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Kimbap – A Korean Staple
Jan 22, 2019

Throughout South Korea, there are many staple dishes that offer an array of flavor and color. Chief among them, perhaps, is the distant cousin to the sushi roll, the kimbap (김밥) roll. Unlike the sushi roll, which is normally paired with soy sauce and wasabi, the kimbap roll requires no dipping companion and stands on its own in terms of flavors and textures. Although there are many variants when it comes to the type of roll, kimbap rolls generally possess a few consistent ingredients, which include seaweed sheets, rice, sesame leaves, yellow pickled radish, burdock root, sesame oil, egg, and carrots. Building upon these basic ingredients, kimbap rolls can have additional flavors to give each a unique taste. There is, for example, Tuna Kimbap, Beef Kimbap, Cheese Kimbap, Chicken Cutlet Kimbap, Kimchi Kimbap, and so forth. Each is delicious and different in their own right, so make sure you try various kinds when sampling.

Given this background and context, I wanted to provide some information relating to a place where you could purchase incredibly delicious kimbap rolls in the Cheonan area. Although there are many regardless of where you travel in South Korea, one common franchise is G0bongmin Kimbap (고봉민김밥). The franchise has placed many stores throughout Cheonan but the specific one referenced in this article is located in Buldangdong near the Galleria Department Store.

Address and Location

충남 천안시 서북구 불당19로 200 호반베르디움1차 단지내 상가 112호 (우)31156

Choongnam Cheonan-si Seokbuk-gu Buldang 19-lo 200 Hoban Veritium 1-cha Danjinae Sang-ga 31156

Pricing

This particular franchise runs on the pricier side but it’s well worth it. The portion sizes are quite generous and the ingredients are topnotch, so it makes sense why they charge a bit more than other locations. An average roll is about 3,000-3,5000 won.

Transportation

Car: If you plan on driving, note that street parking, although available, has a time limit on it. As such, I would advise (1) looking for another location within walking distance; or (2) take a taxi.

Subway: The closest subway stop is Asan-아산, which also serves as a KTX and SRT station. If you choose to walk from the station to the location, it’ll take you ~20 minutes.

Author’s Choice

Dduck-galbi (떡갈비) is a type of cooked meat and my absolute favorite. The crispiness of the meat combined with the other ingredients hits the spot every time. This franchise marinates or cooks their meat in a sauce that’s almost sweet, so it adds a nice flavor to the overall combination of vegetables and seaweed.

Cham-chi (참치) is the Korean word for “tuna.” Within this kimbap roll, they add a healthy serving of tuna salad, which is quite delicious and flavorful. If you’re accustomed to  a mayo-based tuna salad, as common in the U.S., then you’ll be satisfied with the taste.

Cheese (치즈) is exactly as it sounds. Imagine a slice of American-styled cheese added into the mix. It might sound a bit unorthodox but it’s actually really quite delicious. Definitely worth a try.

Dongga-seu (돈까스) means “chicken cutlet.” Imagine a thin strip of deep fried chicken that has just enough crunch and punch. That’s chicken cutlet. With this, they add it in just like the dduk-galbi, and it does not disappoint.

Even though they are delicious on their own, kimbap rolls, in my humble opinion, always taste better when eaten with a hot bowl of ramen or tteok-bokki (떡볶이). I personally prefer tteok-bokki over ramen but it’s completely your call. If you do try the tteok-bokki, a word of note: it’s a bit spicy, so proceed with caution. Amazingly delicious, yes, but spicy all the same. I would suggest first dipping a piece of your kimbap roll into the sauce and trying the level of spiciness from there. That’ll provide you with a baseline for the spice, so you’ll know how to pace yourself. Regardless, though, if you pick the ramen or tteok-bokki, either is a great companion for a kimbap roll. Another suggestion to consider is letting your ramen or tteok-bokki sit for a minute or two after it’s been served. This gives time for the noodles to soak in the juice and provide an even deeper level of flavor when eaten. If you try this, be warned that the noodles soak the juice quickly, so if you wait too long they’ll become puffy and floury, which isn’t ideal. The franchise’s portions do run on the larger side, as mentioned before, so go on an empty stomach.

Recipe

For the more adventurous among us, I wanted to share a basic kimbap roll recipe with you. Having made it several times myself, I can attest to the rather simple nature of it. It does take some time and adjustment but once you become familiar with the procedures, it’ll be quite easy to complete. Just follow this recipe, which combines the basic ingredients with marinated beef, and you’ll be set. If you want to create different flavors,  include other elements in addition to the basic ingredients, such as cheese, tuna, and chicken cutlet.

How to get there?