Best Of 2018

Best Korean Spam Stew: Riverside Korean Restaurant

Inspired by the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, people were feeling Korean food this February — even the non-adventurous eaters. And instead of focusing on typical favorites (hi, dolsot bibimbap), or “weird” seafood stuff, people were talking about Spam. Yes: that blue tin of processed, canned, gelled ham. During the Korean War, Spam was introduced to the country by the United States army. When post-war rations ran low, the country sought out the meat and other canned food items, and by the 1980s, Spam became a popular part of the Korean diet (you can even buy special Spam gift sets around the holidays). One of the most well-known Spam dishes is called Budae Jjigae, or Army Stew. It’s a fusion hot pot dish made with Korean and processed American ingredients including kimchi, Spam and other pork products, ramen noodles and even baked beans. One of the best local versions is at Riverside Korean Restaurant. Their Bu Dae Zhi Gae hot pot dinner for two is a spicy kimchi mix with pork, hot dog, Spam, tofu, rice cake, zucchini, mushroom, hot pepper, onion and ramen noodles. You can even add extra Spam, hot dogs or noodles for just $3! Riverside Korean Restaurant, 512 Madison Ave., Covington, riversidekoreanrestaurant.com.