Today we are bibimbap-ing. Here’s a linkThis should help you to pronounce it correctly. It sounds like it starts with “p” and that the middle syllable of the word is stressed.
Bibimbap, a Korean term that simply means “mixed meals”, is called Bibimbap. We have rice, some Korean barbeque-like meat, carrot-like vegetables and an egg-like substance. This recreates a trip to a Korean BBQ house in a way that is authentic. The items you recognize will be familiar to you. However, unless you are dining with a Korean speaker, it’s impossible to identify the rest. It’s easy to just stick stuff in your mouth and hope for the best. It’s fun. It’s fun until you take a bite of something bad. Then you can always go back and eat the meats. My opinion is that Korean barbecue meats are very delicious.
This meal was not a kimchi-based dish to my delight, but probably to the dismay many others. It’s hard to decide which of these things amazes you more, the fact people enjoy fermented cabbage dishes or the fact there are multiple cultures that came up with the idea. “Hey guys, let us throw this yucky vegetable into a barrel and let them rot for a while to see what happens.” Kimchi is a Korean version of sauerkraut. It’s more spicy than sauerkraut, but not as horrible.
Bibimbap bowl does contain some Korean beef. Absolutely delicious. It is very tender and full of flavor. Unfortunately, there are only a few pieces left. This is actually my biggest complaint. This dish deserves a high score. However, I can’t praise it enough because it lacks its best component.
The second best thing about the bowl? The sauce. It is spicy, red and delicious. To me, it tastes authentically Korean. Although I’ve only tried Korean BBQ a few times, I can recall that the best sauces were very similar to those in Trader Joe’s Bibimbap Bowl.
Although the other ingredients are delicious, especially when they’re coated in the red sauce, they’re not as unique as the beef. These ingredients are all very similar to what I had at a Korean restaurant. I pulled out some leftover chopsticks that we brought from our recent visit. Pei Wei. It made the experience even more Asian.
My score is not too high due to the absence of meat, but that could just be my American obsession with beef. Koreans are not as health-conscious as Americans, and I doubt they eat much beef. However, my experiences at Korean barbecue spots would suggest otherwise. Those restaurants are likely catering to the “Viva America” customer base. However, this dish is not too high for me. My natural instinct is to compare it with other Korean dishes and entrees. It was a completely new concept to me to compare it to any food I’ve had at any other grocery shop. Herein lies the genius of Trader Joe: Many of their foods, including this one, transcend other grocery store offerings.
Let’s give it a 3.5. Sonia was annoyed at the lack of meat but overall she was very impressed. She rates it 4.
Final verdict: 7.5 out 10.