This title would have worked so much better if I had this in Seoul. It could’ve been ‘Seoul warming food’ haha!
Unfortunately, this scrumptious Korean meal was in Strathfield – at a lovely little restaurant right next to where Moochi used to be (remember that Froyo chain?! it hit peak popularity a few years back and left right and centre would be some sort of Froyo store. Then one by one they very quickly disappeared…).
Anyway, winter is coming *insert Game Of Thrones meme* in just over 2 weeks. As much as I love Summer, I do love winter. Wearing thick coats and scarves makes me feel like I’m wrapped in a cosy burrito all day long.
Even though it is currently Autumn, Sydneysiders are really starting to feel the cold and who doesn’t want some kind of stew/soup to keep them warm? and who would know best about comfort food but the Koreans themselves where they experience temperatures of up to -10 degrees celsius for months!
This lovely dish is called ‘Budae-jjigae’ aka ‘Army Stew’. This dish originated because of the scarce availability of food in Korea after the war. Luckily for them they had a huge surplus of military canned food and some genius came up with this!
It is basically a variety of ingredients cooked in a spicy soup over your own personal gas stove. Staple ingredients include ramen (instant noodle), dokkbokki (rice cake), spam, baked beans, tofu and sausages. Depending on the restaurant, this is customisable.
What makes this the perfect cold weather dish?
- It’s cooked right in front of you – well you cook it yourself (don’t be so lazy). You can savour the warmth of the gas stove while taking in the delicious aroma’s of the stew. Also, cooking on your own stovetop will ensure your soup never gets cold. Optimal temperature all the time!
- It has everything you want in it! It’s fully customisable with a variety of options available.
- Whats not to love?! Instant noodles *check*, Sausages *check*, Tofu *check*, chilli/spice *check*
- If you have a cold, the chilli in the stew will definitely clear your congested nose.
- During your dinner, the waitress/waiter will come over and refill your soup so you can slowly sip on the hot soup afterwards for free.
- The portion size is enormous – if you could finish this stew on your own…you deserve an award! I shared this dish with my boyfriend and boy, we were in food coma’s afterwards. We couldn’t even fit in dessert – and I love desserts!
- Its Korea’s version of the traditional chinese ‘steamboat’ aka 打邊爐. Mmmm. I am an ABC (Australian born chinese) therefore I have grown up eating steamboats and instant noodles my whole life and when I discovered Koreans had combined the two in a beautiful concoction, I was hooked!
As you can see, we did order a plate of chicken covered in cheese on the side – but this wasn’t necessary as the buddae-jiggae was plenty.
The rice they serve the stew with is a mixture of white rice and a handful of black rice – resulting in the beautiful purple colour with speckles of ‘black’ rice. Simple but super tasty when eaten in together with the stew.
Usually when eating at Korean restaurants, they never skimp out on the side dishes. My mum had actually once gotten full on the sides alone and had to doggy bag her main haha! Unfortunately at this restaurant, they did not provide side dishes. However they did give us a plate of kim chi – so I’m still happy with that!
I will definitely be going back to have this dish again over the winter months. A word of warning though – don’t gobble down the tofu straight out of the stew. You will burn your mouth (True experience… multiple times. It seems I’ll never learn to be patient when it comes to food)
Please let me know if you have had something similar to this before and what winter dishes are your favourite?
Mine is definitely homemade steamboat (打邊爐)!
Details on the delicious dish below:
Name: Alrose Garden
Location: 7-9 Churchill Avenue, Strathfield, Sydney, NSW (5 minute walk from Strathfield station)
Cost: ~$45 for two. That’s only a bit over $20pp for dinner!
Until next time, thats all for now.