Chewy noodles. Indulgent bites of steak. Chapaguri aka “Ramdon” is the noodle dish from Parasite that will keep you addicted both now and forever!
Last weekend, I watched the movie Parasite. Yes, I loved it. Yes, I wanted to eat Chapaguri almost immediately.
What is Chapaguri?
Chapaguri aka “Ramdon” is the instant noodle dish requested by the rich mom on the way home from the camping trip. She insists on adding Hanwoo beef (steak) to the otherwise plebeian dish.
Chapaguri gets its name from the combination of two Korean instant noodles: Chapaghetti, an instant noodle version of jjajangmyeon (black bean sauce noodles). And Neoguri, a spicy instant noodle that’s also one of my personal favorites.
You can think of it as: Chapaguri = Chapaghetti + Neoguri
I thought the English translation to “Ramdon” was strange until I understood the translator’s intent. “Ramdon” was their attempt to capture the hybrid nature of this dish. Ramdon = Ramen + Udon.
Korean La-Myun (Ramen)
To understand the class differences communicated by the Chapaguri in the film, it’s helpful to appreciate the place of instant noodles in Korean culture.
Koreans LOVE instant noodles. We refer to them as ramen or ramyeon (pronounced “la-myun”). Fast, easy, inexpensive, and satisfying to eat, the average Korean consumes 76 packs of ramen per year! Instant noodles are the universally popular and widely accepted Korean “quick” meal to make at home.
Just check out the instant noodle section in any Korean grocery store and you’ll understand the Korean obsession. 😀
Growing up Korean American, we ate instant noodles at mealtimes and as a late-night treat, on camping trips and at picnics on the beach. Ramen was the first dish I learned how to cook as a child. I even survived the lean years of grad school by eating too many to count!
Last summer, I stopped by my best friend’s house. Her dad (who is Korean) was babysitting. The kids were asleep and he was in the kitchen, making dinner for himself. Guess what he was cooking? Yup, ramen. Instant noodles are the easy, go-to meal for Koreans.
Chapaguri aka “Ramdon” in Parasite
When the rich mom requests Chapaguri for dinner, it’s not that unusual. They are tired and worn out; they want something quick to eat.
The addition of steak, however, highlights the wealth of the family. In all my years of instant noodle consumption, I’ve never eaten ramen with steak. People typically add all kinds of extras — egg, kimchi, processed cheese, etc. But steak?
A note here: beef is a culturally significant food in Korean culture. Historically reserved for royalty and the elite, eating beef means you are eating a prized food item. That’s why some of the most famous Korean dishes are beef ones: Galbi Jjim. LA Galbi. Bulgogi.
Hanwoo beef — the kind that’s added in the movie — is even more luxurious and expensive. The English translation doesn’t quite capture the upscale, luxe quality of Hanwoo beef. Nicely marbled and very fatty, think of it as the wagyu or kobe steak of Korea.
Adding Hanwoo beef to an otherwise common food item makes a statement. This family is so rich, they can afford to keep Hanwoo beef in the fridge year round. They don’t think twice to add this posh cut of meat to a bowl of instant noodles.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed eating Chapaguri aka “Ramdon.” Cultural commentary aside, it’s a really tasty dish! Chewy noodles, saucy and a little spicy, plus all those indulgent bites of steak.
I started craving this dish right after I finished my first bowl! Make it once and find yourself becoming obsessively addicted.
How to Make Chapaguri/Ramdon:
Generously salt and pepper some cubed steak. (I used ribeye but any nicely marbled steak will do.)
Using a cast iron pan, saute beef until browned on both sides and cooked to your liking. Set aside.
Bring water to a roiling boil. Place both the dried noodles and dried vegetable packets into the boiling water. (This is very important! Do not put dried noodles in tepid or lukewarm water!)
After partially cooking the noodles (about 2 minutes), reserve 1/2 cup starchy water and set aside. Drain the noodles and add back to the pot.
Add 1 packet of the Chapagetti soup base and 1/2 packet of the Neoguri soup base (you can add more if you like things spicy).
Keeping heat on medium-low, add reserved starchy water and mix noodles with tongs until the sauce is glossy and thick.
Off the heat, add beef and mix some more. Drizzle oil packet from Chapagetti.
Transfer to two serving bowls, dividing noodles and beef equally. Eat immediately.
Chapagetti aka Ramdon
- 1 pack Chapagetti (Korean instant noodle)
- 1 pack Neoguri (Korean instant noodle)
- 1 8 oz steak (nicely marbled)
- Heat up a cast iron pan to medium high heat. While the pan heats up, chop the steak in 1 1/2 inch cubes. Generously salt and pepper the steak cubes.
- When the pan is hot, add 1 tsp neutral cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil). Add cubed steak and do not disturb until nicely browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip to the other side and finish cooking to your preference. (I think medium tastes best for this recipe.) Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Bring 3 cups of water to a roiling boil. Place both the dried noodles and the dried vegetable packets into the boiling water. (This is very important! Do not put dried noodles in tepid or lukewarm water!)
- After partially cooking the noodles (about 2 minutes), reserve 1/2 cup starchy water in a cup and set aside. Drain the noodles and add back to the pot.
- Add 1 packet of the Chapagetti soup base and 1/2 packet of the Neoguri soup base (you can add more if you like things spicy).
- Keeping the heat on medium-low, add 1/2 cup reserved starchy water and mix noodles with tongs until the sauce is glossy and thick, about 1-2 minutes. Add water in 1-2 Tbsp increments if the noodles start looking too dry. Turn off heat and add beef. Mix some more. Drizzle oil packet from Chapagetti.
- Transfer to serving bowls, dividing noodles and beef equally. Eat immediately.