and snot. I've eaten ghost chili cheesesteak, ghost chili hot wings, and more capsaicin than the average person multiple times over, but dear god I couldn't stomach the entire bowl. It is painful going in, and it will destroy your butthole going out. Do not try to prove something here, just get the regular noodles. That's how spicy it is. Me, the cheapest person ever, took a few bites and wrote off those $9 as lost forever.

Fried dumplings

They also have fried dumplings. Don't bother. These just make me sad (and pale in comparison to the glory of the Hypnotoad... by which I mean the jajangmyeon). The skin is uniform in toughness and blandness - and oh there's the a lot of it, and the filling is nondescript and boring. Plus they cost like $8. What an ass-clown deal that is. I could get 40 really good dumplings from Chinatown for that price. Besides, if we're allocating our distribution of carbs, you really should be focusing on the black bean noodles here. Anyway, this here ends my apology post - ignore what I said about Shanghai Mong having killer black bean noodles. Son Ja Jang? That shit's my jam yo.

tl;dr - looking for killer black bean noodles with the finest in hand pulled noodle technology? Ignore the barbecue at Muk Eun Ji and go for the alternate Son Ja Jang menu. Don't get the spicy noodle bowl. You're really just paying an extra dollar to singe some ass hairs. Unless you like that sort of thing. I won't judge.

Son Ja Jang (in same space as Muk Eun Ji)
34 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001


Christine said...

Jajangmyeon with house made noodles? Sweet! I could've sworn there was 70s porn music in my head as I was looking at those photos but then it abruptly stopped when I saw the dumplings. $8 womp womp...

Happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

Try the Tang Soo Yuk next time. It's better than my grandmother's and it's a HUGE portion.

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