Platter of sliced gimbap
Gimbap or kimbap is a popular Korean dish made from steamed white rice (bap) and various other ingredients, rolled in gim (sheets of dried laver seaweed) and served in bite-size slices. Gimbap is often eaten during picnics or outdoor events, or as a light lunch, served with danmuji or kimchi.
Gimbap is derived from Japanese futomaki (Makizushi) during the Japanese rule (1910-1945). but now has certain distinctive elements not found in Japanese-style makizushi. Whereas the essence of Japanese sushi is vinegared rice, gimbap does not use rice vinegar but rather sesame oil.
The literal translation of the word gimbap is seaweed rice. These two things are the most basic components of gimbap. From there, you can find many variations on the filling, including fish, meat, eggs, and vegetables, whether pickled, roasted, or fresh.
Traditionally, the rice is lightly seasoned with salt and sesame oil/perilla oil. Popular protein ingredients are fish cakes, imitation crab meat, eggs and/or seasoned beef rib-eye. Vegetables usually include cucumbers, spinach, carrots and danmuji (pickled radish). After the gimbap has been rolled and sliced, it is typically served with danmuji.
Nowadays, the rice in gimbap can be many kinds of black rice, boiled rice and cereals etc.
Gim is dried, pressed seaweed made from the edible species, laver. Gim may be roasted and seasoned with oil and salt, roasted but unseasoned, or raw and unseasoned. The oil used for roasting gim is traditionally sesame oil; however, today, corn and canola oils are also commonly used, especially with the pre-seasoned packs of gim sold widely in stores. Olive oil is also becoming more prevalent. For gimbap, the roasted, unseasoned variation is typically used.
Besides the common ingredients listed above, some varieties may include cheese, spicy cooked squid, kimchi, luncheon meat, or spicy tuna. The gim may be brushed with sesame oil or sprinkled with sesame seeds. In a variation, sliced pieces of gimbap may be lightly fried with egg coating.
Chungmu gimbap (충무김밥) is a gimbap made with only rice as the filler ingredient. Originating from the seaside city of Chungmu, the rolls are thinner and the surface is usually left unseasoned. Chungmu gimbap is traditionally served with side dishes of kolddugi muchim (꼴뚜기 무침), sliced baby octupus marinated and fermented in a spicy red pepper sauce, and radish kimchi (무김치).
chamchi gimbap (참치김밥) is another commonly found gimbap. It is usually filled with tuna, marinated sesame leaf, mayonnaise as well as other ingredients.
Many South Korean fast food restaurant franchises specialize in gimbap and noodles, and these establishments are extremely diverse in the cuisine they offer. Such chains include Gimgane (김家네), Gimbap Heaven (김밥천국), Gimbap Land (김밥나라), Gimbap and Spaghetti (김밥과 스파게티) and so on. These restaurants serve not only gimbap but also numerous other dishes - typically donkkaseu, ramyeon, udong, naengmyeon, bibimbap, stews (kimchi jjigae, doenjang jjigae, sundubu jjigae), and omurice, among others.
- Kimbap, excerpt from Andrew J. Luxner's American English: A Teachers's Journey in Seoul, South Korea. Golden Hill Books, San Diego. ISBN 0-9760748-1-8
- (Korean) Gimbap at Doosan Encyclopedia
- (Korean) Gimbap at Encyclopedia of Korean Culture
- Levinson, David; Christensen, Karen (2002). Encyclopedia of Modern Asia: China-India relations to Hyogo. Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 0-684-80617-7. "This process was initiated during the Japanese occupation (1910-1945), when Western food and drink, such as bread, confectionery, and beer, became popular in Korean cities, and a Western-style food processing industry in Korea began. Some Japanese food items were also adopted into Korean cuisine at that time, such as tosirak (the assorted lunch box) and sushi rolled in sheets of seaweed, which was popular in Korea under the name of kimbap."
- Brunner, Anne (2011). Algas/ Algae: Sabores Marinos Para Cocinar/ Marine Flavors for Cooking (in Spanish). Editorial HISPANO EUROPEA. ISBN 84-255-1977-2. "En Corea, los gimbaps son derivados de los maki sushis japoneses, pero generalmente están rellenos de arroz con aceite de sésamo y carne. [In Korea, gimbaps are derived from the Japanese maki sushi, but they are usually stuffed with rice with sesame oil and meat.]"
- "김밥" [Gimbap] (in Korean). 한국민족문화대백과[Encyclopedia of Korean National Culture]. "일본음식 김초밥에서 유래된 것으로 [(Gimbap is) derived from Japanese norimaki]"
- 국립국어연구원 [National Institute of Korean languages] (2002). 우리 문화 길라 잡이: 한국인 이 꼭 알아야할 전통 문화 233가지 [Guide To Our Culture: 233 kinds of Korean traditional culture for you to know] (in Korean]). 학고재 [Hakgojae]. p. 479. ISBN 89-85846-97-3. "일본 음식인 김초밥 에서 유래 한 것으로 [(Gimbap is) derived from Japanese norimaki]"
- "Gimbap" (in Korean). Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Korea. "일본음식에서 유래된 것으로 [(Gimbap is)derived from the Japanese food]"
- Goldberg, Lina "Asia's 10 greatest street food cities" CNN Go. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-11
- (Korean) Popularity of samgak gimbap, The Financial News, 2008-11-24. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
- (Korean) Chungmu gimbap at Doosan Encyclopedia
- (Korean) Gimbap franchises popular, Edaily EFN, 2008-09-04. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
See also 
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