First Visit to South Korea in Thirteen Years (Part 2)

      Incheon’s Chinatown and the Black Noodle Museum

     My grandparents and my uncle’s family have lived in Incheon, South Korea for many decades while my immediate family moved to Seoul a few years after my birth for my father to work in a travel agency. Although I had been to Incheon’s Chinatown a few times as a child, when I visited it in 2014, it felt like a different place. Although Chinese didn’t celebrate Christmas, the fact that the year’s end was approaching was enough of a reason to celebrate. Indeed there were many tourists and local residents in the streets, going about their businesses. Strangely, I felt like a tourist myself, though I was born in Incheon, because the streets were much busier than I had remembered and there were so many tall buildings. First thing you notice in Incheon’s Chinatown is that most signs are written in Chinese with sophisticated and colourful calligraphy.

Incheon's ChinatownIncheon’s Chinatown Main Street

Black Noodle Museum

My Father at the Door of the Black Noodle Museum

     One of the most famous locations in Incheon’s China Town is ja.jang.myeon (also known as black noodle) museum which stands on the site of the first Chinese noodle restaurant in Incheon’s history. Black noodle is a curious result of mixing Chinese and Korean food cultures. It is a popular take-out menu which Chinese chefs invented to appeal to Koreans after they immigrated to Incheon, a major port city connected to China, in the late 1800s.

   Old Steel Black Noodle Delivery Boxes

Old Steel Black Noodle Delivery Boxes in the Museum

     The most iconic artifacts in the Black Noodle Museum are old steel black noodle delivery boxes. They were invented to preserve food’s warmth and enable travel by foot or bicycles. Korean takeout restaurants now use lighter and more durable cases for delivery.

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