can be roughly translated as a stew). BuDae means army base. The main ingredients are a combination of Korean staples - kimchee
and a green leafy vegetable that resembles a cross between parsely and wild celery. It might be suk
which is also used to color ricecakes a distinct jade-brown color but I'm not sure. The other ingredients are the Korean War-era K-rations
of the US Army. The versions I've had include baked beans
and American cheese
. Eaten at a little neighborhood restaurant in Seoul
over a bunsen burner
with OB Lager
to cool it down. A little sliver of Korean history bubbling away in an aluminum pan.
Certainly one of the finest uses of Spam
- that bizarre concoction that (according to dubious urban legend
I heard) so resembles human flesh that it became the favorite meat of a cannibal
group in Indonesia). And a cultural artifact that is very Korean IMHO and in my somewhat impressionistic and lazy opinion.
Korean in that it takes something so bland and depressing as rations and with the addition of kimchee
makes it firey and fragrant. Reminds me of Stone Soup
or Nail Soup
that German fairy tale
about a hungry soldier who cleverly elicits ingredients for a soup after claiming that he could make it with just a nail…
Korean in that it takes the materials at hand and turns it into something distinctive and unmistakably Korean.