Kimbap: Don't Call It Maki

Jan 16, 2012 11:31 am

Korean sushi rolls don't take kindly to spicy tuna

kimbap
Photo: manda_wong on Flickr
Kimbap is not actually a song by Korean Hanson.
 

Here are some great things about Food Republic Headquarters' prime location, Koreatown-adjascent: 

  • At least 6 kinds of ethnic Asian cuisine to choose from come lunchtime
  • A Korean Citibank, should you need one
  • H-Mart, Asian supermarket of a lifetime and supplier of pre-marinated bulgogi
  • Occasional wafts of warm garbage and kimchi-scented city air (okay that's more of a general characteristic) 
  • Karaoke
  • The kimbap place

Kimbap is Korea's answer to Japanese maki rolls. Most similar to futomaki, a wide roll filled with egg, pickled vegetables and cooked fish, kimbap is a popular street food option throughout the Korea. Its different taste, texture and lack of ceremony (it's rarely if ever served with the ubiquitous pile of pickled ginger and dab of wasabi) set it apart from its Japanese cousin.

As far as spicy tuna is concerned, break out the Starkist and sriracha, cause apparently the world's supply of fresh tuna trimmings is reserved for "American spicy tuna rolls," which happen to be the only spicy tuna rolls in existence. You know, the ones that come in the black plastic tray at the supermarket/drug store/gas station? Japan would never use the primo flesh from their $70,000 bluefins for such bastardization. In any case, spicy tuna kimbap involves cooked fish. Isn't Asia just the wackiest?

Back when our Instagram feed was a young'un (so, like, a month ago), Matt Rodbard snapped this attractive shot of his respectable Woorijip haul. I've been scoping out the K-town kimbap scene ever since, and my favorite rolls involve the tender marinated bellies of pig, ribeyes of beef and shortribs of both that comprise the #1 reason Food Republic's location rocks.

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