Bop bop bop, bop to the top… OR maybe bop your way on over to some Korean food!
It case you missed the High School Musical reference please return to 2006 and enjoy this classic. Now the point of this post isn’t to get old Disney songs stuck in your head, it’s to discuss something very important: the deliciously filling cuisine that is Korean food. I’m talking Bibim Bap and Korean BBQ.
First, I’ll discuss traditional Korean BBQ which I had the pleasure of trying at Namu in Colonie. While this wasn’t exactly my first venture into Korean cuisine, it was my first time officially trying the barbecue.
At Namu all of the tables have grills in the center where your food is cooked right in front of you. Think Hibachi without being awkwardly seated with other parties. I ordered the Bulgogi Korean BBQ dish which includes thinly sliced beef with a traditional Korean barbecue marinade. The dish itself was quite expensive, cashing in at $27. It likely could be enough for two people, but only if you ordered an additional appetizer aside from the traditional Banchan that is served.
Banchan is the small dishes that are served with your meal, usually including things like kimchi, an assortment of pickled vegetables, bean sprouts, sometimes fish, and rice. Unsure of what most of these things are, I am always hesitant to try them all. However I make it a personal goal to always push myself to try at least one unfamiliar dish.
Back to the BBQ. The meat was cooked at the table and when ready to eat it was served with large pieces of iceberg lettuce and a flavorful sauce meant to be eaten like a bulgogi taco. Although expensive on a smaller scale, with just two people dining, I think Korean BBQ would be ideal for groups around 4-6 in size, where the cost could be shared and the meals can be split.
While not traditionally barbecue, Bibim Bap is one of my favorite Korean Dishes of all time (and the meal that inspired the first line of this post). Bibim Bap is on the most basic level a rice bowl. But it is way, way, way more than just a rice bowl.
The version of Bibim Bap I’ve had specifically is called Dol Sot Bibim Bap which means that it’s served in a stone bowl that is so hot it continues to cook the contents while on the table. The dish itself is typically white rice, a choice of meat like beef or chicken, vegetables like cucumber, carrots, and soybean sprouts, all topped off with a fried egg. The dish is so piping hot when served that you stir it immediately and the egg will continue cooking within the dish.
If you like things spicy you can add Sriracha and other spices to the dish, although it’s already plenty flavorful. Additionally, if you’re only kind of hungry, I wouldn’t recommend this meal, as it’s extremely filling and extremely tasty so you’re going to want to eat the whole thing.
If you’re looking for Korean food around the Capital Region check out Namu in Colonie for traditional barbecue dishes and Seoul Korean Restaurant in Latham for Bibim Bap.
Do you know of any other Korean restaurants in the area? Let me know in the comments!
As always, see you on Instagram 🙂
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