Monday, March 26, 2007

Korean Fast Food

In Korea, there are plenty of places that serve bastardized versions of western food. Avoid these places at all costs. Lotteria serves what looks like hamburgers, but simply is nothing like what is served in America. Many meat products are slathered in bulgogi sauce. These foods remind an American of home in much the same way a fortune cookie reminds a Chinese person of China or "Enchirito" reminds a Mexican of Mexico.

That being said, there isn't a real reason to go these Korean-Western food places because across Korea there are small kimbap restaurants. Kimbap looks like the sushi rolls common in America. In fact, it looks very much like a California roll. They do share common ingredients, but the big difference is that kimbap usually lacks the raw fish.

Instead of the raw fish, kimbap does include the rice and seaweed wrapping along with a pickled sweet radish, ham, and carrots. From there, the options get more complicated. Some include kimchi, egg, and/or spinach.

Kimbap restaurants serve these rolls (usually about $1 a roll) and varieties of soup. The rolls are actually pretty filling. One roll and a bowl of soup is a good meal.

I stumbled upon a blog by a woman passionate about Korean food. "Mary Eats" meticulously picked apart one of these kimbap menus. It serves as an excellent guide for those here wanting to go out, but also for those afar and are curious about the basic Korean restaurant.

Image from Wikipedia

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