South Korea celebrates a few variants on Valentine’s Day. On February 14 women are expected to buy chocolates and other gifts for the men they fancy. The following month the guys reciprocate by giving the girls white gifts–marshmallows, mints, white chocolate, underwear. I’m not sure what same-sex couples do on these days, but Black Day, April 14, is for everyone.

Everyone who’s alone and miserable.

On that day singles gather in Chinese restaurants and commiserate over heaping bowls of cha chiang mian, the earthy, hybridized Chinese-Korean black bean noodle dish I wrote about a few months back. There’s damn good reason cha chiang mian is considered Korean comfort food. Unfortunately V.I.P. Restaurant is closed on Tuesdays, so that’s no help. But Great Sea, Peking Mandarin, Great Beijing, and Chang’s all serve a super bowl of rolled, cut, and boiled-to-order noodles.

The folks at Great Beijing tell me they’ve never actually observed Black Day celebrated there in Lincolnwood. But that’s no reason Chicago’s Solo Regiment shouldn’t join together tonight and fill their empty bowls with bitter, bitter tears.