Asian Soups: Korean Army Base Stew

Asian Soups: Korean Army Base Stew

Many Asian soups call for several ingredients. Some of them you may have on hand, but for others, you’ll have to fetch them from your local Asian supermarket!

Now that we have completed our look at hot pot, it’s time to branch out. Despite being one of the warmest places on Earth, Asia is home to a wide variety of soups. After all, the entire region and sphere of the globe isn’t one giant jungle or desert. There are plenty of colder places across the continent, such as in Korea. 

A Quick History 

Although it is a classic part of Korean cuisine, this dish is not as old as you might think. It is also called budae chigae. It is a combination of a variety of cuisines melded together. Western-style cuts of meat, ramen noodles, spices, and veggies all make something magical. During the years of the Korean War, there was widespread famine. Even after the war ended, the famine persisted. Leftover meat salvaged from US Army bases formed the foundation of this soup, which is where the name originates. The two words “budae” and “chigae” mean military base and stew, respectively. Spam, ground beef, hot dogs, and sausages are all common ingredients. So don’t expect a healthy meal when you sit down to enjoy this type of Asian soup! This dish also includes sprouts, onions, scallions, and sookat, or chrysanthemum leaves. 

The Ingredients You Need 

Many Asian soups call for several ingredients. Some of them you may have on hand, but for others, you’ll have to fetch them from your local Asian supermarket! Start with 1.5 cups of meat cut up into small chunks. You can also mix in ham and small meatballs if you wish. Then add 1.5 cups of sliced veggies, such as mushrooms and onions. Adding some gochujang can also give it some kick if you prefer. Take one package of noodles, open it, and add the noodles. Set aside the spice and oil packets – you won’t need them here! Optional ingredients include canned baked beans, slices of American cheese, sliced rice cakes, and kimchi, too! 

How to Prepare It 

Now let’s find out how you are supposed to prepare army base stew. Asian soups aren’t all that much different from the soups you might be more familiar with growing up. Get everything together and put it all into a large pot. You can make it less spicy, depending on your preferences, and you can also choose to make it less salty by making homemade meatballs – know that this will make preparing the stew more time-consuming.

Submerge all ingredients under some water. Bring everything to a boil, and look out for small bubbles forming. You want the pot to reach a rolling boil. Once more bubbles appear, turn down the heat on the burner. Let simmer for about twenty minutes. After that, it should be done. Once you are ready to eat, serve it up with some white rice to help balance out the spiciness! You can also substitute brown rice or use bean threads if you are concerned about how white rice will affect your health. This issue becomes even more pressing if you have diabetes. 


Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market

Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop-shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to serve our customers better. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, please email us at


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