Budae Jjigae for Dinner

For dinner I thought I’d go with something that’s different and hearty.

Korean food is something that I have noticed only in the past couple of years, and it’s a cuisine I would like to delve more into. The problem is I don’t get that much exposure to their food, but my brother is a big fan and a lot of times he’s the one who introduces me to the new dishes.

Budae Jjigae was one of those suggestions, and after trying it with my brother and cousin, it is now one of my favourite Korean foods. There is just something about having a hot pot of soup, noodles, tofu and other foods in the middle of the table that makes it so welcoming and alluring. It probably has something to do with the nostalgia of having hot pot since I was a kid every winter with my family and friends. The great thing about this meal is that if you have eaten everything but you’re still hungry, you can simply add more food in, wait a few minutes and continue consuming the spicy goodness.

Similar to Chinese hotpot or Japanese Sukiyaki, there are a variety of ways on how you can eat this dish. It all depends on the ingredients you put into it. If you don’t like it spicy, then don’t add as much gochujang (but please have a little bit in it!) or do the complete opposite if you’re a total nut for spicy food. You can make it healthy by adding a lot of vegetables such as onions, green onions, mushrooms, water crest, sprouts, garlic, napa cabbage and serve with baked beans. Or some not as healthy (but great to eat) ingredients you could incorporate are instant noodles, sweet potato noodles, macaroni, spam, ground beef, sliced sausages, tteok (Korean rice cakes), and American cheese.

The interesting thing about this dish is how this dish came to be. Budae Jjigae literally means “army stew.” The creation of this stew came after the Korean war when there was a scarcity of food in Seoul, South Korea. What they did was grab the surplus of U.S. military food they had around, such as hot dogs, spam, and ham and made a fusion of American and Korean food by incorporating it into their traditional spicy soups. The result is an amazing spicy, rich, noodle-y dish that I would imagine to be great during the winter time.

This dish is whatever you want it to be, which I think that is why it’s so popular. I’ll definitely will be visiting this dish again, and maybe I’ll make a video on my take on this dish and show it you guys.


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