New Thing: Eat Bibimbap

Each year I make a list of new things I want to try (it’s part of how I live my life on purpose). Some of these things are exciting/adventurous/expensive, many of them are super normal, I-can’t-believe-I’ve-never-done-this things. You can read about past shenanigans here. 

I would encourage you to click play on the above video so you can hear what hot stone bowl bibimbap sounds like!
It is a truth universally acknowledged that new, interesting food is best consumed deep in the suburbs in a location that is as hidden as possible.
Like a cafe.
In a grocery store.
In Columbia Heights.
Really and truly, I think there’s a direct correlation between how delicious something is and how hole-in-the-wall-y the location is (re: my favorite restaurant).
So when I went a’googling for ‘Twin Cities bibimbap’ there was a part of me that thrilled to discover the undisputed best bibimbap living in a grocery store, in a decidedly un-hip suburb.
If you (like me) are new to bibimbap, Wikipedia tells us that it is “a signature Korean dish that literally means “mixed rice.” Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with sauteed and seasoned vegetables, chili pepper paste, soy sauce, and salty soybean paste. A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The hot dish is stirred together thoroughly just before eating.” 
Because I have a ‘go big or go home’ mentality when it comes to trying new food, I wanted to try dolsot bibimbap, or hot stone bowl bibimbap. It’s the usual bibimbap ingredients, served (as the name would suggest) in an insanely hot stone bowl. The bowl is so hot, you can literally hear the rice and vegetables crackling as the waitress hands you your tray.
As you wait for things to calm/cool down a bit, the rice at the bottom of your bowl is forming The World’s Most Delicious Chewy, Golden Crust. You can drizzle your bowl with all sorts of amazing sauces and dip into the million tiny bowls of condiments you receive.
It’s delicious. It’s vegetarian and vegan-friendly (they make each bowl individually so it’s easy to ask for yours without meat or eggs) and it’s not even vaguely healthy. Really, it’s the perfect winter comfort food and not just because you could cuddle that hot bowl on a long, cold November evening.
This cafe/grocery store is actually down the street from my beloved vintage movie theater! Wouldn’t bibimbap and a cheap movie make for the perfect winter date night?
What interesting foods are on your must-try list? Let me know of any other interesting, vegetarian-friendly dishes I should try!
P.P.S. Thanks to my friends Emily and Jess for bibimbapping with me!

15 Comments

Manisha

I love dolsot bibimbap! I haven't had it in that restaurant/grocery store you mentioned but it's not too far from my house and I know of it. And many people talk about the amazing food there so I'll guess I'll have to go soon!

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Cindy

Bibimbap is amazing! The crunchy golden crust on the rice is one of the best parts.

As for interesting vegetarian dishes, I'd rec falafel, anything Moroccan (couscous + tagine = LOVE), and tofu banh mi. And if you can find a good Ethiopian place, definitely go! The cuisine is largely vegetarian, and it's super fun because you actually eat everything with your hands. 🙂

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Vanessa @ Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts

I love bibimbap! The way Koreans make it at home is throwing together all the bits of leftovers on top of rice. I also love galbi aka beef short ribs. So juicy and tender. And mandu and japchae and Jajangmyeon and their fried chicken and well…I just love Korean food!

If you want to learn how to cook Korean food at home Maangchi is awesome. She's so cute and makes things very easy. http://www.maangchi.com/

Also, I highly recommend Hoban out on Silver Bell Road near the new outlet. Just don't go on a Sunday after church because it's crazy crowded.

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Lindsay Eryn

Dolsot (stone bowl) bibimbap is one of my favorites!! I lived in Korea for 16 months after college, and I would eat this stuff so often. It became my comfort food, and I always ate until my stomach was way too full. I'm thinking I'm going to have to put a stone bowl or two on my Christmas list!

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Erika

I love bibimbap! I only discovered it a few years ago when I found an amazing hole-in-the-wall Korean restaurant near my apartment. But it's seriously the best!!

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Vanessa

Oh my gosh, this looks amazing. I've never even heard of bibimbap before, but you can bet that I'll be searching for some the next time I go to the city.
Like you, most of my favourite places are hidden out of the way. I lived in Melbourne for years, and all the best stuff there is squirreled down alley ways or hidden on top floors of un-appealing buildings. You just have to look closely to find the treasures in that city.

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