This instant noodle dish, called Jjapaguri, from the movie Parasite is getting highly popular all over the world. It’s easy to make at home and quite delicious!
I know I’m a little late to this Jjapaguri (or Chapaguri) party. After seeing this dish in the movie Parasite (Gisaengchung, 기생충), I was curious about reactions to this steak version in Korea. Lo and behold, it took Korea by storm in 2019 since the movie was released. And it’s rapidly spreading to the rest of the world. So, let’s jump on the Jjapaguri bandwagon and try it!
Movie Parasite and Jjapaguri (Ram-don)
Parasite (2019) became the first Korean film to win the Cannes Palme d’Or. The film won the Golden Globe Best Foreign Language Film and became the first non-English film to win the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
I can’t wait to find out next Sunday what happens with the film’s six nominations at the Academy Awards. Go Parasite!
The movie tells the story of two families — the rich and the poor. As a class subtext, this cheap instant noodle dish gets upgraded with expensive beef, Hanwoo (한우), which means cows grown in Korea. Hanwoo beef is considered the highest quality beef and very expensive. The rich mom asked the housekeeper to make Jjapaguri with Hanwoo top sirloin cut for her son, although the subtitle simply called it sirloin. She ended up eating the dish alone, which was served in a high-end china (Juliska), at a big wooden dining table.
What is Jjapaguri
Jjapaguri is a dish created by consumers by combining two highly popular instant noodle brands —Chapagetti (짜파게티) and Neoguri (너구리). Actually, its popularity started in 2013 when this brilliant combination of two distinct noodles was featured in a Korean TV show.
Chapagetti is an instant noodle version of the popular Korean-Chinese noodle dish, jajangmyeon (also spelled chajangmyeon). Interestingly, while there’s nothing Italian about it, the company came up with the name “chapagetti” which is a portmanteau of the words, chajang (blackbean sauce) and spaghetti.
Neoguri, on the other hand, is a spicy seafood flavored instant noodle soup with thick and chewy udon-style noodles. According to Korean news media, Neoguri is Bong Jun Ho’s favorite instant noodle brand.
The combined dish is instant jajangmyeon with a spicy kick and extra flavor from the Neoguri soup base.
Apparently, the translator of the movie couldn’t translate Jjapaguri into something non-Korean speaking audience could relate, so the movie called it “ram-don” in the subtitles from the words “ramen” and “udon.”
How to make jjapaguri with steak
Here, I used the recipe on the Korean website of the company that makes these instant noodles, and simply added some beef as the movie showed.
The beef actually adds a nice twist to the dish while making it more substantial. I tried to stay true to the movie, short of using Hanwoo quality beef, but you can, of course, add any protein you like.
Simply cook the noodles with the veggie flakes from the packets, drain the water off except for about a cup, then add the sauce mix and stir for a minute or two. Stir in the cooked steak and the oil from Chapagetti, and serve.
The company website says to use the entire packet of the Chapagetti sauce and 3/5 of the Neoguri spicy sauce. Adjust to your taste. It also suggests a fried egg or cucumber slices as optional toppings.
Jjapaguri with Steak from Movie Parasite
- 1 pack Chapagetti
- 1 pack Neoguri
- 8 ounces tender beef (sirloin or ribeye)
- salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Cut the beef into bite size pieces and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. At this point, start boiling 4 cups of water in a medium size pot.
- Heat a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the meat and cook all sides to the desired doneness.
- When water boils, add the noodles and the vegetable mix from the packets and continue boiling for about 3 minutes. The noodles should be al dente at this point because they will be cooked again.
- Drain the noodles reserving the water in a bowl.
Place the noodles back in the pot, and add the entire packet of dry jajang sauce and 3/5 of the Neoguri sauce or to taste. Add a cup of the reserved water, and stir everything well over medium heat, for a minute. Add more water if needed. Turn the heat off.
- Add the steak and stir in the oil from Chapagetti. Serve with pickled radish or kimchi.