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It is interesting how different cultures have similar dishes and sometimes similar names. The Korean Japchae is similar to a Chinese dish known as Chap Chai in Fujianese (Hokkien) or Chai Choy in Cantonese. When translated, chap chai means mixed vegetables. Both japchae and chap chai has a mixed of vegetables and clear noodles in them. Though japchae is often cooked with strips of beef, it can be left out to keep it vegetarian.

I cook japchae often as it is a relatively quick and easy dish to prepare. One essential ingredient in japchae is dangmyeon or sweet potato noodles. This is a slightly thicker and darker noodle than the bean threads but has a similar slippery texture. This noodle is available in most Asian grocery stores. The one shown below is made in Korea but I also use the ones made in China which comes in a bag with green labels.

Let’s get to the recipe!


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 6 servings



  • 4 oz (115g) sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 1 small red bell pepper, julienned
  • 8 oz (225g) spinach, ends trimmed and thoroughly washed
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 stalks green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds


Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add sweet potato noodles. Boil for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sesame oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 teaspoon sugar. Set aside.

In a large pan, heat remaining 2 tablespoon sesame oil. Add garlic and onions and fry until just softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add carrots and bell pepper and stir fry for another two minutes. Add spinach, cooked noodles, pepper, and soy sauce mixture. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Add green onions and sesame seed. Stir to mix well. Remove and serve immediately.


Japchae is delicious with a bowl of steamed white rice and some Napa Cabbage Kimchi, Stuffed Oi Kimchi, or Kkakdugi.

I have created a picture gallery of the recipes found on this blog. As there are close to 300 recipes, it is still a work-in-progress. Please do check it out by clicking the Gallery tab at the top of the page. For now, you can also click on this link.

Another piece of good news! I am thrilled that Spiral Butternut Squash Mooncake was featured on The Daily Meal.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8-)

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47 Responses

  1. kristy says:

    Biren, thanks for the reminder. I haven’t had this for such a long time already. Should make this one of this day.
    Have a great day, dear.

  2. anncoo says:

    Biren, I just bought a packet of sweet-potato noodles the other day and thanks for sharing this delicious meal :)

  3. This looks so delicious! You have this effect on me – I always want to run out and immediately make your recipes! I’m particularly excited because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen these noodles in the supermarkets (in Israel it’s surprisingly easy to find Asian specialty ingredients). This is going on the list to make soon!

    • Biren says:

      It is a surprise to hear that Asian ingredients can be easily found in Israel. I hope you will give this a try. It is quick, easy, and delicious! :)

  4. Rebecka says:

    Biren, I love so may Koren dishes but Japchae is my all time favorite! Yummy! Your photos are remarkable as usual, doing perfect justice to this colorful and delicious dish! I’ll definitely be making your recipe this week for family dinner!! xo

  5. Rebecka says:

    btw…Congratulations on being featured in the Daily Meal!! Your Mooncakes are spectacular!

  6. I love this dish bitten and congratulations on your feature and 300 recipes! Keep up the good work!

  7. Oh I could so go for a big bowl of that right now. That looks amazing. I’ve never heard of the sweet potato noodles. I can’t wait to try those.

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What’s For Dinner

  8. It’s funny how it’s all related somehow isn’t it? Whatever you want to call it, looks great!

  9. congrats Biren on the feature
    noodles look wonderful colourful

  10. Chris says:

    Hi Biren, thanks for stopping by at my blog. This looks very tantalising. Am glad to know your blog through Anncoo too. Have a great week end.

  11. Janine says:

    oh yum this is one of my favorite things to eat, be in the chinese or korean version. but i like the fact that you sprinkled sesame seeds, it really makes it more polished and pretty :D

  12. Julie M. says:

    Congrats on the feature Biren! This looks fabulous. I love the look of those noodles. I’m thinking it’s time to take a trip back to my Asian grocery store and pick up a few goodies.

  13. I haven’t tried using sweet potato noodles. I’ll definitely be looking for it the next time I go to the Asian Store, so I can try your Japchae which looks so appetizing!

    Congratulations on being featured in The Daily Meal, Biren! Well deserved!

  14. Lyn says:

    I just cooked Japchae last week for our usual mini gathering fun with my cousin & her family and all of them love it! It’s all gone when I decided to have some! lol
    That was the 2nd time I cooked Japchae and I always fried with bulgogi sauce. Maybe I should try your recipe some day. ;)

  15. Ha! I immediately thought it was Chap Chai when I saw the title and the picture before i read on. Japchae or Chap Chai – both are yummy.

    PS: Wow..your mooncake is really creative! There are so many versions available now, but it’s my first time seeing a butter squash flavour. Great one Biren!

