Uijeongbu BudaeJjigae (or Sik as it’s English name, pronounced “chic”) just happens to be on spring garden, right beside our first recommendation from the KCCA, Ichiban Fish House. I live nowhere close to the area so this is a second visit on a different day. I swear I didn’t eat all that food for dinner. I’ll eventually have to update this post since the owner told me of some event/promotion he’ll have every Friday to Sunday, so keep posted.
I remember this day very well, because I skipped lunch so I knew I wanted something big. Budae Jjigae(부대찌개 or Army Base Stew) is usually a good solution for this since it’s really just a mix of everything. We mentioned before that while it’s tasty, the food has a heavy emotion to it. I learned from the owner’s son that the restaurant is named as such because Uijeongbu (의정부) is where it kind of all started. During and after the war the people needed to eat, but couldn’t stomach the western food very well. Essentially the first fusion food in Korea, they mixed the food brought over by the US army, with their staple dish Kimchi to create a stew. It helped to feed more people as a stew, and bring in some of the familiar Korean taste with the few Korean ingredients remaining.
Interesting to know that the restaurant has regular customers from various backgrounds. He noted that each come for a particular dish. Some come for the Budae Jjigae(부대찌개), others for the Pork Bone Soup (감자탕), and the last group for the Hot Stone Bowl(비빔밥). I guess this is a kind of similarity with Westerners and Koreans working together to eat.
We ordered the small budae jjigae, which is enough for 2-3 people. I was tempted to get the large but I’ve done that mistake one too many times at the grocery store. Don’t shop when you’re hungry. The side dishes came promptly and the staff visited often to make sure we had gas in the burner. She mentioned that we could eat it once the pork was cooked, as there are some ground pork pieces. This took about 5-10 minutes and it was fresh and hot.
Before we could get halfway through the stew, we ordered the pork bone soup to see if it could compare to the regulars. I was delightfully surprised to see a tower of meat, stacked higher than most places would have it. Not so surprisingly I couldn’t finish it, even though my mouth wanted to.
As for the drinks, they have Chum Churum Soju(소주) and Makgeoli(막걸리) at pretty good prices compared to the bars.
The music at the restaurant sounded like the kind they play at a spa. Very relaxing and soothing. The TVs however play the Korean variety shows with lots of lights and action. So I guess there is something for everyone here. The seating at the restaurant is plentiful, you won’t have to wait for a seat. We came at 8 and left around 9 and there were still people coming in, although the photo above doesn’t show it.
We weren’t able to try the bibimbap but we will next time. We probably should go with more than two people next time, its a hard balancing act between wanting to eat all the food and try more food. If you’re in the area go try it for us!