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Singles Day: All About Black Day in South Korea

Singles Day: All About Black Day in South Korea

You all know the love holiday that is Valentine’s day. But did you know that in Korea, they have a special holiday just for unmarried or single people? They call it Black Day Korea or Single Holiday. I know it sounds made up, but trust me it’s not! In fact, it is celebrated every April 14–two months after Valentine’s Day. And just like any other holiday, the Black Day in South Korea has a special celebration too, which I'll be talking more about in this blog!

And as a single's day present, I have a delicious one-pot pork recipe featuring fermented black beans at the end of this post, just in case you're not in the mood for the usual black bean noodles.

What is Black Day?

The Black day is one of the romantic holidays in Korea. It is dedicated to every person who is not in a relationship. There are three romantic holidays in Korea: the first is Valentine’s Day; the second is the White Day which is celebrated on March 14; then on April 14, Black Day becomes the main event.

In South Korea, Black Day is celebrated by eating Jjajangmyeon which are noodles in black bean sauce. At first, I wondered what was up with the color black. Apparently, before this day was viewed as a celebration, unmarried people would gather and mourn together for not having a partner. They would drown their sorrows with food, that’s why black became a relevant color. Nowadays, celebrating Black Day is not limited to just eating jjajangmyeon. I see Koreans who go all out and wear an all-black outfit, paint their nails black, and eat any black-colored food. However, jjajangmyeon is regarded as the traditional food for celebrating Black Day.

Contrary to Valentine’s and White Day, Black Day celebrations don’t require gift-giving. However, no one will stop you if you buy a gift for yourself! You deserve a little self-indulgence after all.

All about Jjajangmyeon

Black maybe its color, but I can’t deny that Jjajangmyeon is indeed such a comforting food. Its noodles are made of wheat. Maybe a little thicker and firmer than the other noodles I have tried, but the flavor is mild and easy to eat since it’s not spicy or too salty. And it’s this characteristic that makes jjajangmyeon distinct from other noodle dishes.

There are a lot of noodle dishes in the market, but jjajang noodles are one of a kind. Its sauce is made of black beans with pork, soy sauce, onions, and zucchini, and is usually served separately from the noodles. Jjajangmyeon can be easily found in an Asian grocery store and is easy to prepare. It’s affordable and available all year round, that’s why whenever I feel a little bit under the weather, I whip this noodle dish up to make me feel better.

Where can I buy the best Jjajangmyeon?

Just because it’s a traditional food for a holiday, doesn’t mean it’s only available for that day. Jjajangmyeon is a popular dish even when it’s not Singles day. Any Korean restaurant serves this noodle dish, so you can head on over to the one nearest you and go on food therapy.

Pro Tip: I keep a stock of instant jjajang-flavored noodles in my pantry, so whenever I feel like I need a boost in my mood or when I’m just hungry, I could easily toss it in the pan and have it ready in a jiffy. Here are some of the must-try jjajang noodles in my store:

Don’t get me wrong–Jjajangmyeon has black bean sauce, but it can have other flavors like chicken or pork too. This particular instant noodle has Samyang’s iconic hot chicken flavor balanced with enough sweetness to keep your mouth from being too seared. A bowl of these stir-fried noodles is perfect for the cold weather because of its spicy goodness. You can also put real black beans and pork for its toppings. Just one bite could help chase all the coldness away!

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Now this one tastes like home. Whenever I eat a Chapagetti, I would remember how my mom would make me this when I come home from school. It’s made of the signature black bean sauce of jjajangmyeon and mixed with the seafood taste of Neoguri. With the number of Chapagetti I eat, I guess it is safe to say that this is my guilty pleasure. Its noodles are thick and chewy and its packet of seasoning contains real flakes of vegetables. Be it a bad day at work, a snack for movie night, or just a lazy day in general, I always have a reason to cook Chapagetti.

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Where to Find the Best Black Bean Sauce

Jjajangmyeon is not only available in a restaurant or as an instant noodle. You can make a homemade version of this too. If you’re making jjajangmyeon at home, it’s easy to do so with the right sauce. In my previous blog, I talked about my top black bean sauces for better-than-takeout Asian recipes. Here's a little bit of what I thought about them:

Your love life may not have a lot of flavors right now, but that doesn’t mean your food needs to be bland too. This black bean garlic sauce from Lee Kum Kee is the perfect ingredient to spice up your food. With its balanced taste of sweetness, saltiness, and spiciness, it’s easy to adjust the flavors depending on your preferences. You can use this black bean sauce when you’re just beginning to get the hang of your jjajang recipe. Who knows, maybe next year, you’ll be making this dish for your partner.

RELATED ARTICLES:
Top Black Bean Sauces for your Better-than-Takeout Asian Recipes
Best Chili Garlic Sauces To Spice Up Your Food

 

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Some black bean sauces are bitter, but you don’t have to! This black bean paste from Chung Jung One can give you that sweet and rich flavor you might be missing. It’s easy to prepare your Black Day feast by using this paste because all you need to do is add this sauce while stir-frying your noodles. Whether it’s a party for one or a fun celebration of singlehood with friends, your food need not be lonely or boring.

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Singles Day in Korea is now seen as a celebration of self-love and independence, unlike before when the pressure of being in a relationship is high. Every April 14th may be regarded as a holiday for people who are not in a relationship, but you don’t need to wait for this day to celebrate yourself. You can do that every day! Besides, being single is not so bad when you have great food to keep you company.

For all your Asian holiday feasts and ingredients, shop at Karman Foods.

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