It’s Time to Slurp Up

Remember that little rant I had on Monday about my parents? You probably do, because I was pretty upset on that day, and my emotions were still raw even as I was typing it down.

I now realize that in a way, it was a huge blessing in disguise. In fact, it was a big slap on the face for me.

Many of you who have walked this journey with me for the past few months already know what a huge deal going away to college is for me. I mean, I’ve only been waiting for this moment for like four freaking years. Four long, tedious, painful years of hoping and trying and failing to overcome my eating disorder.

And now that the moment has come…now that I am a teeny bit more recovered…now that I look a weensy bit better…I confess that I have started to slack. Yes, I am still fighting mentally, challenging myself with fear foods and losing hold of many of my obsessive controls, but the truth is that I haven’t been focusing as much on my physical recovery.

Whether I like it or not, weight gain is half of my recovery. I am a far cry from my lowest weight, but I still have more to go. The thing is that I feel so much better from my last weight that I am deluded into thinking I’m almost normal. I’ve been focusing so much on my mental aspect, that now that I am almost recovered mentally, I have neglected focusing on the physical aspect too.

ED has deceived me into thinking that since I can think well, eat well, sleep well, walk well, and even travel without health issues in mind, weight gain isn’t such a priority anymore. I got tricked into this wrong mentality: I already eat so much, so why bother going through more discomfort and struggles?

But now…I am aware that I have only battled half the battle. I needed that kick in the ass to work harder on my physical recovery. Because I really don’t want to miss out on anything in college just because my weight. How sad that would be!

So conclusion: It’s time to slurp up more good eats.

Anyway, now that I’ve had my ass kicked, let me humble down and share with you one of my mom’s specialty dishes. It’s a traditional Korean noodle dish, one that is highly requested whenever our church holds a potluck or dinner event.

And today, after 21 years of eating this dish, I finally asked my mom to teach me how to make it.

Jap Chae (Korean Glass Noodles with Beef and Mixed Vegetables)

  • 1/2 pound dried Korean dangmyeon
  • sesame oil
  • canola oil
  • 4 oz beef, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large thinly sliced onions
  • 1 green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • about 1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 lb blanched spinach, drained
  • 1/2 cup sliced imitation crabmeat (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar

Fill a large pot with water and cook it to a boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Toss in about 1 tsp of sesame oil. Cut the noodles into shorter pieces, about 8 inches in length, the set aside.

Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Set aside.

Next, heat up some oil in a pan. Stir-fry the beef until cooked through. Add the garlic, onions, bell peppers, carrots, and mushrooms in stages, 30 seconds each. Then add the spinach, crabmeat, and noodles with the soy sauce mixture. Cook until heated through. Serve.
DSC02425 The noodles I used is easily found in a Korean market, called dangmyeon, or glass noodles:
IMG_0105 It is made from sweet potato starch and becomes clear as glass when cooked (thus its name). Since there is no wheat it is also gluten-free, and the texture is really springy and chewy in a lovely, summery way.
DSC02429 Honestly, I’m not such a great fan of this dish because I don’t really like the smell and taste of sesame oil, but occasionally I do enjoy its familiar and nostalgic taste.
DSC02428 It’s the best dish for summer picnics, because it can be served cold, and there’s a great abundance of vegetables.
DSC02427  The crabmeat in there is non-traditional, but trust me, it should be! Brings a really nice, mild sweetness to the dish:
DSC02431 This is one dish that you’ve got to make a lot of noise slurping it up again! Hee hee, that’s the way Koreans eat, and you’re eating a Korean dish anyway, so why not enjoy it the Korean way?

Come now, join me in enjoying a lovely dish of jap chae!

By the way, I stopped by Costco to pick up my new glasses, and was surprised to be handed this case for my glasses:
IMG_0109 Um…High School Musical?
IMG_0110 Haha, apparently my glasses were actually a Disney brand for kids! Eek! Guess I have a super tiny face!

Oh, and the sweet Hillary of The First Year Wife gave me an award:
The rules for accepting this award is as follows…

1. Nominate 5 other bloggers that you feel have become part of your circle of friends in the blogger world

2. Link back to the person who gave you the award in your blog post, to show your appreciation.

3. Comment on their blogs to let them know they’ve received the award.

Damn it. Haha, this is where I always get screwed over, because I have to choose! I have made so many amazing friends in the blog world that it’ll be tough to pick only 5, so let me list out some of the freaking amazing bloggers I’ve actually met in the past month:

That’s six, but I’m just that god-damned lucky ;-). Hopefully my luck increases and I can get to meet more of you!

