The Korean word bibimbap literally means ‘mixed rice.’ A bowl full of the grain serves as the base for toppings such as namul (sautéed vegetables), grilled beef, kimchi, and an egg. Chili-powered gochujang paste, soy sauce, and fermented soybean paste (doenjang) add extra layers of flavor. Here are 7 bibimbap dishes that will bowl you over.
Sushi San, Chicago, Illinois
Try bibimbap with a Japanese accent. The Beef ‘n Bop features short grain rice steamed and coal roasted in a cast iron skillet. Beef short ribs, roasted maitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, sliced asparagus, crispy shallots, and a sunny ‘n’ runny egg yolk top it off. Make a reservation at Sushi San.
Departure, Denver, Colorado
Expect heat and meat in this blue-ribbon bowl. Skirt steak gets amped up with Korean chili and fiery strands of pickled kimchi. Sitting at the center is a poached egg to pop so you can mix in the creamy yolk like it’s an extra condiment. Make a reservation at Departure.
SouthGate, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bibimbap – now in omelet form. This clever play features eggs dressed with the toppings of a vegetarian version of the rice bowl, including zucchini, spinach, and shiitake mushrooms. Golden-griddled hash browns complete the hearty breakfast. Make a reservation at SouthGate.
E&O Kitchen and Bar, San Francisco, California
This Bop is a Japanese interpretation of ‘bap. Crispy dashi rice is interspersed with layers of spinach and savory sweet pickles with a sunny side up egg on top. A sprinkling togarashi, bonito flakes, and an umeboshi plum add the final flavors. Make a reservation at E&O Kitchen and Bar.
Gayeon, Fort Lee, New Jersey
The hot stone bowl-style bibimbap features warm rice, sautéed veg, and plenty of gochujang. Diners then add their choice of duck, seafood, galbi (grilled beef short ribs), or mushrooms. Guaranteed to warm your belly and melt your heart. Make a reservation at Gayeon.
Dons Bogam Black, New York, New York
Cheese makes everything better. So does bulgogi. This unconventional dolsot (hot stone) bibimbap features both, so it’s a double gold winner in our book. Make a reservation at Dons Bogam Black.
Departure, Portland, Oregon
A bed of Koshihikari rice is the base of this beauteous bibimbap. On top, there’s Wagyu beef, kimchi, and an egg. There’s gochujang on the side, so diners can amp up the spiciness to their preferred level. Make a reservation at Departure.
What are your picks for restaurants for the best Korean bibimbap dishes? Let us know here in the comments or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Bonfire Media (SouthGate).