Odeng Sikdang, the originators of budae jjigae, has been satisfying hungry locals and out-of-towners in Uijeongbu for over 65 years. Located near the front of “budae jjigae alley,” their authentic version of “army stew” stands out from its competitors because it’s packed with three different varieties of processed pork (i.e. Spam, mini-wieners, and ground pork), ripe kimchi, and lots of scallions. If you didn’t know already, this ingenious mashup of ingredients where East meets West is truly a perfect combination. The processed pork helps to season the broth while it boils down to a rich, savory sauce, while the ground pork and kimchi (a classic Korean combo, btw) create savory, rich flavors that pulls everything together. Although the basic version is great on its own, we ordered additional ingredients (called sari) in the form ramen noodles, dangmyun (potato starch noodles), tofu, and a bowl of rice for 1,000 won each. Needless to say, we ended up leaving stuffed and very satisfied with our decision to make the short trek up to Uijeongbu, an hour drive up north from Seoul.
Quick history lesson: The owner halmoni started off with a pojangmacha (tented street stall) back in the ’60s and had regular GIs as customers. Shortly thereafter, they would bring her Spam and other processed meats to add some protein to her dishes, which were essentially non-meat dishes. Lo and behold, the dish became a hit with GIs and locals, enough so that she was able to move to her present-day restaurant and now has a second location a few buildings down. Although the halmoni has passed away, nothing has changed as her son and family have kept the recipe and tradition intact. Below is a promotional video with Tasty Korea that I took part in this past summer, paying respect to this iconic dish and its historical significance in Korean food culture.
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★½ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Odeng Sikdang 오뎅식당
Uijeongbu-dong 220-58, Uijeongbu City (경기도 의정부시 의정부동 220-58)
Official website: http://www.odengsikdang.com/
Hours: Open every day 8:30 am ~ 8:30 pm except major holidays
Click here for an interactive map: http://naver.me/GOj5Oobe