From Korea with Love

"I carry your heart with me… always."

The Story Behind 부대찌개


3Have you tried 부대찌개 (budae jjige)? The first time I’ve tried it, my husband told me the story behind this mouth-watering dish, also called “camp stew” or “army base stew“. Some Koreans call it “Johnson tang” (존슨 탕), putting together the American family name Johnson and Korean word for soup or stew.

After the Korean war, people in Korea had nothing much to eat. They were going hungry, so they gathered leftover food from U.S military bases such as ham, hotdogs, SPAM, etc. They boiled these and cooked them with kimchi and gochujang (고추장: red chilli paste), or whatever they had; thus the famous spicy stew, “budae jjige”, was made.

Nowadays, there are a number of “budae jjige” restaurants in South Korea, but of course, the different kinds of meat used in making the stew do not come from trash. More ingredients are added, like cheese, “ramyon” (라면:  Korean instant noodle), sausages, bacon, canned beans, minced beef,  macaroni, “tofu” or bean curd, “tteok” (떡: rice cake) mushrooms and other vegetables.


My husband brought me to a big “budae jjige” restaurant in Hyewadong, but according to him, and from what I’ve read, the best place to eat this stew is in Uijeongbu where there are many U.S. army bases. In fact, there is an area there known as “Budae jjige street”. Perhaps, one of these days, hubby and I will visit the place, and we might just try “Uijeongbu budae jjige”.

“Budae jjige” reminds us of Koreans’ resourcefulness and love for their culture. Who would think that the delicious stew we have come to like today started from scraps? Though the variety of meat used in the dish are mostly American products, the stew has that unique spicy flavor and kimchi, of course, that make it traditionally “Korean”.


17 thoughts on “The Story Behind 부대찌개

  1. aha.. thanks for dropping by my blog sista Marish ^_^ no need to register.. but I’m still new in blogging..I’ll keep posting soon ^_^


  2. FROM KOREA WITH LOVE has an FB page. You can find the FB box beside the posts. ^^


  3. Sister, I read you blog so cute lovestory^^ but i can’t view more. Do i need to register?


  4. Thank you for your reply i hope that you can share us more of your experiences there^^ And i also hope na magkita tayo pag pumunta ako dyan!^^ Salamat po sa prayers mo ikaw din po, pag ppray kita^^ Do you have facebook account? or kakaotalk? i want to chat with you po in private. PM me po in my email address Godbless!


  5. You’re welcome.. U too.. ^_^


  6. Thank you for reading the posts in my blog. Take care. ^^


  7. Hi, Marish. I am sorry to hear about your Dad. I lost my Dad when I was 19, but I miss him even now that it has been years.

    The truth is… I didn’t dream about coming to Korea. I love my life in the Philippines. My family and friends are all there. I had a great career, a more exciting lifestyle… but well, I fell in love with my husband who happens to be a Korean.

    You will find your one true love, I’m certain of this… as long as you follow your heart and you try to get rid of that “my ideal man list” (if you have one). ^^

    You don’t have to have a lot of money to come to Korea, and you don’t have to be married to one. ^^ You can come here as a tourist or as a student. Let me remind you, though, that life in a foreign land isn’t paradise all the time, but yes, it is an adventure. =)

    I pray that you reach your dream/s in life. (I really prayed for you. ^^)

    Keep your head up. Be happy. ^^


  8. Thank you, Applebloom. ^^ Take care. ^^


  9. Hi, Bittersweet. ^^ Thank you for following FKWL. I hope you don’t mind, I added your blog to my blogroll. More power to you. God bless. ^^


  10. Thanks, Cher. I definitely would when I visit Uijeongbu again. ^^


  11. Hi! been following your blog for some time now. I like how you make something as simple as budae jigae an interesting post. I miss Korea. I miss the life there. And I miss a steaming pot of budae jigae!


  12. I like your informative…^_^


  13. Sister, I have read few of your posts and stories here^^. I am glad to meet your blog and seriously, im so happy that a Filipina like me was married to a korean guy. You know what unnie, i do love korean culture and everything about korea. I was a kid when i become so interested about korean culture and started to dream, want and create my future there^^. As i go on, reading your blog it gives me excitement and refreshes a lot of things to learn related to korean cultures. I am impressed how you survive, and enjoy living there. I cannot deny that you are now my idol. As of now, i am inlove with a korean guy. I first know him in facebook and we are not yet see each other. I am in the Philippines, he is in daejeon. I do have lots of korean covers and now, i am starting to plan visiting korea. I am a graduating student and one of dream is to come there, meet my future husband, work there like you, live there and have a happy life. I am also like you dreaming for a my prince charming, but ang masaklap, napaka lucky mo po.^^

    After i graduate this april, i really want to have a job right away that is why i am working so hard now in school and studying with all my efforts, i want to earn money so that i can go on a tour in korea. Siguro, dream come true na yun sa buong buhay ko kapag natupad lahat ng wishes kong to.. syempre, gusto ko isama yung mom ko and my brother ( my dad was passed away last 2011). Pero wala pa kong perang napa kalaki.

    Sister, I wish you all the best and sana magtagumpay ka sa life mo with your husband. Im so envy kasi lahat ng wishes mo parang dream come true. Ako kaya? matutupad? sana nga po.. sana.. kahit pa birthday na sakin ni Lord^^ anyway, so proud of you as my kababayan. inagt ka po palage and sana i have a chance na mas makilala ka pong mabuti and we become friends..

    -Marish, 20
    Philippines, makati city 🙂

    Godbless you always sister :*


  14. try budae jjigae in uijeongbu’s best o-deng sik-dang…..i used to live in uijeongbu and i have tried almost all the budae jjigae restaurants there and i can tell you o-deng sik-dang has the best. they’ve been feautured in tv and movies all the time. the long line of customers is proof that it’s the best kkkkk


  15. Indeed. ^^ Thank you for reading, Ms. Brook. Have a beautiful week. ^^


  16. Wonderful story of survival and making something good out of something not so good!


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