Food for the Lonely: Korean Black Noodles on Anti-Valentine’s Day

For my last dish before leaving Korea, I wanted something distinctively Korean (that wasn’t chicken and beer – as great as that is). My brother’s college friend who lives in the city took us to a modest little restaurant in the trendy Hyehewa theater district. I didn’t realize that the day – April 14 – was a special occasion. We all inadvertently celebrated Black Day, which falls exactly two months after Valentine’s Day and is exclusively for single people.

jajangmyeon on Black Day in Seoul

On Black Day, it’s customary for single people to indulge in a special black noodle dish called jajangmyeon. It’s a somewhat heavy dish made with thick black bean paste, pork, and lots of vegetables. I was the only one out of the three of us to finish it and doing so was quite a challenge.

The crowded restaurant (I forgot the name except that it had Hong Kong in its title) consisted predominantly small groups of females. The jajangmyeon was only $4, making it one of the cheapest dishes I had in Seoul. I think of it as charity for the lonely-hearted people out there.

A number of restaurants put on special promotions for the dish, so if you find yourself alone and in South Korea on April 14 then celebrating Black Day is a must. Couples can keep their generic chocolate and flowers. This tasty dish justifies being single.





I'm an American freelance writer who spent a couple years living in Cambodia. Now I'm on the move again and traveling all over the place. I'm willing to try any bizarre liquor that's presented to me. Any recommendations?