Zazang (Santa Clara, CA)

8:00:00 AM

Black Day = Jajangmyun


Black Day.

What is it? The Black Death, otherwise known as the bubonic plague might be more well known to the majority of people than Black Day.

But for the younger generation living in Korea, Black Day may be more “significant.”

Black Day (April 14th): a day reserved for single people (but not in an empowering-sort-of-way). While February 14th is Valentine’s and March 14th is White Day, Black Day is the day where you literally mourn your lack of a significant other. While wallowing in self-pity, you would indulge in jajangmyun.

An absolutely absurd holiday?

Perhaps.

But do people celebrate it? Yes, they do! I call it a great marketing strategy to prey on the misery of the single population.

As for me, I have never eaten jajangmyun on Black Day (can’t seem to drag my lazy butt out just to eat black bean noodles), but I have eaten it this past weekend when a friend came over to visit from Santa Cruz.

That was my second time at Zazang. To my knowledge, they’re the only restaurant in the South Bay that specializes in jajangmyun. It’s a dinky restaurant located on El Camino, in the same strip mall as the Dollar Tree, Big Mug Coffee and a handful of other small stores.

Parking is difficult at this strip mall simply because of the parking layout. The parking lot is big, but due to the layout of the parking spots, sometimes you may need to park in the side streets.

Zazang is a small restaurant that seats about 25-- 30 if you push it.

You come in, sit there and look for the small menu that’s tucked into the utensils area of your table. My first time here, I made the mistake of thinking that they’ll provide you menus, but actually they’re already there-- just easy to miss.

Their menu is simple.  They serve jajangmyun with different variations. If you’re starving and can’t choose between jajangmyun or jampong or fried rice, there’s an option to get both as well. You could get half jajangmyun/half jampong or half jajangmyun/half fried rice and they’ll serve it to you in this nifty split bowl.

Along with jajangmyun, they also serve tang su yuk (sweet and sour pork). If you order the sweet and sour pork, it comes with an assortment of onions, pineapple and cucumbers served with a tangy sauce. The sauce is already poured over the dish, but you could also ask them to put the sauce on the side for those who don’t want the pork pieces to get soggy.

They gave me a separate bowl for the sauce and the noodles. 
The first time I visited, which was last October or November, I ordered the seafood jajangmyun. From the photo, it doesn’t look like much, but after I mixed everything up, I realized I couldn’t even finish HALF of the bowl. Their sauce is black bean based with a very heavy hand on the onions. Seafood jajangmyun includes pieces of octopus, squid and shrimp.

There’s a lot of sauce, but the flavor is mild. My initial impression before trying jajangmyun was that it would be flavor-heavy, but I could be influenced from all the Chinese black bean dishes.

There were cucumbers the first time, but when I went last week, there weren't.
The noodles are really chewy, but I don’t know what type of flour is used to make it. So give the noodles and sauce a really good mix before you dig in.


After all, jajangmyun is not suppose to be pretty. So don’t be afraid to use those chopsticks! Just be careful or you’ll end up with a splinter in the side of your finger (which was exactly what happened to me).

And jajangmyun isn’t jajangmyun without the danmuji (yellow pickled radish). They give it to you as a banchan along with some raw onions and some sauce.

So the next time your jajangmyun cravings kicks in, swing by Zazang for a try.

Did anybody celebrate Black Day this past Tuesday? And since I’ve only tried jajangmyun from Zazang before, are there any other places in the Bay Area that serves a better bowl of noodles than Zazang? If so, where?

Zazang
3006 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051

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