Asia Food Korea

How To Make Bibimbap

One of the best things about Korea is the FOOD. As a Canadian, my palate usually preferred ‘Western’ style cuisine: pizza, chicken, and of course poutine. I never really was a spice lover, even when my dad would cook up West Indian dishes and go easy on the spice for me. Let’s just say… I wasn’t an adventurous eater. Before coming to Korea, I wasn’t sure if I would like much of the food, especially the spicy ones. But I was wrong! I love Korean food!

Today, I got a taste of Korean culture (literally!). I attended a cooking class to make Korea’s most famous dish: bibimbap!

What’s Bibimbap, you ask?

Bibimbap (비빔밥) literally means “mixed rice”. It’s served in a bowl with hot white rice, sautéed vegetables, and gochujang also known as red chili pepper paste. It’s common to add bulgogi (ground beef) and a fried egg on top. Then you mix it all up with a spoon and chopsticks and dig in!

bibimbap

Bibimbap

A little more about the history of bibimbap (taken from Wikipedia):

This dish was traditionally eaten on the eve of the lunar new year as the people at that time felt that they had to get rid of all of the leftover side dishes before the new year. The solution to this problem was to put all of the leftovers in a bowl of rice and to mix them together. Bibimbap is also thought to have been eaten by farmers during farming season as it was the easiest way to make food for a large amount of people.

Back to today…

I was perusing Facebook earlier this week and came across the ‘Making Bibimbap’ event hosted by Busan Buddhism.

This organization puts on a variety cultural event each month so that foreigners can learn more about the history of Korea. They host events such as making kimchi, designing lanterns, and making hwajeon (flower pancakes) – which will be happening next month!

Emily and I made our way to the end of Line 1 (Nopo Station) where we hopped on a shuttle bus to take us to Hongbeopsa Temple.

We were greeted by the friendly organizers who got us prepared at our cooking stations. What I loved about the experience already was that we were sitting on the floor to cook the food (which is the traditional way Koreans eat meals). After some introductions, it was time to cook!

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

We first watched our experienced chef in action as she went step by step on how to make the dish. Then, it was our turn! Each cooking station had event organizers to assist in preparing the dish, as well as to answer any questions we may have. Our lovely sous chefs (Eun Jeong and Jun Woo) were awesome and gave us a lot of information about the ingredients (especially what they are called in Korean!).

Watching the demonstration

Okay so… HOW do you make bibimbap?

It’s quite simple!

First, there is no exact measurement to how many vegetables you need. It will all depend on how many bowls you will be serving.

All the ingredients to make bibimbap

All the ingredients to make bibimbap

Ingredients:

enoki mushrooms (팽이버섯), green squash (애호박), carrot (당근), shitake mushrooms (표고버섯), egg, soy bean oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, hot pepper paste (고추장 – gochujang), salt, sugar, sesame seeds

  1. Prepare the rice in a rice cooker (or if you’re like me, warm up Minute Rice!).
  2. Pick apart the enoki mushrooms and julienne cut the other vegetables.

    Cutting up veggies

    Cutting up veggies

  3. Saute the following veggies in soy bean oil*, starting from light to dark colour:
  • enoki mushrooms (팽이버섯)
  • green squash (애호박)
  • carrot (당근)
  • shitake mushrooms (표고버섯)

*You can use any type of oil, EXCEPT olive oil as it burns faster. Soy bean oil complements the vegetables nicely, so I would suggest using this oil! Saute each vegetable separately for about 2 minutes or until vegetables start to get soft.

  1. Fry the egg – typically sunny side up, but it’s up to you!
  2. Prepare the sauce
    Oil the pan with soy bean oil; add the hot pepper paste; add a little bit of soy sauce, a pinch of salt and sugar. At this point, you could add bulgogi beef to the sauce if you wish. Stir it up and transfer to a sauce dish. The colour should be dark red and the paste should be a thick consistency.
  3. Build your bowl!
    Rice goes on the bottom. Then add each vegetable on top, going clockwise. Add as little or as much red pepper sauce as you’d like! Drizzle on some sesame seed oil (just a little bit though!). Place the fried egg as the centerpiece. Garnish with sesame seeds.

VOILA! You just made bibimbap!

Once we were finished cooking, it was time to eat our creations! Along with our dish, we ate kimchi soup and drank chrysanthemum tea (normally drunken after eating bibimbap). I must say, my bibimbap dish came out great and it tasted yummy, too! I can’t wait to make this at home!

