Below are three pics of yesterday's budae-jjigae-- the first time I've made the stew in America. It was fortunate to pass muster with the Korean work crew, and even Mom-- who was originally grossed out* by the concept when I first told her about it a few years back-- ended up liking it. The huge amount I'd made is all gone now, except for a tiny bowlful.
You can read about budae-jjigae here. Take the origin stories with a grain of salt; there are so many myths and legends surrounding the beginnings of this stew that it's hard to know whom to trust on the topic. Almost everyone seems to agree, though, that the bizarre fusion of American crap (spam, hot dogs, and fatty ground beef) with traditional Korean stew ingredients had something to do with the Korean War.
What ingredients can you identify?
*Many Korean immigrants who came to America following the Korean War have not kept up with culinary trends on the peninsula. I grew up, as a result, with a very traditional idea of Korean food, and that's why I was freaked out, when I first settled into a job in Korea in the mid-90s, to discover cheese kimbap. Since then, I've been exposed to all manner of good and bad East/West Korean fusions, and it's amusing to be able to relay my discoveries to Mom. Mom, for her part, has been brought up to speed regarding most of the recent culinary trends, as many aspects of la cuisine coréenne actuelle appear on her beloved Korean cable dramas. She's quite happy we have cable again, by the way; the Verizon guy did most of the installation yesterday, and will be back for a followup visit on Monday morning.