Definitely craving it now even though I’ve never had it!! This is likely why the Uijeongbu area near the U.S. Army base in Seoul is known for having the best budae jjigae. Jjigae means stew. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. As always, it tends to be served with sticky rice and sides like kimchi and cucumber pickles. Budae (부대) is a general term for a military base in Korean and Jjigae (찌개) is a term for soup/stew. In Korean, Budae means army or army unit. I love kimchi jiigae, it’s my favorite comfort food. From what I’ve read, there have been many variations of Budae Jjigae over the years but the standard dish now is a spicy broth with kimchi, gochujang and a mix of spam, sausage, beans and cheese slices. I like it but I prefer the jigaes that use classic Korean ingredients. After the Korean War (1950-1953) foods such as spam, hot dogs, baked beans and cheese slices were often smuggled out of the US army bases to the locals. Budae Jjigae is honestly fascinating. This spicy looking stew called Korean army stew, aka “budae jjigae (부대찌개)”, is one them.During and after the Korean war in the early 50’s, Korea was known for the world’s poorest country. Hairy Dieter: chilli lemon tuna spaghetti, Baked feta with roasted red pepper and tomato. Over time, these ingredients were mixed with Korean food and hey presto, Budae Jjigae was born! Your email address will not be published. Some Korean dishes have a sad history behind. And it tastes very American. After the Korean War, food was scarce in South Korea. You are telling me this jiigae has spam and cheese too?! There are plenty of places to eat Budae Jjigae in Seoul. Budae jjigae, which literally means army base stew, is a thick Korean soup made with meats that were once found on American army bases in Korea.This soup was invented during the Korean War when meat was scarce in Korea. Spam even became an enduring favourite, believe it or not. I’m not an adventurous eater but I love to try new things every once in a while. Food was scarce in South Korea after the Korean War. (Although, of course, I will also now have to travel to South Korea to try it too). The name ‘army stew’ is a very big clue to the origin story of this dish. Lets enlighten you on the wonderful story of this delicious food. It’s also sometimes called Jonseun-tang (Johnson Soup) and this dates it to the mid-1950’s. Oh wow, I want to try that now! Literally translated, it means “army base stew” in Korean. So funny – as I just recently tried a Korean spot home in NYC with a few friends and one thing we ordered was this stew of cheese, spam, hotdogs, etc. Their novelty made them popular with people living nearby, even though it was technically illegal to purchase or even have them if you were a local Korean person! My mouth is watering just thinking about it…. I’m glad I did. Budae Jjigae is honestly fascinating. Great post! KIMCHEEGUESTHOUSE.COM, Delicious Roots: The Story of Budae Jjigae, https://kimcheeguesthouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/kimachee-booking-logo_small-1.png, Kimchee Guesthouse and hostel Accommodation in Seoul and Busan, https://www.kimcheebookings.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/1065_4519_2020.jpg. Yummmmmm. It was so great to know how Koreans like spam when people dont really eat that at home. It’s not a pretty bowl of food but it tastes so good! Budae Jjigae … Sounds insane reading it on the menu, but it might honestly be one of my favorite things. Fabulous story, this – I love hearing about the origins of dishes, and fusions between different countries cuisines. The meats used in this soup were handed out by American army bases and include spam, hot dogs, and other common canned meats.