Bibimbap (비빔밥, Korean pronunciation: [bibimbap], sometimes anglicized bi bim bap or bi bim bop) is a signature Korean dish. The word literally means "mixed rice". Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste), soy sauce, or doenjang, a salty soybean paste. A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The hot dish is stirred together thoroughly just before eating.
In South Korea, Jeonju, Jinju, and Tongyeong are especially famous for their versions of bibimbap. In 2011, it was listed at number 40 on the World's 50 most delicious foods readers' poll compiled by CNN Travel.
The name Bibimbap was adopted in the early 20th century. From the Joseon Period (1392–16th century) until the 20th century, Bibimbap was called Goldongban, which means rice made by mixing various types of food. This dish was traditionally eaten on the eve of the lunar new year as the people at that time felt that they had to get rid of all of the leftover side dishes before the new year. The solution to this problem was to put all of the leftovers in a bowl of rice and to mix them together.  Bibimbap, known as Goldongban at that time, was served to the king usually as a lunch or an in between meals snack.
Bibimbap is first mentioned in the Siuijeonseo, an anonymous cookbook from the late 19th century. There its name is given as 부븸밥 (bubuimbap). Some scholars assert that bibimbap originates from the traditional practice of mixing all the food offerings made at an ancestral rite (jesa) in a bowl before partaking in it.
Since the late 20th century, bibimbap has become widespread in different countries, due to its convenience of preparation. It is also served on many airlines connecting to South Korea.
Vegetables commonly used in bibimbap include julienned cucumber, zucchini (courgette), mu (daikon), mushrooms, doraji (bellflower root), and gim, as well as spinach, soybean sprouts, and gosari (bracken fern stems). Dubu (tofu), either plain or sautéed, or a leaf of lettuce may be added, or chicken or seafood may be substituted for beef. For visual appeal, the vegetables are often placed so adjacent colors complement each other.
A variation of this dish, dolsot bibimbap (돌솥 비빔밥, dolsot meaning "stone pot"), is served in a very hot stone bowl in which a raw egg is cooked against the sides of the bowl. The bowl is so hot that anything that touches it sizzles for minutes. Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil, making the layer of the rice touching the bowl golden brown and crisp.
The city of Jeonju, the capital of the North Jeolla Province of South Korea, is famous throughout the nation for its version of bibimbap, said to be based on a royal court dish of the Joseon Dynasty.
A further variation of bibimbap, called hoedeopbap, uses a variety of raw seafood, such as tilapia, salmon, tuna or sometimes octopus, but each bowl of rice usually contains only one variety of seafood. The term hoe in the word means raw fish. The dish is popular along the coasts of Korea where fish are abundant.
On top of that, there are numerous kinds of bibimbap, such as sprout bibimbap, wild herb bibimbap, and a large bass bowl bibimbap.
Bibimbap ingredients are rich in symbolism. Black or dark colours represent North and the kidneys – for instance, shiitake mushrooms, bracken ferns or nori seaweed. Red or orange represents South and the heart, with chilli, carrots and jujube dates. Green represents East and the liver, with cucumber and spinach. White is West or the lungs, with foods such as bean sprouts, radish, and rice. And finally yellow represents the centre, or stomach. Foods include pumpkin, potato or egg.
Many efforts have been made to globalize Korean traditional food, Bibimbap. Bibimbap industry is taking advantage of the fusion two features in order to globalize bibimbap: standardization and individuality. Bibimbap can be made out of ingredients that are standardized, such as vegetables and gochujang (red pepper paste) and it can be modified according to one’s own taste by adding and subtracting ingredients in accordance with one’s individuality. Bibimbap is gathering attention from numerous countries since it is different from foods from other countries in an aspect that various ingredients are put into one dish. Korea can make its international competitiveness of food industry utilizing Bibimbap. A private organization named ‘Bibimbap wandering team’ has been making a great effort to globalize not only Bibimbap but also other Korean traditional foods. CJ CheilJedang is keep sponsoring projects of ‘Bibimbap wandering team’. ‘Bibimbap wandering team’ is holding free sampling events named ‘Korean foods Day’ in numerous places, for instance, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oxford. It was reported that the result of the free sampling events has been successful. People from other countries pointed out the balanced flavor of Bibimbap to be the most positive side of Bibimbap. The Company CJ also set up restaurants all over the world called Bibigo to help spread bibimbap. They provide different types of bibimbap to suit the taste of the native people of the country they are in. So far there are stores open in China, Indonesia, Japan, Singapre and the United Kingdom
All the components of the Bibimbap are helpful to one's health and can even help with dieting. Since the bibimbap can be changed in any way, replacing some ingredients can make the dish healthier and can reduce the total amount of calories. For an example, one can replace white rice with brown rice which not only has lower calories but is also healthier. Also meat can be removed therefore lowering the calories. The eater does not have to worry about protein intake as other ingredients are high in proteins. Some of the ingredients in Bibimbap also have health benefits. Soybeans contain as much protein as meat, and are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Spinach contains antioxidants and magnesium, and Kosari (fernbrake) is rich in Vitamins A and C and Omega 3 fatty acids. These are only a couple of the health benefits for some of the ingredients of Bibimbap.
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- Bibimbap – Official Seoul City Tourism
- Bibimbap – Official Korea Tourism Organization
- How to cook Bibimbap Youtube
- http://folkency.nfm.go.kr/sesi/dicParser.jsp?DIC_ID=2233&xslUrl=dicPrint_Pop.jsp&printYN=Y (Korean)