Janchi guksu is a simple warm noodle dish made with thin wheat noodles (somyeon) that are usually in a clear anchovy or beef broth! It’s an easy comfort food that’s very popular in Korea.
What is janchi guksu?
Janchi guksu (잔치국수) translated into “banquet or feast noodles,” is a simple warm noodle dish made with thin wheat noodles (소면, somyeon or somen) that are usually served in a clear anchovy or beef broth. Because noodles symbolize long and happy lives in Korean culture, this noodle dish is traditionally served alongside other special occasion foods at large feasts such as weddings. The name of the dish comes from that tradition.
In my family, this is another easy go-to meal when we crave something warm and light. It is one of the most frequently requested meals by my daughter when she comes home.
Broth for the noodle soup
The most important part of this humble noodle dish to me is the broth. You can of course use any broth, but anchovy broth is typical. Anchovy broth can be made simply with dried anchovies and kelp. Some vegetables, such as Korean radish, onion, and or dried shiitake mushrooms, will add more depth to the flavor of the broth. See my Anchovy Broth for Korean Cooking for options.
Toppings for janchi guksu
You can practically use any number and combination of vegetable or other toppings for this soup, making it as fancy or minimal as you want. Common toppings for this noodle soup include vegetables such as zucchini, carrot, and/or kimchi. Thin strips of tender beef, eomuk (fish cake) and roasted gim (dried seaweed) are also popular additions.
Recently, this noodle soup appeared in the popular Korean drama, Crash Landing on You (사랑의 불시착). I loved everything about this drama! Due to a paragliding accident, a South Korean woman CEO makes an emergency landing in North Korea, where she meets a North Korean army officer. The story line is unique with a nice balance of romance, comedy, and action. It was fascinating to see every day life in North Korea and hear their dialect.
As for this dish, the mother of the North Korean officer served the young woman from the South with a simple yet elegantly prepared noodle soup. It was a small serving of this noodle soup with minimal toppings, simply with strips of mushrooms, carrot, zucchini and egg garnish (jidan). I tried to recreate it in the first photo.
This recipe shows 4 toppings and other optional topping possibilities. Feel free to pick and choose any number or combination of them.
You can serve this noodle soup with a spicy soy sauce based sauce (yangnyeomjang). However, you don’t absolutely need it. I like it without the sauce because I enjoy the clear and refreshing broth.
More noodle soups
Janchi Guksu (Korean Warm Noodle Soup)Main
- 8 ounces somyeon somen noodles
- 5 cups anchovy broth (or beef, chicken or vegetable broth)
- 1 or 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or soup soy sauce) Do not make the broth too dark.
- salt to taste Season lightly if using the optional sauce.
Toppings (see note):
- 1/2 zucchini (about 3 ounces, julienned)
- 1 small carrot (3 ounces, julienned)
- 3 Mushroom caps
- 1 egg
- 3 ounces tender beef, cut into thin strips, seasoned with 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, and pinch black pepper
- 3 ounces kimchi, thinly sliced, mixed with 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 sheet gim (roasted dried seaweed sheet), cut into short strips or crushed
- 1/2 scallion - green part, chopped
Yangnyeomjang (sauce) - Optional:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Korean chili pepper flakes gochugaru
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1 scallion finely chopped
- Mix all sauce ingredients well and set aside.
- Prepare anchovy broth (or your choice of broth), and season with the soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Keep it hot over low heat while preparing the toppings and noodles.
- Lightly sprinkle salt over julienned zucchini and set aside for 5 - 10 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid from salted zucchini by hand. Sauté in a lightly oiled skillet over medium high heat (1 - 2 minutes). Push the zucchini to a side and sauté the julienned carrots and mushrooms over medium high heat (1- 2 minutes), sprinkling salt and pepper to taste.
- Beat the egg well, and fry into a thin sheet (jidan). Roll it up and thinly slice. Alternatively, you can drizzle the beaten egg in to the hot broth before ladling it over the noodles.
- Beef: Sauté the beef for 2 - 3 minutes over medium high heat.
- Kimchi: Thinly slice with the kimchi, and mix with 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook somyeon noodles according to the package instructions (about 3 minutes). Drain quickly and shock in cold water to stop cooking. Continue to drain and rinse in cold water. Make two one-serving size mounds as you remove from the water. Place the mounds in a colander to drain.
- Place the noodles in serving bowls. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles to cover all the noodles, and pour it back to the pot by holding the noodles with the ladle. This will warm the noodles. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles again. Nicely arrange a small amount of each topping on top of the noodles. Finish the dish off with a sprinkle of the optional chopped scallions. Serve warm with the optional sauce on the side.
This janchi guksu recipe was originally posted in June 201o. I’ve updated it here with new photos, more information and minor changes to the recipe.