Recently, I have learned about the existence of kimbap and am dying to try it, but still have yet to do so. However, the one thought that keeps popping up in my mind is: “kimbap vs. sushi.” What is kimbap and how is it similar/not similar to sushi?
Consumed with the thought, I typed exactly that into Google. An interesting article that came up was a Vancouver review of a local Korean restaurant that sells kimbap and why newbies/neophytes/virgins/greenhorns should try the food. Comparisons to sushi inevitably came up. Read the article here: http://www.straight.com/article-94158/korean-kimbap-rolls-out-of-sushis-shadow.
Looking at Wikipedia and the description in the article, kimbap seems to be an amalgamation of Americanized ingredients packed into a seaweed-layered rice roll, quite different from its sushi counterpart. Bigger and covering the basic food groups, kimbap is a lot like the American-invented California roll except with more familiar ingredients like eggs, spam, cucumbers and cheddar vs. the usual nigiri pieces and maki rolls made of only raw fish in sushi. The fact that kimbap avoids raw fish, one of my big issues with eating sushi, removes that problem and can be more filling for a cheaper price. Kimbap is usually bigger than sushi due to the amount of ingredients that seem to be in it. It also does not use as fancy ingredients. Granted, you don’t get the fancy fish or the pure taste of the ingredients, but it is made for a different culture and probably with different requirements. Japan is an island surrounded by fish; Korea is a country still putting itself back together from war and economic crises. The resulting foods and similar style can be due to the backgrounds of these two countries.
Both kimbap and sushi are considered a kind of “fast food” for meals. They are both relatively quick to make and easy to eat as they are cut into bite-sized pieces beforehand. Kimbap’s history actually stems from Japan and sushi, being kind of like the Korean version of sushi. However, it has far progressed into its own type of food and though the origins and characteristics may be similar, it is distinctly not sushi.
There also seems to be a different approach to making kimbap vs. sushi. When one thinks of sushi, it is usually a lone activity or a one main sushi roller with assistants around fanning rice and whatnot. When one makes kimbap, however, it is much more enjoyable as a social activity. It is often made for social events or just a nice lunch and is great to do as a group or just hanging out with people while making it.
All in all, I didn’t even try sushi until high school and was surprised to find myself liking it, raw sushi or not. Today, I still try to go for the sushi with cooked seafood, but I will occasionally indulge in a raw salmon roll. Now, I’m ready to add to my food range, kimbap, and try out a whole new culture of foods. What are your thoughts on kimbap?
P.S. Sorry, no pictures since I still haven’t really seen much kimbap. Please look online and you can see a lot of different varieties of kimbap and observe how different it looks.
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