Origin - Korea
Bibimbap, which literally means “mixed rice with meat and assorted vegetables”, is served as a warm bowl of rice topped with namul (sautéed seasoned vegetables), gochujang (chili pepper paste), raw or fried egg, and slices of marinated beef. Typical vegetables used in bibimbap includes carrots, cucumber, spinach, bean sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, and bracken fern. The hot dish is stirred thoroughly together prior to eating. Korean barbecue may be a favorite in the US right now, but bibimbap sure has the flavors and variety to easily be the next popular Korean dish.
[ Fun Fact ]The specifics of bibimbap depends on each region in Korea. There is a certain popular version called Dolsot in which bibimbap is cooked in a hot stone bowl. The rice crisps at the bottom of the bowl which gives a nice crunchy texture.
[ History ]
Bibimbap was traditionally eaten on the eve of Lunar New Year to use all the left over side dishes before the new year. The solution to this problem was to put all the leftovers in a bowl of rice and to mix them together. Since the late 20th century, bibimbap has spread across countries worldwide, due to its convenience of preparation and the multiple textures and flavors that the dish holds.
In South Korea, Jeonju, Jinju, and Tongyeong are especially famous for their bibimbap because in 2011, it was listed as number 40 on the World’s 50 most delicious foods readers’ poll compiled by CNN Travel.