Snack all over the place: Kimbap / Gimbap 김밥

Kimbap with vegetarian filling: omelette, cream cheese, candied nuts, cucumber, carrot, thistle root (u-eong 우엉), pickled radish.

Everyone knows Japanese sushi, right?
🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🍣🇯🇵 (寿司 / すし)

But did you know about the Korean equivalent Kimbap (also spelled Gimbap 김밥)?

It’s basically rice (bap 밥) rolled up in a sheet of seaweed (gim 김), quite similar to the Japanese makizushi (巻き寿司). Only it has WAY MORE fillings!!!🤩 💕

Another difference is, that you don’t need to dip the pieces into a sauce, because the fillings are already seasoned. 

In Korea, Kimbap is consumed as a snack, small meal or as a starter. It can be found sold on the streets or in small restaurants (bunsikjeom 분식점). In those restaurants, you can normally choose among various types of fillings – ranging from kimchi to fried pork cutlet or 🥩beef plus the standard vegetables!

The basic filling usually includes 🥕carrot, 🥬spinach, pickled radish, 🥒cucumber, 🥚egg, 🥓ham (haem 햄), 🐟fishcake (odeng 오뎅) and 🦀crab meat (gematsal 게맛살).
It is easy to customize your Kimbap order, when it is made on location. According to your preferences, you can ask for specific ingredients to be put into your roll of Kimbap. Here are some ideas for doing so:

  • 🥕 “김밥에 야채만 넣어주세요.” Please put only vegetables into my Kimbap. 🥒
  • 🥚 “김밥에 야채하고 계란만 넣어주세요.” Please put only vegetables and egg into my Kimbap.🍳
  • 🥓 “햄 빼고 김밥 만들어주세요.” Please make my Kimbap without ham. 🐷
  • 🐟 “오뎅이나 게맛살 빼고 김밥 만들어주세요.” Please make my Kimbap without fishcake or crab meat. 🦀

Whether you get it on the street or in a restaurant, Kimbap is always available to-go, simply wrapped into aluminum foil. It is an abundant, nutritious, basic food just like the sandwich in the Western world. An ideal meal when in a rush 🚴‍♂, outdoors 🧗‍♂ or on a picnic ⛱! You can eat even it with your fingers 👌 when chopsticks 🥢 are not available. There’s also no need to carry sauce in an extra container. In other words, it is the top take-away meal! 🥡
In this regard, it has a completely different standing if you think about the fancy way in which Japanese sushi is served in the Western world!

7 thoughts on “Snack all over the place: Kimbap / Gimbap 김밥

Add yours

  1. When I first came to Korea, 20+ years ago, this was my go-to. I couldn’t speak the language, but I could point to what I wanted! It’s also one of the most fun Korean foods to make, and you can experiment with anything you like!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I imagine, it really must have been hard to find food in Korea at the time! 0_0 I used to eat Bibimbab 비빔밥 everyday at the beginning and was so happy whenever I discovered a new veggie-friendly dish…


  2. I ate it at least once a day– but only at a few restaurants near my job (Sejong University, at the time) where I had Korean friends explain my diet and I knew it was “safe”! I like the honesty and caveats in your blog! Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

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