Hangul: 잡채 ; Jap-chae
English Name: Korean Glass Noodles
Literal Translation: Mixed and stirred vegetables
This is a popular side dish that is seen quite often in Korean cuisine. When considering this dish, most probably think of dangmyeon – the signature, clear or “glass” noodles that are often included in japchae recipes.
However, there are versions of the dish that don’t even include dangmyeon. As the name suggests, the dish traditionally refers to the combination of diced vegetables – commonly spinach, carrots, mushrooms, red peppers, and onions – sauteed with sesame oil. These days, you’ll see some type of meat or tofu mixed in as well.
The large mix of different kinds of veggies make for an array of different tastes and textures and you can individually pick out the more distinct flavors like spinach. The dish has a light “oily” feel to it due to the sesame oil.
You’ll often see japchae in significant quantities at parties, celebrations and anywhere you typically find a ton of food. If you find yourself at a buffet you can bet this will be an option. On Korean holidays like Chusok and Lunar New Year one of the bowls on the table is likely to be a huge bowl of japchae.
This dish seems like one of those items destined to be in the middle. You wont ever hear some one name it as their favorite food but you’ll also never find someone who hates it.