Jajangmyeon (자장면): Translation- Black Bean Noodles

This post comes a tad bit late, as lately, this blog as been neglected for the benefit of some other websites that I’ve been working on. But that probably doesn’t interest you, since, well, you’re here to read about Shanghai Mong.

So this was the last eat of my undergraduate career. It was completely unplanned as were most other events of the night. Remember that meal at DBGB that I blogged about way back? That was in the same night. Yeah, I had two dinners.

But before I even continue talking about our meal at Shanghai Mong, let me share with you how we got there. It went something like this…

  1. Albert passes out after finals and neglects to pick up his phone. Lack of plans call for a spontaneous purchasing of AVATAR 3D tickets by Sabrina and me for a 10:30pm showing.
  2. Albert wakes up, calls back, and becomes interested seeing in Avatar. Suddenly, 3 other people arrive to the theatre.
  3. JLee misses his flight. Fail. Arrives to theatre and tickets are sold out. Crashes on Albert’s lap instead.
  4. Movie’s great. Throw in 3-D glasses to the blue recycle box. Leave.
  5. A few blocks away from the theatre- Jerry Z: “OMG GUYS. I THINK I JUST THREW IN MY REAL GLASSES, FML”
  6. Rush back to find glasses. Pour out box to find at least a hundred glasses. JLee finds the real glasses.

Sorry Jerry, but this will NEVER get old.


And so after all that hard work, we wandered around for a bit, until half the group realized they were hungry. Of course, being a Tuesday night, where can you find a place that’s open at 2:30 am? KTOWN OF COURSE! Albert and JLee really wanted some Jajangmyeon and that’s how we ended up at Shanghai Mong.

Time for a brief history lesson. My buddy Seth, this is dedicated to you.

Jajangmyeon is actually derived from a Chinese dish called Za Jiang Mian (炸酱面). If we really want to get into the nitty gritty, it originated in North China and eventually found its way to Korea in the 19th century. If you pronounce both names phonetically, they sound very similar and translate to the same thing. The main difference between the Korean and Chinese version is that the Jajangmyeon traditionally uses black bean paste whereas its Chinese counterpart uses any of the following: yellow soybean paste, broad bean paste (doubanjiang), and sweet bean paste. My mother uses sweet bean paste with doubanjiang (豆瓣酱).

But at the end of the day, both are just noodles with bean sauce poured on top. End of story.

Jjamppong (짬뽕)

What’s that you ask? It’s a noodle soup that derives its flavors from onion and chili, though not limited to the vegetables, meat, and seafood that are thrown into the mix. Like Jajangmyeon, it’s another Chinese derivation. Check here for more info.

And how did it taste? I couldn’t tell you. But Albert and JLee seemed to thoroughly enough it… on top of their epic Jajangmyeon with seafood.

Half Jajangmyeon, half Jjamppong– the best of both worlds.

It was a bit messy. The other Jerry texted throughout the meal. Oh! And there was tea. To wash that late night grease down. I think our neighbors at the table to our right thought we were a bit strange. One, for the amount of food that was ordered. Two, for the people that just seemed to continually pile in although it was only 3.

Look who decided to join quarter way through! JMa and Pranav! Albert ordered them the Bok Eum Jjambbong (which I’m sure I’ve murdered the spelling of), but it’s just spicy noodles (as so eloquently labeled on the receipt).

And there’s Isabella. This must be near the end of the meal. Albert looks like he’s about to enter into food coma. His bowl’s empty!

At this point, JLee’s homophobia towards Pranav began to manifest. Or he just has issues. It’s hard to tell. But the other Jerry continues to text.

I’m not sure why this Korean place is named SHANGHAI Mong, but funnily enough, it translates to “Shanghai Dream.” How very Asian.

Thank you Shanghai Mong for your generically printed receipt. Up until now, I haven’t really talked about Shanghai Mong itself. The place is supposedly known for the Jajangmyeon, which I can’t dispute since it was quite delicious. At $7 a bowl it’s also a good bargain, not to mention it’s open 24/7 for your eating pleasure. So if you’re ever lonely and hungry in the middle of the night, that’s what the N,R,Q,W is for.

30 West 32nd St.
New York, NY 10001
Between Broadway and 5th Ave