Korean Cuisine – Bibimbap
For many years, Asian foods have been very popular in Western countries however recently Korean food has stood out to challenge the Chinese/Japanese status quo. Common dishes such as Sushi and Chow Mein have been ever popular in western countries however Korean food is now widely established as it represents healthy well-being food with a fantastic taste. I am here to introduce one of the most popular Korean dishes that has recently hit the scene, Bibimbap, (Korean Rice Bowl with Vegetables and Beef).
Korean cuisine is mainly based on rice and uses various meats and vegetables to compliment. Korean food is traditionally served in both the home and restaurants with the staple food (rice), and side dishes (Kimchi or Banchan), along with Korean Miso Soup. Bibimbap consists of rice mixed with vegetables such as spinach, carrots, onions, and bean sprouts. Added to this is usually a serving of beef and a fried egg. Typically, this mix will all be served together in a large bowl and will have to be mixed together adding flavourings such as spicy sauce (seasoned red pepper paste) or sesame oil. Bibimbap can be served in a sizzling hot stone bowl called Dolsop Bibimbap which is very popular at Korean restaurants.
Historically, Bibimbap originated as the King’s meal during the Joseon Wars in the 17th century as food was scarce. By the 18th century it had moved on and became the afternoon tea/light lunch for the royal family. The most renowned Bibimbap dish in Korea is Jeon-ju Bibimbap as it said to be based on a royal court dish of the Joseon Dynasty.
There are a couple of stand out advantages of Bibimbap, other than the fantastic and authentic Korean taste, which really give this dish the edge. Firstly, the dish can be all yours! Given the variety of available ingredients you can choose them to your own taste and mix away making a different flavoured dish each time. Koreans would normally use a combination of spinach, carrots, onions, and bean sprouts, however any vegetable can be used with mushrooms also popular. Beef remains the most popular meat of choice but various other meats, particularly pork can be used. Secondly, with traditional Korean vegetables such as zucchini, white radish, and Chinese cabbage also available you can appreciate these different vegetables from western cuisine in available seasons and ensure you never having the same dish. Last, but certainly not least, the dish is ideal for vegetarians or intolerances/allergies as you can select what gets added.
Talking about any Korean dish would not be complete without a mention of the national dish, Kimchi. Kimchi will be served as a side dish with the vast majority of Korean dishes including Bibimbap, the best advice I can give…give it a try!
There are many surveys for the most popular Korean dishes and Bibimbap often takes a spot in the top 5. In 2013, readers all over the world voted Bibimbap as one of the world’s 50 most delivious foods by CNN Travel. Bibimbap is an authentic, healthy, and affordable Korean dish, which is a great dish to start as your very first Korean food treat. You can find this dish in most Korean restaurants and don’t be afraid to ask for it to your requirements so why not trying Bibimbap today!
Hong Mi-Kyung, (May 19, 2008) Top 10 Korean Dishes & Restaurants Korea Tourism Organization
CNN Travel Your pick: World’s 50 most delicious foods 16th June 2013