Jamaica FEASTS is Queens Library’s FREE training program to provide knowledge, tools, and resources to people who want to start and run their own food businesses in Queens.

Several talented students have graduated from Jamaica FEASTS, and we’re very pleased to share their holiday recipes with you!

Please prepare all recipes at your own discretion; Queens Library is not responsible for accidents, allergic reactions, or illnesses that occur because of preparation.

from Suin Park, forward ROOTS

Japchae is a Korean glass noodle dish that is topped with a stir-fried mix of vegetables and meat,” says Suin, the founder of forward ROOTS and 2019 Good Food Award Finalist who creates small-batch, homemade fermented Kimchi sauces in honor of her mother and her roots. “It is the most popular traditional dish served during festive celebrations and holidays, and with its sweet, savory flavors and springy noodles, there is not a soul I know who doesn’t love it.”

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 5 dried shitake mushrooms (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes), cut into thin strips
  • 6 oz. beef (filet mignon or sirloin), cut into thin strips 2” in length
  • 6 oz. sweet potato starch Korean glass noodles
  • 8 oz. fresh spinach
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 green onions, cut into strips 2” in length
  • 1 small carrot, cut into matchsticks (julienned)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks (julienned)
  • Salt & black pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil (any oil with a high smoke point—grapeseed oil, canola oil [non-GMO], etc.)
  • Garnish: fresh cucumber cut into matchsticks (julienned), thin slices of green onions cut on a bias, roasted sesame seeds


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 to 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 3 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds


  • Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
  • Combine sliced meat and mushrooms in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of sauce and mix. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge.
  • Spinach: bring a large pot (8 quarts) of water to a boil. Blanch the spinach for about 30-45 seconds, then remove from water and place into a bowl of cold water (add ice to it if you can) to cold shock the spinach—this helps maintain its vibrant green color. Gently squeeze out the excess water and place spinach in a large bowl, then add ½ tablespoon of the sauce to season.
  • Noodles: in the same pot of boiling water, add the noodles and let cook; as the noodles soften, gently stir to prevent them from clumping. Let the noodles continue to cook as per package instructions, stirring occasionally; cooking takes 6-7 minutes. Drain the noodles, rinse in cold water, and drain again. Cut the noodles into thirds with a pair of kitchen shears. Place the noodles into the same bowl as the spinach, add 3 tablespoons of sauce, and gently mix to season and prevent noodles from sticking.
  • Vegetables: heat a non-stick pan on medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil along with the onions and green onions. Stir for a couple of minutes, until the onions are translucent; season with salt and pepper. Once done, transfer to the bowl of noodles. Repeat this process individually, along with ½ tablespoon of oil, for the carrots and for the red bell peppers. Transfer each into the bowl of noodles after they are stir-fried (for up to 2 minutes).
  • Meat & Mushrooms: in the same pan on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil, add the meat and mushrooms, and stir-fry for 2-4 minutes until the meat is cooked. Transfer the mixture into the bowl of noodles.
  • Mix all the ingredients in the bowl gently, and add any leftover sauce to season. If more seasoning is required, add a little soy sauce and sesame oil.

Posts in This Series

  1. Holiday Recipes from Jamaica FEASTS: Nutty Zucchini Raisin Bread
  2. Holiday Recipes from Jamaica FEASTS: Pernil (Roast Pork)
  3. Holiday Recipes from Jamaica FEASTS: Chef Ayana’s Chicken Wings