Bibimbap is a popular Korean meal. Literally translated as ‘mixed rice’, this dish consists of – you guessed it – rice topped with seasoned vegetables, like carrot, cucumber, zucchini, mushroom, spinach and sprouts. A fried egg or sliced beef is sometimes added and the dish is often garnished with sesame seeds and julienned lettuce. Bibimbap can be served either hot or cold.
My first taste of bibimbap was on my flight over to Seoul. It was delicious, especially considering that it was dreaded airplane food, and it came with a little tube of hot paste so I could add it myself. This makes the dish great for not-so-adventurous eaters or those wary of spice – since the hot sauce is usually added by the eater, it is easy to control the spice factor.
One variation of bibimbap is served in a hot stone bowl that is coated in sesame oil so the rice becomes golden and crunchy on the bottom.
Tip: wait a couple of minutes to stir the bowl so that the rice has acquired the crispy crust. If you mix the ingredients too soon, the heat will not have the desired effect on the rice.
Another variation of bibimbap is called hoedeopbap, which is topped with raw fish, usually tuna, salmon or tilapia.