Category Archives: Korean food

Korean food Restaurants

Dolsot Bibimbap – better than the sum of its parts

Korean Mixed Rice in a Hot Stone Bowl

Sometimes, you just feel like savouring a big bowl of something warm, spicy, creamy, and deliciously chewy. It’s like comfort food, with more kick. Dolsot Bibimbap is one of the tastiest dishes in Korean cuisine, and one of the most well known. If fact, when we were in Korea, my sister and I specifically tracked down a restaurant famous for this dish (and let me say, it didn’t dissappoint!:)

When the craving hits in Toronto, we often go to Korean Village Han Kuk Kwan (628 Bloor W). After some yummy side dishes, and a bowl of miso soup, the bibimbap arrives at the table sizzling, aromatic, and prettily presented – a feast for the eyes, nose, and ears. A hot stone bowl, lightly greased with sesame oil, holds warm rice topped with an array of seasoned vegetables and meat – slivers of zucchini, carrots, daikon, and shitake mushrooms, and tangles of bean sprouts and spinach, with tender stirfried beef. Balanced on top is a fried egg, sunny-side-up, garnished with sesame seeds and a few straws of nori (seaweed). All of this is accompanied with a side of red chili sauce.

Bibimbap is meant to be mixed, so it is inevitable that this prettily displayed dish ends up as a homogenous mass. Yet, it somehow tastes best this way – the rice develops a crispy stickiness, the egg melts and disappears, and everything merges together into something indescribably delicious.

Mixing a bowl of bibimbap can be quite an art… a steady, constant motion is required to ensure that each grain of rice gets enough contact with the hot stone, while at the same time ensuring that nothing rests in place too long to burn or stick. I like to start with a squirt of red chili paste, then using the spoon, I roughly chop up the egg making sure that the egg yolk breaks. Then I start scooping down the side, along the bottom, and up the middle – turning the rice and everything on top at once. Once in while, I use the back of the spoon to pat down the mixture, ensuring contact with the stone, and an even distribution of all the ingredients. Not sure if this is the way it’s supposed to be done, but i’m always happy with the result.