today we will talk about Budaejjigae (Army base stew). The origin of this dish is the korean war, when due to shortage of food in Korea, the population started to use consume goods and ingredients coming from the US bases all over the country such as spam, canned beans, wurstel or bacon and use them in addition to a traditional soup made from spicy paste (Gochujang).
This dish is still popular and few chain restaurants have open that have this dish, and other versions such as kimchi budaejjigae, in their menu.
To try Budaejjigae we went in one of the restaurants of the Nolboo chain restaurant (놀부 – 놀부부대찌개) in Sinchon, Seoul.
The composition of this dish is so heterogeneous as we can find a huge variety of ingredients and this makes me really curious about how it would have tasted.
The ingredients of this dish are chili paste, spam, wurst, sausage, bacon, spring onion, rice cakes, ‘maccheroni’ pasta, udon, tofu, noodles, baked beans and sesame leaves.
The pot with the ingredients was placed on the burner at the center of the table where it will cook. The waiter then poured a soup of ox-bone (transparent white) and started stirring: the color of the dish suddently became reddish revealing the spicy flavor of the dish!
We cooked the dish for about 10 minutes while stirring and then started taking our portions to pour in our own bowl. After the first servings we were surprised to see ingredients such as pasta or udon appearing from the bottom of the pot while taking or portions. So be sure to mix and stir well before serving!
This is not a complex dish to prepare although it contains a big variety of consistencies and tastes due to the many ingredients used. It is very tasty and spicy and you will be surprised on how such distant flavors can coexist together in the same pot!!A very useful way to use not-very-noble ingredients such as spam to create such a delicacy.