In 2020, the Korean film Parasite cleaned up at the Academy Awards, taking home four Oscars, including the first Best Picture awarded to a foreign language film. Watching it on Netflix, this dark comedy certainly gave us some tense and uncomfortable moments, but the most compelling for DP and me was the scene where the housekeeper is seen sautéing cubed steak and tossing it with ramen noodles in a thick brown sauce. We both sat right up and leaned into the screen. Hold on. Rewind. What is she making?
Clearly we’re not alone. Shortly after the movie hit Netflix, the internet exploded with recipes for the noodle dish, Ram-Don (ramen + udon) known in Korean as Jjapaguri.
Turns out Ram-don is simply a combination of two types of instant noodles: Chapagetti, which is an instant ramen version of Jjajangmyeon, the traditional Korean-Chinese dish made with fermented black bean sauce, and Neoguri, an instant version of spicy seafood udon noodles. (Can you say Umami?) You can even find kits on Amazon containing both noodle packets and instructions on how to combine them – not that you need the instructions, it’s that easy.
Easy is good, because the month of January has been just exhausting. We ended up making Ram-don at least once a week because it’s fast and delicious, and a good way to stretch leftover bits of meat and protein. All you need to do is cook the noodles in boiling water with their vegetable packets. That takes about 3 minutes. Then drain the noodles, reserving some of the cooking liquid – 30 seconds. Reheat any cooked meat you’re using with some hot pasta water, the Chapagetti seasoning and half of the Neoguri seasoning to make a sauce – 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked noodles to coat, and finish with the oil packet from the Chapagetti and serve hot – 3 minutes.
Our first Ram-don was Parasite style with sautéed cubed steak, which was OK. Then another time I added a leftover piece of top sirloin roast, sliced thin, which was better. But our favorite version so far, we made with hoisin pulled pork.
For the pulled pork I use a variation of Sam Sifton’s Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with Hoisin and Ginger. The source recipe is for a 5 lb, bone-in pork shoulder, enough to feed 8 people. I have the smallest model multi-cooker, so I cut the recipe in half. A two and a half pound piece of pork shoulder gives me about 5 cups cooked and shredded. That’s more than enough to provide the two of us with a few meal options, not just Ramdon but moo-shu, tacos, fried rice, etc..
The distinctly Chinese flavors of hoisin and ginger feel right at home with Ram-don’s fermented black bean and spicy seafood seasoning, taking this noodle party to another level. The shredded pork melts into the sauce, and clings to the noodles the same way an Italian ragu does with pasta. With each pull of your chopsticks you get the perfect bite of pork tangled with saucy noodles. Serve with refreshing sliced cucumbers drizzled with lime juice and sprinkled with a little togirashi pepper, fresh crisp radishes, or tangy Napa cabbage kimchi.
Ram-Don (Jjapaguri) with Hoisin Pulled Pork
Ingredients, for 4 servings
2 packages Chapagetti
2 packages Neoguri
2 to 3 cups Hoisin Pulled Pork (see full recipe)
- In a 5 quart pot, bring 8-10 cups of water to a boil with the dehydrated vegetable packets from both noodles. Add the noodles and cook for 3 minutes.
- Drain the noodles, reserving at least 2 cups of cooking liquid.
- Combine the cooking liquid with the pork and gently heat it through. Add the Chapaghetti seasoning, and half the Neoguri seasoning to make a sauce, then return the cooked noodles to the pan.
- Simmer the noodles briefly, tossing until they are coated with, and have absorbed most of the sauce. Stir the oil from the Chapaghetti into the finished noodles and serve hot.