    • Biren says:

      This is a much simpler version than chap chai and can be cooked on a daily basis. I seldom make chap chai but it is a must have during the Chinese New Year. I do the entire she-bang then. :)

      Thanks Reese! Most people use purple sweet potatoes for this mooncake but since I could not get those sweet potatoes and did not want to use the orange ones, I decided to try butternut squash. I am glad I did as it turned out really well.

  16. Looks totally delicious Biren :)

  17. wok with ray says:

    This is one of my favorite side dish whenever we’re in cook-your-own Korean BBQ places. Only yours have move hearty delicious veggies — yumm!

    Have a great weekend, Biren!

    ~ ray ~

  18. I don’t think I have ever tried japchae noodles before. This looks very interesting!

  19. Cheah says:

    These noodles look so appetising. Have never tried before, but it sure looks good!

    • Biren says:

      This is something I discovered after moving here and having Korean friends. I cook it often now as it is tasty yet simple enough to do during the busy weeknights.

  20. Shu han says:

    congrats on your mooncake feature! (:

  21. This looks really delectable.

  22. Such a learning experience in gastronomy, every time I visit your blog, Biren. Love this delicious dish, and the noodles. Good thing we have an amazing Asian market in our area that carries everything, including all the spices, and fresh produce…not to mention all the different kinds of noodles you can get! Will check it out.
    Thanks for sharing:DDD

  23. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    I really want to taste sweet potato noodles…they sound delicious!

  24. I have a big bag of these sweet potato noodles and I need to get them out and make this lovely dish. We usually go on Saturdays to get some already made at our Korean market…we can resist when we walk in it smells so good! Love your photos!

  25. I love chap choy and I will definitely love this version as well. Looks delicious!

  26. Mmm love love japchae! I have never made it at home though, I need to add it to my list to make.

  27. DongXing says:

    Will be making this dish this friday with the bag of sweet potato noodles in my pantry. I am certainly looking forward to trying the taste and texture of this noodle. Congratulations on the mooncake feature – I wish you live over here so that I could badger you to make this for me!!!!! For nostalgic purpose, I would love a slice of mooncake with a cup of chinese tea on the festival day but I would not pay for a ridiculously-priced store-bought version! Making the mooncake is out of the question for me but I have book-marked this for future when I feel terribly BRAVE…..Keep up the great work!

    • Biren says:

      Yes, you have to try this dish. I posted this with you in mind. ;)

      I did not make any this time but may still do so a little later when butternut squashes are in season. It is a fun thing to make and it gives me a chance to use up some of that pandan paste sitting in the pantry.

  28. Rosa says:

    A wonderful dish! It looks so colorful and delicious. I am a big fan of noodles…



  29. tigerfish says:

    I usually like to cook a huge batch of japchae and eat it for days. They keep well too.

  30. Congrats on your feature!!! I looooove Japchae! It”s always a must order dish for me and my kids. It would be nice to make it at home but I never succeed. My family likes it but it’s just a tiny bit missing or something is wrong… I have to try your recipe! I really love your new gallery. I need to work on mine too, but I’m just so lazy…. :-(

  31. rebecca says:

    looks great and wow sweet potato noodles love it

  32. Joanne says:

    I absolutely love the texture of japchae! What a great, healthy dish!

  33. Congrats on the feature and this looks great!

  34. Rinku Naveen says:

    Love those colourful veggies. So healthy! Really want to cook such dishes everyday..
    Thanks for dropping by my space Biren! You have an amazing collection of recipes.Loved your space.
    Happy to follow u..

  35. woww…. this looks amazing.. first time here.. found some yummy recipes.. :)

  36. This looks incredible. I have never had this before but I know I want too! I have been missing out based on that pic and all those amazing ingredients!

  37. Hi Biren,
    Thanks for dropping by so that I cud find your lovely blog too with amazing recipes
    sweet potato noodles- wow never heard of that but I knw I ll love it…the dish looks very colorful & healthy!

  38. DongXing says:

    Made this last Friday and served with a side of grilled salmon and mushrooms in teriyaki sauce. Simply simply delicious, the noodles absorbed the seasoning really well and we enjoyed it very much. I think the toasted sesame seed was definitely a great topping. Thank you for this recipe. We will definitely make this again.

  39. Lori says:

    I never knew about those noodles. I go to this Asian warehouse grocery store. The owners are Korean but they sell Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese. I am quite sure I have looked at this product a million times and never realized that it was made from sweet potatoes. I totally am going to try this dish. Thank you.

  1. January 24, 2012

    […] There were many other dishes but interestingly the Korean Japchae though sounds similar to the Chinese Chap Chai has very different ingredients and taste. Both are delicious! Do check out my vegetarian version of Japchae here. […]

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