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>jiapeng -> chanpon -> champong

(Moved from Jan 14, 2008)

Why agitate for culinary fission?

Let's just celebrate the beautifully willful cultural transcendence, a.k.a. hodgepodge.
Once upon a time, a resourceful restaurant owner created a hotchpotch (no, not le hochepot) of a dish for Chinese students studying in Japan, and named it "Nagasaki chanpon" (長崎ちゃんぽん) after
Hokkien (Fujianese) "jiak peng" (吃飯) which means "eat a meal".Fast forward. Many generations later, informed noodle lovers in Los Angeles go after champong (짬뽕), a positively fiery hotchpot made popular by Chinese immigrants to Korea now running restaurants in L.A.'s Koreatown.
"Chanpon is a Japanese word meaning a mixture of disparate things. One common usage is in 'Nagasaki chanpon' which is a noodle dish developed in the international port city of Nagasaki, where a mixture of ingredients (fish, vegetable, and meat) is tossed together as a topping. Among the international community in Tokyo, the word chanpon is used to describe the blending of Japanese and English (as in 'it’s so oishii ne.'), distinct from more mainstream forms of bilingualism which involve switching between one or the other language." - The Momoko Ito FoundationThis seafood dish with such hybrid identities hails from a place which, sadly, becomes the epicenter of the bomb explosion. Now the home of Nagasaki Peace Park, this city had cooked up a veritable ancient fusion of a dish, certainly not the atomic kind.

Of course, it is possible the word chanpon came from the Malay word campur, to mix. Why not a fusion of both sources? A convergence.


  1. Ms. Tan30.1.08

    This "champong" sounds like hokkien mee, the fiery soup
    version. This makes so much sense.

  2. Anonymous26.3.09

    Hokkien Prawn Mee!