Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nolboo's Budae Jigae - Seoul, Korea (Yongsan)

Jung and I went to Yongsan Electronics Market one day to get some accessories for our cameras. When we got out of the subway station and took a look outside, we saw buildings and buildings devoted to electronics all around us. We didn't even venture outside. It was too overwhelming. We took a walkway that connected the subway station to one of the electronics buildings. I don't recall the name, but it looked really ancient. I did not know that each building had 5 to 6 floors of just electronic vendors, all nestled side by side. I don't know how they all stay in business with so much competition. We stopped by a newer building called the Digital Speciality Store in the I'Park Mall on the way back. It was way nicer. Anyhow, we got our gadgets and then got hungry so walked around their food court and saw Nolboo's Budae Jigae.

I've never had budae jigae before so I was curious to see whether I'd like it. It's referred to as the military stew because after the Korean War, meat was hard to come by so they used American food products from U.S. military bases, like hot dogs, Spam, cans of baked beans and macaroni, and made a spicy stew using kimchi and other vegetables.

I should have taken a picture before the waitress poured in the broth, but from what I recall it had slices of hot dog, spam, pork belly, tofu, macaroni, baked beans, kimchi, udon noodles, mushrooms, rice cakes and green onions in it. We ordered a side of ramen too. You wait for all the ingredients to cook together in the spicy sauce and then you eat.

It's seriously a random mix of weird ingredients. I admit I was a bit weary of eating a Korean stew that had baked beans and macaroni in it, but you hardly can taste it at the end. Maybe that's the beauty of it, it doesn't really matter what the heck is in this thing, but in the end, it's tasty and sustaining. It's interesting how the taste had lasting appeal and people still enjoy it today.

I found a recipe for this while I was in Korea so I'm going to try making it at home. I'll let you know how it turns out when I get to it, which at this rate is going to be in mid-February. =)


  1. i think the key is the whole cooking over gas range thing....

  2. and the flat wok! I need one of those. I'm so tempted to run over to Kim's Jungi right now. haha.

  3. doubles as a paella pan. alton brown would approve

  4. I really want a paella pan, but I have no space for one. Ugh! Jung, I knew we were really related when I saw your collection of cast iron skillets and ice cream maker. =)