Bu Dae Chi Gae (Video)

Bu Dae chi Gae and side dishes

Bu Dae Chi Gae is simply fun eating.  It’s a lively, semi-spicy stew (chi gae means stew in Korean) filled with sausage, hot dogs and ramen noodles.  However, Bu Dae Chi Gae’s roots don’t originate in fun.  The name translates as “Army Unit Stew” and it originated during the Korean War. 

Uijeongbu on a map of Korea

The story goes that army units patrolling the area surrounding Uijeongbu encountered peasants suffering the hardships of war.

The soldiers gave the villagers leftover rations such as hot dogs, sausages and Spam.  Consequently, industrious cooks used the rations along with kimchi and ramen noodles to create an original East meets West fusion food. 

My first boss in Korea, Mr. Park, didn’t experience the war’s oppression. But he loved Bu Dae Chi Gae.

Me and Mr. Park
Me and Mr. Park

Even though he spoke limited English, Mr. Park was a gracious and generous supervisor.  So, after taking me to pick up my work visa on a Saturday, Mr. Park just said, “Lunch.”

At the restaurant, the waitress placed a large pot full of meat and a fiery red broth on a portable gas burner.  After she turned on the burner, I asked Mr. Park what we were eating.  He enthusiastically answered, “Bu dae chi gae!” 

The combination of hot dogs, Spam and ramen noodles seemed odd at first.  However,  once I started eating, I was hooked.

Tricia and Greg Hardin

Since Mr. Park introduced me to a new and exciting food, I thought I would return the favor.  So, I invited myself to my brother Greg and his wife Tricia’s house and took over the kitchen. 

Despite growing up in the United States, Tricia had never tried Spam.  “What’s it taste like?  What’s the texture?”  “It’s hammy.” 

Her uncertainty notwithstanding, Tricia loved the contrast between the hot and peppery stew and cool yet spicy side dishes. “It’s a lovely dish,” she said.  Tricia was hooked, too. 

Check out the video to see how Bu Dae Chi Gae comes together. 

Serves 4

Step 1:  The Seasoning Paste

Bu Dae chi Gae seasoning paste ingredients.

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons Korean red chile powder

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon gochujang, Korean red chili pepper paste

1 tablespoon chicken stock or water

Black pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside while you prep the chi gae ingredients. 

Step 2:  The Chi Gae or Stew

Bu Dae chi Gae stew ingredients.

2 cups kimchi, chopped finely

4 hot dogs, sliced diagonally

2 Sausage links, sliced (about 8 ounces or 227 grams)

Note:  Mexican chorizo or spicy Italian sausage work exceptionally well in Bu Dae Chi Gae.

½ can of spam, sliced (about 4 ounces or 114 grams)

½ medium onion, thinly sliced

½ red bell pepper, sliced

4 cups chicken stock, dashi, or water

1 package ramen noodles

Enoki mushrooms and green onions.


1 package enoki mushrooms

2 scallions, roughly chopped

Add the broth to a large, shallow pot or braising pan and stir in the seasoning paste.  Add the kimchi, onion and bell pepper and stir.  Arrange the sausage, hot dogs and Spam on the vegetables.

Turn the heat on high and boil until the sausage is just cooked, about 5 minutes.  Add the ramen noodles and cook another 3 minutes.  Add more broth or water if necessary.

Garnish with the enoki mushrooms and green onions.  Serve immediately.

Serve with:


Side dishes such as kimchi, kkak du gi and oh ee mu chim

Has anyone ever introduced you to a food that you are absolutely crazy about? We’d love to hear your story in the comments. Thanks for reading!

Rating: 1 out of 5.

8 thoughts on “Bu Dae Chi Gae (Video)

  1. This looks yummy in a comfort food sort of way but salty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is the ultimate Korean comfort food, Addy. It’s also surprisingly not salty; using reduced sodium Spam and only a teaspoon of soy sauce helps. Hope you’ll try it and thanks for reading! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great! I didn’t know low salt Spam existed. If that’s the case, let’s give it a go.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I found it at Walmart. If low sodium Spam is available in your area, it’s worth looking for. Let me know how it turns out!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It tasted as good as it looks! Thanks Brian for making this delicious dish for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for having me! It was a lot of fun!


  3. Hope you don’t mind me using your comment space? Just wanted to thank you for the “Like” to my post. Made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t mind at all, Wic. Glad the “like” brightened your day a little!


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