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SOUTH KOREA: From Ramyeon to Ram-don (Recipe)

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Thanks to the Parasite movie, ram-don became an internationally famous dish overnight. It refers to a Korean ramyeon or instant noodle dish called chapaguri, but made more luxurious with the addition of steak.

Sometimes referred to as “Parasite noodles”, ram-don is an absolutely delicious Korean dish that’s quick and easy to make at home. In this article, we’ll share with you a simple ram-don recipe and talk briefly about ramyeon and the significance of ram-don in the Parasite film.

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Bowl of ram-don with kimchi

WHAT IS RAMYEON?

Ramyeon (or ramyun) is the Korean word for instant noodles. In Japan, ramen can refer to both instant or freshly made noodles but in South Korea, ramyeon always refers to instant noodles. Koreans consume so much ramyeon that it’s considered by many to be a South Korean national dish.

The biggest manufacturer of ramyeon in South Korea is the Nongshim company. They produce the two types of ramyeon – Chapagetti and Neoguri – that are used to make ram-don.

WHAT IS RAM-DON?

Ram-don is chapaguri made with steak.

Chapaguri (or jjapaguri) is a hybrid dish made by combining two popular types of ramyeon – chapagetti and neoguri – into one dish. Chapagetti is a ramyeon version of the popular Korean-Chinese dish jajangmyeon, while Neoguri is a spicy seafood ramyeon made with thicker udon-style noodles.

As you may have noticed, “chapaguri” is a portmanteau word derived from chapa-getti and neo-guri. The dish started to become popular in 2013 after the combination was featured on a Korean TV show.

Based on what I’ve read, the translators of the Parasite film couldn’t translate chapaguri into something non-Korean speakers could relate to, so they referred to it as ram-don in the subtitles. “Ram-don” is a portmanteau word derived from ram-en and u-don, and from what I understand, it didn’t exist before the movie came out.

As it turns out, other meanings may have been lost in translation as well. In the movie, the ram-don was made with Hanwoo Beef, which is one of the most premium and expensive brands of beef in South Korea. In the subtitles, it was referred to simply as “sirloin”. More on why this is significant in the next section.

Bowl of ram-don with kimchi

WHAT’S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF RAM-DON IN PARASITE?

Parasite is a film about social inequality and wealth disparity. It was clear from watching the movie that ram-don was meant to magnify the chasm between rich and poor. But I didn’t know what chapaguri was at that point so I didn’t fully grasp the symbolism at the time. (Warning: Spoilers ahead)

Chapaguri is made with two humble ingredients – Chapagetti and Neoguri. Ram-don is made with chapaguri and ultra-premium Hanwoo Beef. These three ingredients – two simple and one luxurious – are mixed together in a bowl to create ram-don, a symbolic dish that’s meant to represent the three families living together in the movie (two poor, one rich).

Knowing this, “sirloin” doesn’t seem like a strong enough translation for Hanwoo Beef.

RAM-DON INGREDIENTS

Ram-don is quick and easy to make at home. You’ll need just three main ingredients – Chapagetti, Neoguri, and steak. (Please note that the links below are Amazon affiliate links)

Chapagetti

Chapagetti is a type of ramyeon made by Nongshim. It’s the instant noodle version of jajangmyeon, a popular Korean-Chinese dish of wheat flour noodles topped with a thick sauce made from chunjang (sweet bean sauce), diced pork, and vegetables. Korean grocery stores and large supermarkets should have Chapagetti, but if you can’t find any, then you can order it from Amazon.

Neoguri

Also made by Nongshim, Neoguri is a type of ramyeon that’s known for its thicker udon-style noodles and spicy seafood flavor. You should be able to find it at Korean grocery stores and large supermarkets but if you can’t, then you can order it from Amazon.

Steak

We used rib eye but any cut of beef used for steak – like sirloin, rib eye, or New York strip – should be good.

Frozen steaks

HOW TO MAKE RAM-DON

Because ram-don is made with ramyeon or Korean instant noodles, it’ll take you no more than 10-15 minutes to prepare from start to end.

First, cut your beef into cubes.

Cubed steaks

Season the steak cubes with salt and pepper.

Seasoning the steak

Add the steak cubes into a pot in one layer and then sear for about 40-45 seconds on each side. Set aside when done.

Browning the steak cubes

Pour the water into the same pot together with the vegetable flakes and just half of the Neoguri seasoning base. Adding in the whole packet will make it too spicy. Let it come to a boil.

Pouring water into the pot

Empty both packets of noodles into the water and allow it to cook for 4 minutes. Loosen and separate the noodles using tongs.

Adding the noodles into the pot

After 4 minutes, while there’s still some water left in the pot, add in the Chapagetti powder and oil. Mix thoroughly and toss until the sauce is fully incorporated with the noodles.

Seasoning the noodles

Turn off the heat and add the steak cubes. Toss again until mixed.

Adding the steak cubes to the noodles

Serve the ram-don in a bowl with a side of kimchi. Enjoy!

Bowl of ram-don with a side of kimchi

If you like, then you can add other toppings as well like a fried egg. Personally, we love ram-don with the crispy edges of the fried egg. It’s so good!

Ram-don topped with a fried egg

RAM-DON RECIPE

Did you make this ram-don recipe? If you did and you enjoyed it, then we’d love it if you could give it a 5-star rating below. Kamsahamnida!

Ram-Don Recipe: How to Make Parasite Noodles

Ram-don Recipe

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

A recipe for ram-don, aka Jjapaguri with steak, as seen in the Parasite movie.

Ingredients

  • 200g rib eye, sliced into 2-inch cubes
  • One (1) pack Chapagetti ramyeon by Nongshim
  • One (1) pack Neoguri Spicy Seafood ramyeon by Nongshim
  • Two (2) cups / approximately 450 ml water
  • *Fried egg (optional)

Instructions

  1. Season cubed steak with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil (or a mix of olive oil and butter) in a 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the steak cubes in one layer and sear for about 40-45 seconds on each side. Set aside.
  4. Pour the water, half of the Neoguri season base, and the vegetables flakes into the pot and let it come to a boil.
  5. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes, separating the noodles with tongs in the process.
  6. After 4 minutes, while there’s still some water left in the pot, add the Chapagetti powder and oil. Mix thoroughly and toss until sauce is fully incorporated (about a minute).
  7. Turn off heat and add the steak cubes back to the pan and toss again.
  8. Top with a fried egg and/or serve with kimchi if desired.

Notes

If you can't get a hold of Neoguri, then you can substitute it with another type of ramyeon like Shin Ramyun. The thicker the noodles the better.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 761Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 1507mgCarbohydrates: 85gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 33g

The nutritional information in this ram-don recipe is an estimate based on third-party calculations. It should not be considered as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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