Tangpyeongchae (Mung Bean Jelly Noodles)


We have covered Sinseollo, so let’s continue exploring Korean Royal Court cuisine with another royal dish that is just as delicious, if not as flashy.

Tangpyeongchae -or Mung Bean Jelly Noodles, which is way easier to pronounce I am sure- is a Korean salad that was a beloved member of Korean Royal Court cuisine. It is made using julienned nokdumuk(green bean jelly), mung bean sprouts, fried beef, watercress, red pepper and gim(Korean edible seaweed- yes, the one that is used when making Gimbap). The dish is quite rich in ingredients, which makes me wonder whether you can take out the beef and make a vegetarian meal out of it. Seems possible, considering how often Koreans add/remove ingredients from their dishes based on their personal choices. But in the other hand, beef seems necessary too, for historical reasons if nothing else, which you will learn about shortly. Tangpyeongchae is seasoned with a sauce made using ganjang, sesame oil, vinegar, sugar and sesame seeds. It is usually eaten in late spring and early summer times in Korea.

As Tangpyeongchae was a royal dish, the history behind it is quite interesting, as you would expect. According to the sources, the meal was originated from a political situation:

King Yeongjo(Joseon Dynasty) was worried about the ongoing conflicts of the time and he wanted to resolve the strife between the four major parties. So in order to create a more friendly mood, he frequently hold feasts. At the start of a feast, he presented tangpyeongchae to the politicians and said “As you can see, there are four ingredients(nokdumuk, beef, gim, dropwort) with four distinguishable colors and flavors. But they are harmonized beautifully so they taste great together.” Sounds wise, right?

Today, tangpyeong policy, which translates as the policy for meditation and harmony, is considered the greatest achievement of King Yeongjo.

Main Ingredients: Nokdumuk, beef, mung bean sprouts, gim

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