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My ambrosia, Korean Bibimbap

May 11, 2009

Korean cuisine has amongst it dishes some that have yet to be enjoyed by the rest of the world. One of the best kept secrets that only a select group of non-Koreans know about, is a simple dish called Bibimbap (bee-bim-pahp). It is in my world; ambrosia, food of the gods.

Don’t expect to find luxury in this dish. There is no exclusively bred meats, fishes or richly made sauces. Bibimbap is a dish where less is more. A simple combination of sauteed or raw vegetables julienne or finely chopped, layered on top of a bed of steamed rice. Add some spicy red pepper paste to taste.

by Cate

by Cate

What makes Bibimbap even more unique is that it’s eaten with a spoon from a wide bowl. It’s a dish where you can, for a few seconds, be a child playing with food. ” Bibim” means to mix and bap means “rice”, everything needs to be mixed together before eaten.

Another bonus is the small selection of side dishes accompanying the dish adding taste and texture. Side dishes are a common feature to a Korean meal. Lightly flavoured seaweed soup to aid digestion, pickled peppers for that extra “spice” and pickled cabbage known to the locals as “kimchi”– spicy, tangy and healthy.

by Cate

by Cate

Dietary sites claim Bibimbap is good for you. True it is higher in calories than salads and water, but think of this meal as a dish that can fill you up and keep you going for the day. Plus it’s inexpensive.

Variations of Bibimbap range from seafood, pork or lean red meat. There is also one served in a hot stoneware pot usually with an egg on top – “dolsot bibimbap”. Enjoyable in winter, summer, autumn, spring, twenty-four seven.

wikimedia

wikimedia

Eager chefs may want to check this video out. Enjoy!

My food of the gods it may well be, one of Korea’s best kept secrets it is, whether you are vegetarian,vegan or simply looking for something different. This dish caters for all.

Caffeinated Traveller

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7 Comments
  1. May 11, 2009 3:27 pm

    Those who have tried bibimbap should try the Dolsot varient. The bowl is heated up and the rice becomes crunchy. Mixed with the spicy red bean paste that is usually served with it, the crunchy rice is a treat in and of itself.

  2. Bear permalink
    May 11, 2009 8:53 pm

    I agree with Bryan, above, and I agree with you Cate. Bibimbap is like stew except without the liquid. A variety of wholesome and flavourful ingredients 🙂

  3. May 12, 2009 2:07 am

    Bryan – you are making me hungry. I love dolsot bibimbap.

    Bear – it is true that you can mix the ingredients to get some interesting flavours. Have you tried bibim noodles?

  4. May 13, 2009 12:18 pm

    You had me at “spicy”! The dolsot variety looks like my kind of meal. I’m curious about the flavoring of the seaweed soup?

    • May 14, 2009 1:41 am

      Very light flavour, salt and pepper plus the seaweed. It’s a good soup to sip on while eating the bibimbap.

  5. Erica Johansson permalink
    May 14, 2009 10:41 pm

    Looks good! I’m pretty sure I’d love the vegan version of Bibimbap. Am just curious, how is the vegetarian/vegan options otherwise in Korea?

  6. May 16, 2009 9:38 pm

    Cate – You took me back to our life in Tokyo. We had a great place near the office that had the best Bibimbap. We had our favorite private room where you sit down into the floor. My husband still talks about it fondly…hmm those crispy bits. YUM

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