Question of the day: What is your favorite ethnic noodle dish?

80 responses to “It’s Time to Slurp Up

  1. I love chap jae!! But the ones at the restaurants tends to be on the oily side.

  2. i love a good lo mein or drunken noodles.

    and don’t feel bad about the kid glasses! I just got new ones a few weeks ago and most of the ones I tried on were kids ones :) almost all “adult” glasses are way too wide for my face! cute, cute glasses :)

  3. Pad Thai for sure.
    Glad it was a blessing in disguise for you:)

  4. Ja Jang Myun!!! I’m sure you’re well aware of how awesome that dish is haha!

  5. hahahaha.. i love that your glasses are kids’ and came in that case! you better start singing some tunes! actually i have never seen HSM but my boss’s house was used for it so i had to hear all about it. hey, with good eats like those, it should be tasty to do that gaining. good luck to you, you are a strong woman!! hmmm i love noodles~it is so hard to pick. yakisoba from wagamama is a fave as is pad thai.

  6. What a lovely post- I loled at the glasses part :) There is a little kid inside of everyone :)!

  7. i’ve got to get some of those glass noodles! they look really cool. my favorite ethnic noodle dish is anything made with soba noodles. as long as it’s vegan, of course. they’re my absolute favorite! :)


    p.s. i really love your food pictures. they’re so clear and professional looking!

  8. Oooh I need to try this recipe!! I’ll try to get those noodles next time I’ll go grocery shopping. Oh, and can you believe I’ve never tried imitation crabmeat? =-_-=’

    I actually have the opposite problem with glasses: I have such a big head, all the glasses are too tight! That why I wear contact lens lol. And I also agree with the above poster: your glasses are very cute :p

    Favorite ethnic noodle dish: Hum…I’ll say Pad Thai with Shimps :)

  9. My first pair of glasses were Hello Kitty brand and I thought I was the coolest kid at school. :D

    Those noodles look delicious! But my favorite kind of noodles is soba (slimeyyyy).

  10. Keep moving along ans life can surprise you in so many difference ways. Isn’t it great!!!

    It’s always awesome to learn how to cook dishes moms always make. I think I got my cooking skills from my mom. As for noodle dishes, I’m not partial to any noodles dish. As long as there’s noodles in it. I’ll eat it. LOL. Though, I do eat a lot fo this Filipino dish called Pancit. Sort of resembles the Jap Chae.

  11. OMG that eye glasses case is hilarious!! I would carry it proudly and snarl at anyone who looks at you weird just for fun!

  12. By reflecting on your own experiences with your ED, you have no doubt helped me reflect on my own struggles. I have definitely never had major struggles, such as hopitalization, but mentally, I’ve been in similar places, and it’s helpful to be able to relate and grow from it.

    Thank you for your honesty. I am praying for you.

  13. Um wow that looks delicious! I LOVE glass noodles.. my mom makes Chinese dishes with them all the time and I love it when she mixes in tons of veggies!! YUMM.

    And high school musical?! that is hilarioussss… cute glasses though!

  14. Ahh I LOVE jap chae!!!! This might actually be my favorite food, um, ever. And I had forgotten about it for a while. Thanks for the reminder :):):)

  15. Yummy yum! I love anything in a tangled mess. This is fantastic hot or cold. Your addition of crab meat is a stroke of genius.

  16. The Novice Berker

    Oh man, I’m dying for some noodles to slurp up myself. Some icy cold naengmyun in this California heat would be spot-on. Mmm…

  17. good job at recognizing that even though you have made tremendous progress (you have) the fight is not over. ED tried to trick us so, but you will not let it! those noodles look super tasty! i also have childs size frames,lol

  18. As always, you are so insightful and wise! I always admire your ability to take a difficult experience and transform it into a meaningful experience…

    Oh my goodness, I just picked up a big gorgeous package of dangmyeon, and was wondering how to prepare it, having never cooked with dangmyeon before! I am SO excited to try your Mother’s beautiful recipe! Thank you!

    P.S. Your glasses are awesome!!

    P.P.S. Mmmm, I always adore soba noodles, cold, tossed with just a bit of soy sauce…

  19. Sweet potato starch? Does that mean it is made from sweet potatoes?? That is SO SO cool! And gluten free? That’s even cooler.
    The difference between you in the kitchen and me in the kitchen is that I would never make something with that many ingredients, I’m lame. I bet it tasted awesome.

  20. That dish sounds like something I’d love – lots of veggies and springy noodles yum.
    I love noodles – soba, udon, and pancit!
    Also, I just read your previous post. Your friends are cool and hilarious!

