Here, our writer Melissa Baron dishes up a fun, informative taste of the week. She may also slip in a health tidbit from time to time, because #balance.
Raise your hand if you know what the heck japchae noodles are! Hint: it’s a type of noodle. Hint to self: Think of better hints.
Also called glass or cellophane noodles (due to their transparent appearance), these spaghetti-counterparts are made from sweet potato starch and witchcraft. I say ‘witchcraft’ because they taste nothing like sweet potatoes or veggies of any kind. This is not your mom’s veggie pasta. And although I’m a big consumer of zoodles (they’re low in cals and high in fiber), those impastas (pun very much intended) are no noodle.
Japchae means “mixed vegetables” in Korean, but the noodle itself is only made with sweet potatoes (which are technically a starchy tuber, but I digress). The name comes from the mixed vegetables included in the dish, which also contains stir fried beef or pork.
While you can certainly whip up delicious japchae yourself, here are a few restaurants in the Boston area that serve up this reasonably-priced dish:
Koy Boston -- 16 North St, Boston
Try their stir fried japchae with marinated beef bulgogi and seasonal vegetables.
Kimchi Kitchen -- 847 Cambridge St, Cambridge
Try their house-seasoned japchae, tossed with a variety vegetables. Add protein, but keep it vegetarian, with tofu.
Buk Kyung Korean Restaurant -- 9a Union Square, Somerville or 151 Brighton Ave, Allston
Try their japchae, stir fried in sesame oil and with pork and veggies.
You may also come across the noodles that are made with starches of other veggies including yam, cassava and mung bean. While I have only tried japchae with sweet potato noodles, I’d expect to enjoy the other varieties just as much.
So for those of you looking for gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy free and Paleo noodles that also taste good (read: not like cardboard), look no further than japchae. They’re impastable to resist!