Bboguri

* Since my last post was not related with either the book/writing or the Army, I thought I’d post something Army-related, something I haven’t done in a long while.

I was mindlessly surfing 9gag the other day when I saw this posting titled “How lazy can you be?”

How-lazy-can-you-be

It’s actually not an issue of laziness per se. Cooking ramen is not particularly difficult or time-consuming, and lazy people usually eat it straight from the pot. Of course, if you eat ramen in the way pictured above, you don’t have to do dishes, but it’s hard to get an optimal soup base-water ratio and end up with very little soup, which is a big minus.

This style of making ramen is called bboguri (뽀글이 or 뽀구리), and as far as I know, this is primarily a Korean Army thing. I don’t know any civilians who wouldn’t spend another 100 won to get the cup version of a ramen. But when you’re making 20,000 won a month as I was when I was in the Army, the extra 100 won adds up quickly.

We didn’t eat ramen like this all the time. Actually, every squad gets a monthly allotment of cup ramen, one box of yukgaejang sabalmyeon (pictured below). However, it goes quickly. It’s mostly the sergeants with a lot of seniority that are eating them because they are tired of eating chow (짬밥), and they have first dibs on communal goods.

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We ate bboguri when the communal ramen was all eaten or when we wanted a different kind of ramen and had to pinch pennies. With the water issue as mentioned above, it actually works better with “ramen” that use water only to soften the noodles, such as jjapageti (짜파게티) or oddugi spaghetti ramen (스파게티).

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For normal ramen: Open the wrapper carefully on one side, break up the noodles a little, add some soup base and dried vegetables, pour in hot water, close up the top with the unseparated wooden chopsticks or a binder clip, wait a few minutes, stir and enjoy.

I can’t think of any reason a civilian would have to make it. Maybe if you went camping and couldn’t get your hands on cup ramen or were worried about garbage. Or maybe you want to experience a small bit of Army life. If you do try it out, let me know what you think.

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