  21. ha, there are some hipsters who would totally be digging on your glasses case.
    i love all noodles. I used to live in a duplex with a bunch of thai grad students below me, and whenever my brother was over he’d say “i wish i had pad thai!” as loud as he could, in hopes they’d hear and make him some. wishful thinking…

  22. Don’t worry be happy. We all believe you can make it, just don’t be too harsh on yourself. You’ve already done very well. Enjoy life, enjoy good food, enjoy the companions and everything we have and things we haven’t. Life is beautiful!

  23. I’m so glad things turned out well for you and you were able to beat the ED! Considering your mad culinary skills, this is definitely a plus,,as I love seeing what you make! That dish is simply mouth watering. LOVE glass noodles with anything and everything, exactly like your Mom’s recipe..beefy, crabby, veggie.. etc. YUM!

  24. Aww thank you! That’s so sweet. I’ll have to get a “real” post up soon and do this :)

    That dish looks incredible. I want some asap and it’s gluten free so I could make it for all my friends and be ok… nice!

    Mi Xao Don… crispy noodles, veggies and perfectly fried tofu… yum!

  25. That noodle dish looks amazing! That’s so great your mom taught you the recipe :) I’m obsessed with green curry or pad thai –when i’m not worrying about weight. It’s good to splurge on it every once in awhile though :) Keep on burpin and slurpin! <3

  26. GOod for you for keeping it rull with yourself girl :)

  27. Sophia, thank you so much for this lovely award! Love it and loved meeting you and getting to know you better!

    I’ve never had glass noodles, definitely must try soon!

  28. This is one of my boyfriends’ FAVORITE dishes and he always orders it when we go to korean restaurants. I love it too, but sometimes eateries make it too oily or with far less veggies than you do! You’re totally right oN! I should make this at home so I can customize it!!! :)

    My favorite noodle dish is Taiwanese rice noodles. It’s delicious in soup AND stir-fried with Asian veggies and ham. Gluten free noodles really can be tastier than noodles with gluten in them!

    I’m glad to hear that you are fighting on Sophia! It’s not easy, but you’re such a trooper!!

  29. Sweet potato starch? Wow, I’ll have to tell my mom about this. She was diagnosed with both a wheat AND a rice allergy, so she’s screwed when she’s craving noodles (since I have yet to see soba noodles that are 100% buckwheat).

    Best of luck with all your physical endeavors! I know you’ll accomplish whatever you set your mind to.

    Eugh. The meds I’m on now to treat my mental problems also have the side effect of appetite suppression. While I prefer that to stuff like Paxil that is known to cripples your metabolism and makes you a ravenous wolf (hence people who go on antidepressants and gain 50 pounds), it makes it verrry easy to think “Wait…if I’m not hungry, should I be eating this?”

    Lol, I am currently doing a food version of Viagra: I chew some gum around the time I should eat, which forces all my hunger hormones to fire up.

    Wow, tick tock tick tock! I leave for USC Monday! Do you know your roommates yet?

  30. Your dish is absolutely beautiful! How delicious and what a great way to utilize the yummy summer veggies!

    I usually order lo mein from chinese b/c I love slurping up the greasy noodles. hehe :) Italian-wise I love this seafood dish my dad makes. He makes tons of muscles, clams, calamari, and chunks of fish in a white wine garlic sauce. Then, just dumps the whole pot over spaghetti noodles and we serve family style at the table!

  31. It’s so important that you have realized that mental recovery MUST be coupled with physical recovery. The journey is long and complicated…but, you WILL get there.

  32. aahah! When I first got glasses, they were Harry Potter – (I was 20 years old)- I have a really small face too.

  33. lookingforserenity

    hahaha dont worry! your glasses are cute :)

  34. Michelle @ No Time to Weight

    My 6yo would LOVE that case! She just got glasses for the first time last week and got a “Disney Princess” case.

    The jap chae looks so colorful and delicious!

    p.s.: Loved your post :-D

  35. lesouefsbrouilles

    we are so opposite! i LOVE sesame seed oil! and i LOVE japchae! everyone makes theirs so different. my mom cooks each veggie separate and adds it all together at the end.

  36. how many does this recipe serves? thanks!

    • Well, jam, that would depend…are you HUNGRY? Hahaha!
      Well, for our family, that served about 4, but we also ate other stuff with it. It’s not a main meal, but more of a side dish. I supposed if you wanna make it a main meal, perhaps 2 servings?

