Here in Korea, stews and soups have a long and illustrious history. They are both warming and hearty, and there are a wide range of varieties to choose from. There are spicy stews, salty stews, and ones for both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike!
One of the most interesting stews is budae-jjigae. This stew was first eaten in the 1950s after the Korean War. The story goes that local restaurant owners made the stew using ingredients that had been taken from the U.S. military bases. As many of the bases were in the north part of South Korea, near Seoul, the stew originates from that area.
The name budae-jjigae literally translates as “Military Camp Stew” or “Soldier Stew”. In English, you can also call it spicy sausage stew.
Since the 1950s, there have been many variations on the budae-jjigae, with the ingredients varying depending on the region and taste of the chef. Some of the most common ingredients include: ham, sausage, spam, baked beans, macaroni, and hotdogs.
Now, many other ingredients have been added including ramen noodles, dumplings, onions, and more.
King Kong Budae-jjigae is a chain franchise here in South Korea. They have a number of different options, but for me I like to go with the one that has no gimmicks or extras, and that is their choice called King Kong Budae-jjigae (yes the menu option is the name of the restaurant!)
King Kong Budae-jjigae also has options like the stew with dumplings, or the one with extra ham. There is even an American version now with macaroni and cheese added along with other interesting choices!
The first thing to note about budae-jjigae is that is usually cooked at your table in the restaurant. The dish comes out with the ingredients all nicely arranged.
Then the heat is turned on at the gas range in the table, and the magic begins! As the ingredients are slowly swirled around, they mix together to form a spicy chunky stew.
King-Kong Budae-jjigae also provides a number of additional and interesting side dishes. They include a pasta salad, some kimchi, and more.
Also, when you get an order of the budae-jjigae, they include free rice, and you can add ramen for free as well. At the location we went to, they had both black bean ramen and chlorella ramen. We opted for the black bean ramen.
Finally, the stew had boiled enough for the ramen to be ready to eat and it was time to enjoy!
The King Kong Budae-jjigae is nice and spicy! The ingredients blend together well, and with the variety of different meats and vegetables, it allows you to have many different flavor combinations in one meal.
My personal favorite is some of the round ham slices, as well as the long cut sausages.
Our meal was very good, and very filling. We do worry about the large amounts of sodium in the budae-jjigae, but sometimes you just have to enjoy a hearty meal that makes both your mouth and stomach happy.
To visit the King Kong Budae-jjigae website click here: