Dear Mr. Gold:
Do you have a favorite place to get chachiang mein(Chinese noodles with a bean and meat sauce) so that I can celebrate the obscure Korean holiday Black Day, on which single people wallow in their singleness with a plate of such noodles?
Dear Mr. Mah:
I apologize: This is way too late for Black Day, which is traditionally “celebrated” on April 14. Black Day is the day on which Korean singles apparently gather to eat chachiang mein, a Northern Chinese dish popular in Korea, of hand-pulled noodles in an ink-black sauce of black beans, onions and pork, and mourn their loneliness. Or something like that. It is a holiday Huysmans would have liked a lot. Actually, any holiday involving chachiang mein, one of the world’s great noodle dishes, has a lot to recommend it.
The chachiang mein at the Northern Chinese noodle shop Malan in Hacienda Heights is very good. The version at the Dragon, a popular Koreatown Chinese restaurant, is pretty good. Until last week, I was under the impression that Mandarin House, my very favorite Koreatown place for chachiang mein, had disappeared, but apparently it just renamed itself, and the black noodles at Jin are still first-rate, chewy and murky and funky as hell. 3074 W. Eighth St., L.A., (213) 386-8976.