  37. this post was absolutely amazing and I cant tell you how connected I feel with it. It’s so easy to forget that the weight gain IS just as much a part of the process as overcoming other barriers. It’s those little kick in the asses that really help take you from la la land to reality. Im so glad you have a family that could remind you that there is still a lot more slupring and burping to be done in order to get to a more realistically healthy place. I know that you can do it! :)

  38. This looks yummy and healthy to me!

  39. that dish looks really colourful.

    i’m glad that you’ve come to that realisation about your recovery & that whilst mental recovery is highly important, the physical recovery is what keeps us there. & like you said, missing out on a fun college life that you’ve been waiting for just because of weight problems would ridic. you can definitely do it sophia. i’ve got oodles of faith in you.

    heehee, is it wrong & childish that i very much like that glasses case? yesss, i’m a closet HSM fan. shame, shame.

    L. x

  40. That dish looks right up my alley!! I love noodles made with sweet potato or yam starch (and sesame oil to boot). As you know, I’m not a huge fan of regular noodles. BUT, I do love pasta salad. Maybe I only like them cold??

    When are you leaving for school? It must be soon!!

  41. Don’t knock the glasses ~ they’re really cool and stylish even if they are for kids!

    I’m not too fussy when it comes to noodle dishes as long as said noodles are gluten-free and the dish is vegan…oh and soy-free…darn allergies. I love stir-fries but I don’t think mine qualify as truly authentic in terms of any particular ethnicity…it’s generally just a case of ‘throw ingredients in a wok and see what happens.’ I wish I could buy those glass noodles in the UK! They look delicious.

    Good for you for pushing on with your recovery no matter what.

  42. Aww thank you for the award!!!!! I am going to pass it along on Monday when I am finally back to work and in front of a computer =)

    That dish looks amazing =)…

    Oh and in case you forgot, I am so proud of you!

  43. Once again, you seemed to hit on something right when I needed it. No details, but I just feel like I’ve talked myself into everything being okay, when in fact, it SO is not. So, if you can shut up and slurp up, so can I…

    However, I can’t cook like you, so I have nothing to add to the noodle discussion. Boo.

  44. You have such a huge support system here, we’ll be here if you need us when you leave for school – you should be so proud of yourself for how far you have come!

    Um, and that noodle dish looks amazing!!

  45. I actualyl really enjoy this dish. A must order whenever I go to a Korean restaurant!

  46. That dish looks delicious!

    One of my favorite noodle dishes is peanut noodles. I’ve only had it once but it was really good.

  47. Ohhh! I had that kind of noodle at a restaurant with my friends downtown once. It was fully of nummy veggies :) I can’t get over how gourmet you are! (& even more, how insightful!)

  48. It’s so brave of you to share all of this… And because you’re willing to put it all out there and face it, I have every confidence that this is one big challenge that you WILL overcome! You have such a great attitude about it too, I’m just so impressed. :)

    And yes, bring on the good eats! Looks like you’re off to a great start.

  49. Those glass noodles are really gorgeous! Glad you finally learned to make one of your favorite dishes! Keep on slurping- you know we’ll be here supporting you. :)

  50. I have so much respect for you! It’s amazing how you have the honesty towards yourself to stepback and admit that you are slacking or have to keep challenging yourself. I think that you are doing wonderful, though and know that I’ll be bringing the support again, now I’m back from vacay ;)

  51. I love japchae! Great photos!

  52. I made chapchae a couple of times, but yours looks way better than mine.

    Your recovery will take time, so don’t be so hard on yourself, okay? Also remember that years of abusing your body will take a toll on it, so it may take a very long time for your body to put weight on. You will succeed, but don’t try to rush yourself through recovery.

  53. Hi Sophia! Congrats to you for recognizing that you need to continue your battle; it’s not an easy thing to do – I know – but I give you a tremendous amount of credit for continuing to trek forward.

  54. I’m glad you’ve realized you need to keep focusing on your physical recovery and gaining weight, you can do this :)

    After reading all these comments it’s struck me that the only noodles dishes I’ve ever had are vegetable stir fry and supernoodles (oh dear lol). I want to rectify that as soon as ED is out of my life.

  55. Yes, I ever try this when I was in Korea few years back. It’s really delicious.

    Anyway, pls check your mailbox when you’re free.

  56. Ya, I hear ya on the weight gain. I bitch and whine about how hard it is, how far I’ve come mentally, etc, etc. BUT, I know it’s still important to gain. Just because I’m doing so well doesn’t mean the weight gain is less important. So, kudos to you for realizing that!!
    I make this really good peanut butter-based pad thai dish that I love! Otherwise, I’m not too experienced with noodle dishes. I like soba noodles :)

  57. I love jap chae as it was one of the first Korean dishes I got introduced to… Happy memories… :)

    Sophia, you are an amazing, strong, self-aware young woman. You’ll do great in college. And no, ED will not take any of the fun away!

