Cycle 12 – Item 104
19 (Mon) April 2021
Gonghwachun Jjajang Myeon
-Bukseong, Jung, Incheon, Republic of Korea-
Tuesday to Thursday this week, our company will be conducting a book fair at an international school in Incheon. I accompanied the crew to help with the set-up this afternoon. I took the opportunity to have dinner in Chinatown with RK.
Whereas Incheon is over 50 km from home, I’ll crash at a hotel after dinner and go straight to the book fair tomorrow morning.
Incheon is home to Korea’s only Chinatown. It’s just a couple alleys with a handful of restaurants. It’s likely the only Chinatown in the world that isn’t operated/inhabited by actual/recent Chinese people. The food is the same Koreanized Chinese fare found everywhere across the country.
Gonghwachun is a Korean-Chinese restaurant. Founded in 1905 as Sandong Hoegwan, renamed Gonghwachun in 1912, went out of business in 1984, relaunched in 2004. Claims to have invented jjajang myeon.
This was my second attempt to try the restaurant, previously thwarted 11 years ago by an overly long line. I declared that I would be back, “sometime prior to the conclusion of this project” (see 1.285 Oryong Samseon Jjajang Myeon).
While conclusive attribution to a specific restaurant and a specific year is unlikely, the Koreanized version of jjajang myeon is believed to have been invented/developed/popularized around the turn of the 20th century in Incheon Chinatown by Chinese immigrants coming through the port city. Gonghwachun was probably one of the restaurants serving it in some form or other around that time. Jjajang myeon exists in China, but very different (see for example 7.146 Peking Duck).
At the Gonghwachun of today, the menu offered several types of jjajang myeon, including the signature Gonghwachun Jjajang Myeon. It was very chunky, with lots of onions, essentially a gan jjajang myeon, plus pieces of seafood. The sliced chilies were interesting, providing occasional bursts of spicy freshness in what is generally a heavy dish. The noodles were standard. Overall, it was fine, though not particularly impressive.
We ordered a set course, which was also fine, also not particularly impressive, nothing worthy of mention.
(See also FOODS)
(See also PLACES)