> Korean Food top10 > Japchae > Introduction
Japchae is a Korean dish which is popular at feasts or
during festive days. It is made by putting pan-fried vegetables
into sweet potato noodles (called dangmyeon) and stirring
them on a pan. Originally, it was one of the palace foods
served by mixing the steamed vegetables of thinly-sliced
cucumber and radish, bean sprouts and ballonflowers only.
These days, dangmyeon is a major ingredient of Japchae.
There is an episode as an origin of Japchae. During the
period of King Gwanghaegun in Joseon Dynasty (Reign 1608~1623),
one day, king was tired of eating various kinds of loyal
delicacies. He asked his subjects, “Isn’t there
any better tasty food?” Then, an official named Lee
Choong has prepared and served Japchae. King was very delighted
with the taste of Japchae and offered him a high position.
Japchae is categorized into Mushroom Japchae, Pine mushroom
Japchae and Korean leek Japchae depending on major ingredients.
The name, Japchae, literally means a mixture of vegetables
('Jap' means a mixture, and 'chae' means vegetables). In
Joseon Dynasty, it meant the mixing of various raw and cooked
vegetables in sliced shape or sometimes it meant the mixing
of main ingredients such as steamed and sliced fish, jellyfish
and lotus root.
In palace, there were a variety of japchaes available such
as Japchae with shredded cow foot jelly (Jokchae), Japchae
with Mung-bean jelly mixed with beef and vegetables (Tangpyeongchae),
Japchae in mustard sauce (Gyeojachae) and Japchae with vegetables
and sliced fruits (Wolgwachae).
Characteristics of Japchae
Originally, Japchae was made from vegetables only but,
from the beginning of 1900 when sweet potato noodle was
developed, the sweet potato noodle was used as one of the
ingredients. It eventually became a key ingredient, as people
liked the sweet potato noodles better than vegetables in
These days, people are enjoying a variety to japchaes by
adding other ingredients in the plain Japchae, such as seafood,
sliced potatoes or sometimes mushroom only without other
vegetables. Japchae is a healthy food with sweet potato
noodles, various vegetables, mushrooms and beef, after pan-frying
them separately. It has abundant well-balanced nutrients
as it looks good and delicious.
There are a variety of Japchaes available such as Ballonflower
Japchae, Bean curd Japchae, Kimchi Japchae and Rice cake
Japchae. As such, Japchae has different names when it uses
other ingredients instead of sweet potato noodles. Japchae
has one drawback that it is easy to be spoiled. Therefore,
it is wise to cook it only for one time meal to enjoy its