  58. Thanks so much for the award! It was so much fun meeting you. We should meet up again when I’m in San Francisco for my marathon in October!

    I actually recovered physically way before I recovered mentally, but both are such important aspects of recovery. I’m tempted to say mental recovery is harder because there is no magic number or formula that you can use to figure out how to get there. I know with all of your good cooking you will be fine though. You are right – you want to start over a new leaf in college and not be hindered by any of your past experiences.

    Your mom must have been so happy to make this with you! It lucks super yummy. You should submit it to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted by Katie of One Little Corner of the World.

  59. I saw your picture pop up on tastespotting today, congrats! Thats no easy feat, i think it gets harder and harder. I have never had a problem eating, but I think your honesty and openness about dealing with your problem is very special. I wish you the best and I know you will make a full recovery. There are obviously so many people rooting for you, myself included.
    Great looking dish. I have never tasted glass noodles, but i was impressed by all the beautiful and bright colors. I bet your mom was so happy you asked her about how to make it.

  60. sweetheart, there are times when we all lose sight of the overall goal — and though the physical aspect of recover is very important – i still am extremely proud of you for overcoming so many mental hurdles! It’s great that you were able to take a step back and re-evaluate yourself and realize that you need to “slurp up” ( love it!) some more eats.. i know you’ll have no problem doing it, what with your delish food creations!

    enjoy your day my doll <3

  61. I think my favorite is Pad Thai.

    I am so happy to hear that you realize how important it is for you to “slurp up” to become even more healthy. Emotional, mentally and physically. I know you can do it!!!

  62. Now that looks like a completely fantastic and addicting noodle dish!

  63. this looks like a great recipe! thanks for sharing

  64. My favorite is a Hong Kong seafood soup with shrimp dumplings and egg noodles. I just love it. I also adore Tempura Udon, but Jap Chae looks like something I’d love, too.

    I hope you can focus well on the weight gain.

  65. I need to look for some Korean noodles that I don’t know how to pronounce (bad Korean). :-) They look delish, as does your mom’s specialty.

    Would LOVE to meet you someday! Let me know if you’re ever in the St. Louis area! :-)

  66. That eyeglass case is hilarious!! I wonder if they give that version to elderly men who get new specs, too? Hah!

  67. That japchae looks amazing! That has to be one of my favorite ethnic noodle dishes. I also love Phad Thai, Vietnamese noodle salads, and soba noodles. Too many yummy dishes to choose just one for me :)

    Congrats on the award and for the physical recovery realization! I know you can do it, Sophia!!! As they say in Korea, a-jah, hee!

  68. I am so happy to see you sharing one of your Mom’s traditional recipes! I’m going to show my Mom and I know she’s going to want to make it. I like your new glasses! I have to go this week and pick out some new ones – I hate it – can never find any I really like. I think it’s kind of cute that they gave you that case!

  69. Aww! Thanks!! I’m so glad we had the chance to meet and hang out in person before you left for school! I know you’ll have an amazing time in California and have plenty of success in school…and I can’t wait to hear about your new adventures :)

    Jap Chae is one of my faves…I love the texture of the noodles! I also like cold soba noodles…and my mom’s pancit palabok. There’s also another Filipino noodle dish that uses thin glass noodles and veggies. Kinda same concept as Jap Chae, but I think Jap Chae is WAAAY better :[

  70. Wow, these noodles look great. I would love to have dishes like this in my family! :)

  71. Glass noodles?? Freaking cool.
    <3 <3

  72. I’m drooling over your noodles, they look soooo good! I love your new burgundy glasses!

  73. Your korean dish looks so good! Glass noodles sound so cool. And the high school musical glasses case is hilarious! I can’t believe they gave you that, even if they were kids glasses. Too funny :)

  74. Haha hilarious glasses case!

    It’s amazing how such a negative can open up our eyes and turn into a positive! Way to go for recognizing it :) <3 jess

  75. You are a damn smart young lady, outsmarting ED at every opportunity! I am actually excited about making this dish!

  76. wahhh…thk u for sharing the recipe! decades old recipe somemore ;p

    I luv veg so this is a perfect noodle dish!

    My fav noodle dish would still have to be Char Kuey Teow..eheh..wht to do..Pg girl!! HA!

  77. Thank you for the award!!!!! That is so cute and very sweet of ya…


  78. i’m just now catching up on reading my blog posts!! i missed reading your posts! i love love love chapchae and i’m glad you posted this recipe :). goodluck at school!!

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