Bibimbap close up

Bibimbap close up

 

Cooking Tips:

  • You can add more ingredients to the dish if you’d like! Given the time frame of our cooking class, we didn’t prepare some ingredients such as the soybean sprouts, pickled radish, and bom namul (Korean spring greens). If you can’t prepare at home, you can always purchase these ingredients premade at the grocery store.
  • Blanch the soy bean sprouts in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Don’t open the lid until finished or it will have a stinky smell later.
  • Remember to sauté each vegetable separately and transfer to a plate. You can add a pinch of salt to taste while sautéing, too!
  • It’s all about presentation – make your dish look Instagram-worthy!

Have you ever eaten bibimbap before? What other Korean dishes do you love? Share in the comment section below!

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35 Comments

  • Reply
    Nerdventurists
    December 21, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Bibimbap is my faaaaaavorite Korean dish. I’ve been wanting to try making it for myself for ages. Definitely going to use this guide for that!

    • Reply
      Expat and the City
      December 21, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      It’s so good! It’s my fave too. I’m going to miss it when I leave Korea! I mean, I can get it back home but…will it be the same!??!

  • Reply
    Gryselle Mae Co
    October 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    I love Korean food too~ Not particularly a fan of bibimbap but from your post, it seems to be quite easy to make! My favorite is kimchi stew~ I heard it is really easy to cook to. Hopefully, you can post a recipe of it. Let me know if you do! 😀

    I just started cooking a few months ago and I would love to join cooking classes as well but I’m too busy with my work at the moment. I don’t think I’ll be able to do so any time soon. 🙁

    xoxo, G

    • Reply
      Expat and the City
      October 25, 2016 at 4:29 am

      Mmmm kimchi stew is also good! I would love to take more Korean cooking classes. If I do, I’ll certainly post the recipe!

  • Reply
    Zwitsy
    October 20, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Wow, I was expecting for a typical recipe sharing but lo, it was not just that but it also includes your nice experience. It’s nice to be able to learn in the actual event. I have tried bibimbap one time from one of the establishments in Cebu. So far, it’s okay as for me. But I love more of Korean ramen.

    • Reply
      Expat and the City
      October 25, 2016 at 4:28 am

      Aw thanks! I wanted to share the experience, too. It was fun!

  • Reply
    kriswanders
    October 19, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I have tried Bibimbap here in the Philippines too. Thanks to Korean vendors venturing their business to our country. I am not spicy eater, but I would place an exception to this dish. I like the way how the flavors mixed up from the kimchi to the other vegetables. I’ts great that you have tried cooking the dish straight from the assistance of Koreans. I like the trivia on the blog too. Now I now why this dish was made. 🙂

    • Reply
      Expat and the City
      October 19, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Awesome! Bibimbap is one of my fave Korean dishes. I don’t find it too spicy though. You can control the amount of pepper paste that goes into it.

  • Reply
    Louisa Mercado
    October 19, 2016 at 1:56 am

    I also have a preferred taste for Western food. I have however tried bibimbap courtesy of my daughter. I wasn’t expecting to like it but I did! I just remove the kimchi though. Looks like a fun course to attend!

    • Reply
      Expat and the City
      October 19, 2016 at 11:08 am

      Kimchi is not usually in the actual bimbimbap dish itself; but rather as a side dish. It’s a side dish to basically EVERYTHING in Korea!

  • Reply
    Mommy Queenelizabeth
    October 18, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Bibimbap or bibimbop here in Ph is a new favorite! I always love the ones from Mr.Kimbob! It’s really good with all the mixture of veges and beef! Plus i like it spicy with an egg on top! Its a Korean food and i love it! Would love to try it at home 🙂

    • Reply
      Expat and the City
      October 19, 2016 at 11:12 am

      That’s awesome that it’s becoming more popular in Philippines! Mr. Kimbob – what a cute name for a restaurant!

  • Reply
    Thelittlelai: Beyond limits
    October 17, 2016 at 6:12 am

    I haven’t heard about Bibimbab yet and it seems that it is an interesting food to try. The only korean food that I always love to try is Kimchi cause I really like spicy kind of food and this Bibimbab is perfect for my taste buds.

    • Reply
      Expat and the City
      October 25, 2016 at 4:27 am

      I didn’t know about it until a little bit before coming to Korea. It’s delicious!

