Monday, February 14, 2011

My Town Monday: Celebrating Valentine's Day, Korean-Style

Happy Monday and Happy Valentine's Day!

I had a completely different My Town Monday post scheduled for today. However, when I got up this morning, I found the note below taped to the kitchen door.

A mysterious note from Child #4! What was she up to?

She had quietly gotten up early to make me a special Valentine's Day breakfast! For the non-discerning eye (that would be me at 7 am before my cup of tea!), the vegetable patty is cut in the shape of a heart.

Depending how long or how closely you've followed this blog, you may or may not know that we adopted Child #4 as a baby from Korea. As I stood in the kitchen, munching on my special breakfast and sipping my tea, I wondered what life would've been like on St. Valentine's Day if Child #4 (this child of mine who wrote out her class Valentine's cards a month ago, who dressed in pink and red this morning) were still in Korea.

So, I did a little internet research. It would seem the Koreans borrowed a savvy business idea from the Japanese which is to celebrate two Valentine's Days. In fact, the Koreans took this one step further: they have THREE Valentine's Days!

On February 14 (Valentine's Day), Korean females give chocolates or other small gifts to the significant males in their life.

On March 14 (White Day), Korean males give chocolates or other small gifts to the significant females in their life.

On April 14 (Black Day), friends who don't have a significant other and didn't celebrate Valentine's Day or White Day, get together and eat jajang noodles. These are either black noodles or noodles served with black bean paste. I'm not sure. Anyway, Black Day is not as popular as Valentine's Day and White Day. Hmpf! I can think of several times in my life when I would've been thrilled to celebrate Black Day!

Here is a picture of black noodles (from google images). I have never tried this dish, but now must!

So, Happy Valentine's Day wherever you are! May you receive a treat!

For links to more My Town Monday posts, please pop over to to the official My Town Monday blog.



  1. My heart stopped at the term vegetable patty. I thought it was sausage.

    And I thought that last shot was fishing worms.

    I am a man with a simple palate.

  2. Travis, with you in mind, I almost didn't mention the vegetable part of vegetable patty. ;) And thank you for the fishing-worms image!! :)

  3. I'm afraid those noodles look a bit like Klingon Gahk to me.

  4. Charles: Ack! Between you and Travis, I might not be able to taste-test the noodles. No, no, no. I'm braver than that! I will try them, then report back!

  5. What a great start to your Valentines day ;) I would celebrate black day, but, I am not sure about the noodles (not a big black bean fan).

  6. Hi Barrie,

    Jajang noodles are also popular in Shantung China, and you can get them all over Garden Grove, which is the OC version of Koreatown. They are regular noodles with black bean paste. Usually, you eat them with slices of fresh cucumber, although if you're in rural China, you hold an entire raw cucumber in your hand and take a bite of noodles with a bite of cucumber chaser. I don't like them quite as well as Shanghai stir-fried noodles, but jajang noodles are up there on my list of good Asian dishes. Don't let Travis and Charles freak you out.

  7. Love Korean food if it is not too hot. Esp. Bi Bin Bap- excuse the spelling.

  8. You've taught me something new, Barrie! (As usual)

    I think your Valentine's breakfast looks a little better than the black noodles. Okay, a LOT better. :)

  9. Reb: It was a nice way to start the day. I enjoyed your MTM post today!

  10. Teresa: Okay, then, I will not be freaked out. Besides, I like both black beans and cucumber. There's a Korean restaurant about 15 min up 15 from me. :)

  11. Patti: I wonder if that soup has dumplings in it? It was great meeting you last week!

  12. Alyssa: Ha!!! I'm not I could face the noodles first thing in the morning. That said, I'm pretty picky in the morning. I will let you know how the noodles are. Child #4 has agreed to try them with me. :)

  13. I'm so glad we don't have 3 Valentine's Days just saying. What an awesome daughter you have.

  14. Your daughter is a sweetheart and what interesting info about Korean Valentine's Day.

  15. Awww, she might be adopted, but I think she gets her cute from you.

  16. My mother is Korean but my father is white so even though my mom is very Asian behaviorally she didn't expose us to too much Korean culture, I'll have to ask her about this. It's very interesting! I don't know if your family like to eat Korean food but there's a good Korean BBQ Buffet place on Convoy my Korean friend introduced me to a few months ago. I forget the name but it's in one of those strip shopping centers, down the street from the Korea House. That place is good too but I like the place next door to it a little better.

    I think it's wonderful that you're trying to learn about your daughter's culture.



Comments are always welcome!