A few months ago, I had the amazing opportunity to publish my first piece (ever) in food writing. I have been a fan of Food52 for a while so I was thrilled to contribute a recipe that is so dear to my heart. As spring season is in full swing, this dish is perfect for your next weekday dinner at home, outdoor picnic, or your next simple gathering. We just love it so much!
Here is an excerpt. You can find the full article here.
photo by Bobbi Lin at FOOD52
My memories of bibim-guksu go back to any day of my childhood when I can picture my mom opening the refrigerator and realizing she hasn’t gone grocery shopping for several days. All that’s left is an array of half-eaten banchan (side dishes)—not enough to serve alone, but wasteful to toss. Luckily, bibim-guksu, or bibimbap, is the perfect meal when all you have is leftovers.
Most Korean foods are built on intuition and taste, rather than step-by-step instructions. Case and point: My mom could tell me about her delicious kimchi-jigae (kimchi stew) and the ingredients in it, but could never tell me how much kimchi, tofu, and red pepper paste made up its parts. Following her example, I will tell you that bibim-guksu is a traditional Korean cold noodle dish mixed with vegetables; forget measurements. It’s a dish that is easy to prepare and can be enjoyed for both lunch or dinner.
In Korean, guksu means noodles, bap means rice, and bibimmeans “to mix together.” Bibimbap consists of rice, Korean-barbecued meat, and vegetables. Bibim-guksu is very similar, but instead of rice, you use rice noodles or buckwheat noodles, and it is typically eaten without meat. (If adding, I recommend kalbi, thinly-sliced beef short rib.) The main difference is that bibimbap is meant to be eaten hot, while bibim-guksu is served chilled. I personally love both, but for the warmer months, bibim-guksu is perfect for experimentation with spring and summer vegetables. It can be spicy (or not), vegetarian (or not), but always salty and refreshing.
What makes this dish incredible is that it tastes well-planned out, but all you really have to do is mix noodles or rice with Korean Red Pepper Paste or soy sauce (staple sauces in a Korean kitchen), and throw in whatever vegetables you have available. Versatility makes these dishes supremely popular in Korean cuisine, for cooks and diners.
Spicy. Salty. Savory. Fermented-goodness. All in one bite. All in one bowl. This is Korean food—and it’s been hiding in your refrigerator all along! Here’s how to bring all this out of hiding, onto plates, and, ideally, to a table outdoors, under the warm sun.