This is a story of jjajangmyeon. Of diaspora, sweet black noodles, and home.
The majority of Chinese-Koreans in South Korea are immigrants and their descendants from Shandong, China.
At the end of the 19th century, up to the mid-20th century, tens of thousands of Chinese moved to Korea. After Taiwan was separated from mainland China in 1949, South Korea started diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Subsequently the majority of Chinese-Koreans obtained Taiwanese citizenships.
As of 2011, there were around 20,000 Chinese-Koreans in South Korea (not including the Chaoxian Korean minorities from China, around 480,000 of whom now live in South Korea). Many Chinese-Koreans have lived their lives in ambiguous positions: Their native land is in mainland China; their citizenship is Taiwanese; their home is in South Korea.
To many of them, jjajangmyeon isn’t just a popular delivery dish. It’s the dish that helped them find a home.