When Has Your Meal Had A Story Like This?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

budae

So much more than the “leeks, onions, garlic, and other greens” that swim amidst the odd presence of sliced hotdogs and Spam, one of Korea’s favorite dishes, Budae Jjigae, is a stew with a backstory not likely associated with most meals, as TheExpeditioner.com’s own Jon Wick finds out in this piece.

Arising out of the ashes that was Korea following the Korean War, Budae Jjigae is more a stew of necessity, consisting of whatever Koreans could scrounge from the earth and from the packs of American G.I.’s (which explains the use of Spam).  As one Korean explains to Jon, “The U.S. soldiers would give away their army food to local people and they make this stew . . . U.S. Army very good to us. It was a very, very bad time.”

So where can you go to try the best? Head north from Seoul to Uijeongbu Odeng Shik-dang and get in line to visit what many Koreans consider to be the best joint serving this odd concoction. I have to admit, this makes my impending dinner of ramen from a bag look kind of lame now.

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