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Vegetable gimbap.jpg
sliced vegetable gimbap
Place of origin Korea
Main ingredients Gim, bap
Variations Chungmu-gimbap, samgak-gimbap
Cookbook: Gimbap  Media: Gimbap
Korean name
Hangul 김밥
Revised Romanization gimbap
McCune–Reischauer kimbap
IPA [kim.bap̚]~[kim.p͈ap̚]

Gimbap[1] (김밥) is a Korean dish made from cooked rice and various other ingredients rolled in gim (dried sheets of laver seaweed) and served in bite bite-size slices. Gimbap is often eaten during picnics or outdoor events, or as a light lunch, served with danmuji and kimchi. It is also a popular take-out food in Korea and abroad.[2]


The word gim () refers to edible seaweed in the genus Porphyra. The word bap () refers to "cooked grains", without qualifiers usually "cooked rice".

The word gimbap isn't found in Korean language until the modern era, as cooked rice rolled in gim was called bokssam (복쌈; 福-) in the Joseon era (1392–1897).[3][4]

Although the word gimbap is found in a newspaper article from 1935,[5] the loan word norimaki, borrowed from Japanese during the Japanese forced occupation (1910-1945), was used along with gimbap until gimbap was made the universal term, as part of efforts to clear away the remnants of Japanese colonialism and to purify the Korean language.[6]


Books from 15th century, such as Gyeongsang-do Jiriji and Sinjeung Dongguk Yeoji Seungnam, report the production of gim (dried sheets of laver seaweed) in Gyeongsang and Jeolla Provinces.[7][8] Eating cooked rice rolled in gim is also a custom of long standing in Korea. Yeoryang Sesigi, a Joseon book from 1819, describes the dish using the word bokssam (복쌈; transcribe using hanja bakjeom 縛占).[3][4]

However, there are two different and conflicting versions of the origin of modern form of gimbap. Some sources say it was derived from norimaki, a Japanese sushi variant, introduced to Korea during the Japanese forced occupation (1910-1945).[9][10] Other sources say the food was developed from the local tradition of rolling bap (cooked rice) and banchan (side dishes) in gim.[4][11]

Nowadays, gimbap and norimaki are treated as distinct dishes in both Japan and Korea: the former called kinpapu (キンパプ) in Japanese and the latter called gimchobap (김초밥; "gim sushi") or norimaki (노리마키) in Korean. Gimbap usually contains more ingredients and is seasoned with sesame oil, while norimaki is rolled with less ingredients and is seasoned with rice vinegar.[12][13]


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.[14]

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 daikon). After the gimbap has been rolled and sliced, it is typically served with danmuji.



Gimbap on the street in Seoul
Gimbap on the street in Seoul
Samgak kimbap, home-made. The special packaging can be purchased for making take-away style samgak kimbap at home

Short grain white rice is usually used, although short-grain brown rice, like olive oil on gim, is now becoming more widespread among the health-conscious. Rarely, sweet rice is mixed in gimbap rice.

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.[15]

Samgak gimbap (삼각김밥), similar to Japanese onigiri, is a triangle-shaped gimbap sold in many convenience stores in South Korea. It comes in a large variety of types.[16]

Chungmu gimbap (충무김밥) is a type of 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 octopus marinated and fermented in a spicy red pepper sauce, and radish kimchi (무김치).[17]

Chamchi gimbap (참치김밥) is another commonly found gimbap. It is usually filled with tuna, marinated perilla leaf, and mayonnaise, as well as other ingredients.

Mayak gimbap (마약김밥) is a specialty of Gwangjang Market in Seoul. Mayak translates as "drug", and its name reflects its allegedly addictive flavour that is distinct from other gimbap because of its pairing with a sauce made from soy sauce and mustard.

Restaurant franchises[edit]

Kimbap Heaven in South Korea

Many South Korean fast food restaurant franchises specialize in gimbap and noodles. Among the chains are 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.[18] Recently there are high-quality gimbap franchises like Kim Sunsang Gimbap (김선생 김밥) and Go bong min Gimbap (고봉민 김밥) in Korea.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Korean) "주요 한식명(200개) 로마자 표기 및 번역(영, 중, 일) 표준안" [Standardized Romanizations and Translations (English, Chinese, and Japanese) of (200) Major Korean Dishes] (PDF). National Institute of Korean Language. 2014-07-30. Retrieved 2017-02-15. Lay summary. 
  2. ^ Alexander, Stian (2016-01-21). "UK's new favourite takeaway has been revealed - and it's not what you'd think". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2017-02-26. 
  3. ^ a b (Korean) Kim, Maesun (1819). Yeoryang Sesigi 洌陽歲時記 [Records of Seasonal Festivities around the Capital]. 
  4. ^ a b c (Korean) 박, 정배 (2016-10-12). "1819년엔 '福쌈'이라 불려… 이젠 프리미엄 김밥도". The Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 2017-02-26. 
  5. ^ (Korean) "휴지통". The Dong-a Ilbo. 1935-01-14. Retrieved 2017-02-26 – via Naver. 문어 점복에 김밥을 싸먹고 목욕한후 바위등에 누으면 얼화만수—— 
  6. ^ (Korean) "Refined word: 노리마키(海苔卷)". National Institute of Korean Language. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 국어순화자료 제1집(1977)-김밥 (×: 순화한 용어만 쓸 것)
    국어순화자료(1983)-문교부, 학교 교육용 (× : 순화한 용어만 쓸 것)
    국어순화자료집1992 - 김밥 (×: 순화한 용어만 쓸 것)
    국어순화용어자료집(1997), 식생활 용어 - 김밥 (×: 순화한 용어만 쓸 것)
    국어순화용어자료집(1997), 일본어투 생활 용어 - 김밥 (×: 순화한 용어만 쓸 것)
  7. ^ (Korean) Ha, Yeon; Geum, Yu; Gim, Bin (1425). Gyeongsang-do Jiriji 慶尙道地理志 [Geography of Gyeongsang Province]. 
  8. ^ (Korean) Yi, Haeng (1530) [1481]. Sinjeung Dongguk Yeoji Seungnam 東國輿地勝覽 [Revised and Augmented Survey of the Geography of Korea]. 
  9. ^ Levinson, David; Christensen, Karen, eds. (2002). Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. 2. Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 203. ISBN 9780684312439. 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. 
  10. ^ (Korean) The National Academy of the Korean Language, ed. (2002). 우리 문화 길라잡이. Seoul: Hakgojae. ISBN 9788985846974. 일본 음식인 김초밥에서 유래한 것으로 한국인들은 근대 이후 부터 만들어 먹었다. 
  11. ^ (Korean) 김, 춘련 (2015-08-18). "김밥". Encyclopedia of Korean Culture. Retrieved 2017-02-26. 
  12. ^ (Japanese)日清フーズ株式会社 フードジャーナリスト 平松洋子「日本から韓国へ伝わった食べ物
  13. ^ (Japanese) 日本の太巻きが由来で、近代以降に韓国でも食べられるようになりました。2005年5月13日 西日本新聞
  14. ^ Goldberg, Lina "Asia's 10 greatest street food cities" Archived March 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. CNN Go. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-11
  15. ^ (Korean) Gimbap at Doosan Encyclopedia
  16. ^ (Korean) Popularity of samgak gimbap, The Financial News, 2008-11-24. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  17. ^ (Korean) Chungmu gimbap at Doosan Encyclopedia
  18. ^ (Korean) Gimbap franchises popular, Edaily EFN, 2008-09-04. Retrieved 2010-06-25.

External links[edit]