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Hunger Games: American Influence Felt In Korean Dishes

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January 22, 2018

ABC News

SPAM, trout, fried chicken, moon pies and anything slathered in mayonnaise — those are some of the flavors of South Korea’s home cooking that might seem just a bit familiar to the U.S. athletes and hordes of westerners preparing to descend upon the small Asian country for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games …

A South Korean dish called Budae Jjigae, or “army stew,” prominently features SPAM, the canned meat product from Minnesota.

The stew is a salty, savory concoction of spicy kimchi, ramen noodles and various processed meat products served bubbling hot. SPAM — which has a somewhat mixed reception back home in parts of the U.S. — has been loved by South Koreans as a symbol of American prosperity and a source of always-ready protein. That’s been the case since they appeared on the U.S. military base and then given away to starving children or sold on the black market as a prestigious food item.