  • Reply
    Rej Relova
    October 17, 2016 at 4:58 am

    I’ve only tried Bibimbowl’s Bibimbap here in the Philippines. I’m not even quite sure if it’s authentic LOL. And thanks for mentioning that it needs to be mixed up. I ate it by partitions! I didn’t really have any idea that it should be mixed up for you to enjoy it best. Looking at the photos, I think it was a great experience! They really take it so seriously what with all the exact measurements depending on the bowl to be made, right? Saving this as a bookmark for future use!

    • Reply
      Expat and the City
      October 19, 2016 at 11:29 am

      There really isn’t an exact measurement. I put in more ingredients that I prefer. And yes it’s all about mixing it up. Bibimbap literally means “mixed rice”. That’s the fun part!!

  • Reply
    Simona
    April 1, 2016 at 3:50 am

    I will try this! Since for the moment I am traveling and don’t have a kitchen, I hope soon :)).
    Bookmarked!

  • Reply
    Katie
    March 31, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Bibimbap is always my go to choice when I am not sure what I want to eat. I also love how easy and flexible of a dish it is to eat. Never thought I would say this, but after living in Korea for almost two years I am growing sick of Korean food!

  • Reply
    Brenda
    March 31, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    loved this post Sam!
    I LOOOOVE Bibimbap! It was the only reason I tried to go to South Korea as an ex pat!
    I think I will try the recipe!

  • Reply
    Jo
    March 31, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Ok this totally sounds like “Nasi Goreng” the patent Indonesian food – which I totally love. I literally lived off this “fried rice rip off” for the 11 months I was there.

  • Reply
    aberkholtz
    March 31, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Hahaha I can never help myself when I pronounce Bibimbap, I always feel like going ‘bippity boppity boo!’ 🙂 Looks delicious

  • Reply
    Taylor's Tracks
    March 31, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    This looks so yummy! I really need to get to Korea so I can try some of their dishes!

  • Reply
    The Wanderlusteur (@Wanderlusteurs)
    March 31, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    LOVE Bimbimbap and spicy Korean cuisine. We have a ton of Korean restos in Toronto, so I haven’t made it at home yet. Thanks for sharing your recipe that you learned in Busan – will give it a go!

  • Reply
    Carla Abanes
    March 31, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I love bibimbap! especially with the egg a bit runny and lots of mushroom! yum! Thanks for sharing how to make it!

  • Reply
    hrollings
    March 31, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Ah, I’d love to make this, but there are some ingredients (mostly mushrooms) that I can’t get in Ethiopia. There are 3 amazing Korean restaurants in the city though. We go regularly and I love this dish, and Korean BBQ!

  • Reply
    Kevin Wagar
    March 28, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Sounds absolutely delicious! And getting a chance to learn the proper way to make a local meal is fantastic!

  • Reply
    Travelog with Jem
    March 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Ooh! I love Korean food. I make Kimbap and kimchi on my own. And now I’ll try this bibimbap.

  • Reply
    lilistravelplans
    March 28, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I absolutely LOOOOOOVE Bibimbap, I am sooo gonna try this myself! 🙂

  • Reply
    elizabeth
    March 27, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    i am trying t- thanks for the recipe. I love the history of it as a way to get rid of your leftover before the new year starts! Fantastic.

  • Reply
    Heather Cole
    March 25, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Might have to give that a go this weekend, always up for trying out new dishes! I always think you have to cook to really appreciate the food of another culture, although it’s always hard to get the ingredients at home, so thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    Laura @Travelocafe
    March 23, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Bibimbap looks so delicious. I have to try it out sometime.

  • Reply
    Eloise
    March 23, 2016 at 11:39 am

    It’s the first time I hear about Bibimbap! Now I’m curious…! I’m not a good cook at all but I will strategically pass this on to my better half! 😉

  • Reply
    TheBohoChica
    March 23, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Bibimbap looks delicious. I’ve never had the exact same dish but a similar one in Indonesian cuisine, I’m pretty sure I would love it.

  • Reply
    Hung Thai [Up Up and a Bear]
    March 22, 2016 at 5:54 am

    So my fiance told me that girls like eating bibimbap because it’s like angry food. When you’re angry at someone, you just smash the food as though you’re smashing the one you’re upset. Is this true? 🙂

    • Reply
      Expat and the City
      March 22, 2016 at 6:44 am

      Wow I never heard that before! But I can see how it would be a total stress reliever!! Next time I’m mad at someone (most likely will be over a guy lol) I’ll do this technique!

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