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Alternative namesSausage stew, Army stew
Place of originKorea
Region or stateUijeongbu
Associated national cuisineKorean
Main ingredientsHam, hot dogs, Spam, baked beans, kimchi, instant noodles, gochujang, American cheese
Korean name
Revised Romanizationbudae-jjigae
Budae-jjigae before boiling

Budae-jjigae (부대찌개; literally "army base stew") or spicy sausage stew is a type of Korean jjigae (stew), made with ham, sausage, Spam, baked beans, kimchi, instant noodles, and gochujang.[1] The dish was created shortly after the armistice that ended the Korean War, using the scrounged or smuggled surplus foods from U.S. military bases.[2] Although the dish was born in the period of post-war impoverishment, it continued to be popular during the period of rapid growth, and is still popular today. There are many restaurants specializing in budae-jjigae, with the most famous ones on the budae-jjigae street in Uijeongbu, where the dish was allegedly first made. The dish is now a popular anju (accompaniment to alcoholic drinks) and a comfort food cooked on the table in a big pot in front of the diners and enjoyed as it is cooked for many Koreans.[3][2]


Budae (Korean부대; Hanja部隊) is a military unit, often a "troop". As a troop's camp is also called budae, the word gun budae (Korean군부대; "military camp") is often used to refer to military camps in general, and migun budae (Korean미군부대; "U.S. military camp") to the U.S. military bases. Jjigae (Korean찌개), often translated as "stew", means a soup thicker than guk (soup).


Uijeongbu Budae-jjigae Street

After the Korean War, food was scarce in South Korea. People dwelling around U.S. army bases in the Uijeongbu, Pyeongtaek, and Munsan regions made use of leftover foods from army bases. These foods were usually processed meat products, collectively known as budae-gogi (부대고기; "army base meat"), often including ham, hot dogs, Spam, and canned baked beans.[4][5] It is said that budae-jjigae begun as a buttery stir-fried meal made of canned pineapples, cabbages, onions, American cheese, and mystery meat called 'ggulgguri-juk’ (꿀꿀이죽; "piggy porridge").[6] With time, people started using anchovy broth (flavored with gochujang and kimchi) as base, resulting in the modern budae-jjigae.[4] Ingredients were often scrounged or smuggled through the black market, as Koreans could not legally access American products.[2]

Budae-jjigae is still popular in South Korea. Common ingredients now include baked beans, Vienna sausage, bacon, tofu, pork, ground beef, mandu, instant noodles, macaroni, tteok (rice cake), American cheese, mozzarella, minari, scallions, chili peppers, garlic, mushrooms, and other vegetables in season.[6] The city of Uijeongbu, which is bordered by Seoul to the south and has many army bases, is famous for its budae-jjigae. In the late 20th century, the city of Uijeongbu stipulated that the dish be referred to as Uijeongbu-jjigae to remove the military or war-time connotation in the name, though not many restaurants follow this guideline. Some restaurants have begun calling their product Uijeongbu-budae-jjigae. There is also what locals refer to as "Uijeongbu Budae-jjigae Street"—home to a high concentration of budae-jjigae restaurants.[7][8]


A form of budae-jjigae developed around a U.S. military unit stationed in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, is called Johnsontang (존슨탕; "Johnson soup").[9] It is named after United States President Lyndon B. Johnson, who is said to have raved about the taste of the dish during his visit to Korea.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Institute of Korean Language (2 May 2014). "주요 한식명(200개) 로마자 표기 및 번역(영, 중, 일) 표준안" (PDF) (in Korean). Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Cho, Grace M. (22 August 2014). "Eating military base stew". Contexts. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  3. ^ West, Da-Hae (19 June 2016). "Gettin' jjigae with spam: a US/South Korean fusion". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b "budae-jjigae" 부대찌개. Korean Food Foundation. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  5. ^ Bamman, Mattie John (3 March 2017). "The Korean Comfort Food at the Intersection of War and Peace". Eater. Vox. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  6. ^ a b Lee, Hyo-won (24 June 2010). "Life post-June 25, 1950". The Korea Times. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Uijeongbu restaurant owners take pride in army base stew". The Korea Times. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  8. ^ Kim, Violet (6 April 2012). "Food map: Eat your way around Korea". CNN. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  9. ^ "존슨탕을 아시나요? 미군부대 앞서 시작된 부대찌개 사촌". TV리포트. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  10. ^ Lee, Yong-sung; Kim, Hyun-chul (30 December 2004). "From Trash to Delicious Treasure". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 13 January 2006. Retrieved 1 April 2012.