City Hunter Japchae (시티헌터잡채)

Gochugaru Girl knows what happiness is, and it does not cost a million dollars.

The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day in London. What can I add to blue skies, no delays on the Tube, the discovery of a new coffee shop near All Souls and meeting with all the people that I needed to meet during the course of one morning?

Happiness is spending time in the kitchen, and discovering that the City Hunter OST is on Spotify. This means I can listen to it through Sonos whilst I am cooking.

In between the action and suspense, and in between some soul-searching moments, there is time for the hero and heroine to have dinner.

City Hunter’s love interest (Kim Na Na) is an amazing woman. Not only is she bright, gracious and pretty, she is also personal bodyguard to the President of the Republic of Korea.

Since she managed to visit the supermarket and cook this dish, set the table and still smile when he arrives, I guess I could do it too after a day of meetings, running errands and organising administrative tasks.

It’s a good thing the show does not feature Miss Kim doing the ironing, vacuuming or cleaning the bathroom – I am happy to keep up with the Lees and Kims of this drama world only in the culinary department.

This is the dish that City Hunter asks Kim Na Na to make (or maybe she offered) with the specific instruction that it has to be made with all meat and no vegetables: definitely no onions and no carrots. I had to supress a loud laugh because it reminded me of Junior Three.

So I decided to make this dish, using some steak I bought from my butcher, the Ginger Pig in Marylebone.




When I explained the lack of green things in the dish, Junior Three beamed and said:

It’s a good thing you watched this show…I am so happy!

Throughout the meal, he continued to say nice things about the all-meat japchae. City Hunter has a life-long fan.

Japchae is normally a side dish, to be eaten with rice. This recipe feeds four and I did not dare to stray from the dish that I saw in the show – that is to say, it was just the noodles and beef. I didn’t see any garnishing by way of sesame seeds or spring onions or sliced chillies.

I would guess that the dish relied on an instant sauce*, so I am using bulgogi marinade for the beef. It is easy to find this, and the dangmyeon noodles (당면), in any Korean supermarket.

Dangmyeon noodles are made from sweet potatoes, and are thicker and darker in colour than Chinese mung bean noodles.

Mr Gochugaru and I like our vegetables, so as a compromise I also made tomatofu and a radish salad. The recipes for these will be posted separately.




For the Japchae:

300 g sirloin steak, sliced thinly

150 g bulgogi sauce

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

200 g dangmyeon noodles

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon soya sauce


How to Make:

Finely slice the steak and place in a bowl.

Add the marinade, coating the beef evenly. Leave for half an hour.

In the meantime, boil some water in a pot and cook the noodles for around 10 minutes. Keep watch after 8 minutes: the noodles are cooked when they are clear.

Drain the noodles, place in a bowl and add in the sesame oil and soya sauce, mixing thoroughly.

Heat a large frying pan and add in the sunflower oil. Fry the steak until it is brown all over.

Toss in the noodles and fry for another minute or two. Make sure the meat and noodles are fried together so that some of the marinade flavours the noodles.

Serve with rice and as many side dishes as you can make ahead of time. It’s more fun this way.




* it is possible to make your own bulgogi marinade, and I have done so before. I will post this if work and a new drama don’t get in the way.