Hongdae Hotspots: Shimseuntang Budae Jjigae
Budae jjigae, the “army base stew,” has its devotees and its haters. A bubbling stew of kimchi, hot dogs and Spam can be one person’s nightmare and another’s heavenly backyard barbecue in a bowl. Regardless, this dish is one of the first East-meets-West fusion cuisines of the 20th century.
Shimseuntang plays even more with this blurring of cultural boundaries. What makes this place special is the rice: At the table are little packages of butter, soy sauce and garlic cloves with a garlic press, and diners mix the butter, soy sauce and crushed garlic with the rice, creating an addictive compliment to the meaty stew. An optional dessert is piping hot rolls with icing to dip them in. For the jaded palates, Shimseuntang reawakens one’s passion for hearty Korean fare.
*Hongik Univ. Station 홍대입구역 (Line 2, Gyeongui Line & AREX), Exit 9. Walk a block, cross the street and take a left. Shimseuntang is on the second alley to your right.