Anthony Bourdain's Budae Jjigae

Anthony Bourdain Budae Jjigae
Courtesy of Ecco/Bobby Fisher

This recipe is excerpted from Anthony Bourdain's Appetites: A Cookbook.

Like SPAM? You're going to love this recipe. Bourdain sourced this one from the other side of the globe. "This is known as Korean army stew, created, according to legend, from scrounged army PX canned goods during wartime," he wrote. "It's the ultimate dorm food. Just looking at the ingredients might make it sound like a horror, but it very quickly comes together and becomes delicious. It captures the essence of great cooking over the last few centuries: improvisational, born of war and hardship, nostalgic, sentimental, and transformative."

Budae Jjigae

Yield: Serves 2 to 4

  • 1 dried shiitake mushroom
  • 4 large dried anchovies, heads and guts removed, wrapped in cheesecloth
  • One 3- × 5-inch sheet dried edible kelp or kombu
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 ounces SPAM, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 1½ cups Napa cabbage kimchee (tongbaechu)
  • 8 ounces sliced Korean rice cakes
  • 1 white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 hot dogs, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste)
  • 3 tablespoons medium/fine gochugaru (ground Korean red pepper)
  • 3 tablespoons cheongju (Korean rice wine)
  • 3 tablespoons canned baked beans
  • 1 package ramen noodles, preferably the Korean brand Shin, seasoning packet discarded
  • To make the anchovy broth, combine the mushroom, anchovies, kelp, 4 cups water, and the salt in a medium heavy-bottom pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain and discard the solids, and set the broth aside.
  • Place the SPAM, kimchee, rice cakes, onion, scallions, garlic, hot dogs, and pork in small separate piles in a large shallow pot.
  • Add the soy sauce, gochujang, gochugaru, and cheongju to the pot, then slowly pour in the reserved anchovy kelp broth. Add the baked beans and 1½ cups water. Bring the contents to a steady simmer over high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  • Cook for about 10 minutes, then add the ramen noodles. Ladle the broth over the noodles to help them break apart. Continue to cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until the noodles are cooked through but still chewy.

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Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @LeeBreslouer.