Bi, bim, what?


photo via under Creative Commons license

A traditional Korean dish known as bibimbap.

Bibimbap, which means “mixed rice”, is a signature Korean dish that usually consists of white rice, bean sprouts and beef bulgogi (another Korean dish made of thinly sliced beef that is marinated and barbecued). Although the traditional composition of bibimbap still remains, restaurants are starting to give their customers more freedom by letting them create their own bibimbap.

One example of this is shown in Bibigo, a restaurant dedicated to serving modern Korean food for 60 years. It has a number of facilities in a countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Korea. When Bibigo opened in the Glendale Galleria on Nov. 30, I had a feeling that trying bibimbap for the first time was going to be a worthwhile experience.

My mom, who was already familiar with this, went with me a few weeks after the grand opening of the restaurant. We decided to share one order, and she let me decide what I wanted on the dish. Creating the dish was first, then paying came afterwards.

First part was choosing between the hot stone and the cold bowl. My mom recommended that I order the hot stone since it has become more popular than the latter. Next was choosing the base: white rice, brown rice, noodles, or kimchi rice (which is spicier than the rest). I chose noodles because that has always been my favorite food.

Following that was selecting the vegetables: plain salad, mixed beans, carrots and beets, bean sprouts, pickled Asian slaw (pickled vegetables drenched in rice vinegar) kale or kimchi (a spicy Korean appetizer). I ended up taking the mixed beans and the pickled Asian slaw. After that was choosing the meat: bulgogi beef, garlic chicken, spicy pork, meatball, grilled vegetables or tofu. I chose bulgogi beef for its tender texture and savory flavor.

Up next was choosing the sauce: spicy and rich kohot, sweet and nutty sesame, or light and tangy citron soy. I’m not very fond of spicy or tangy sauces, so I went with the sesame.

Finally, I decided to add a sunny-side-up egg on top just for a dollar more. Red chicken and chicken wonton were offered as additional sides; in turn, I had to go with the delicious and crunchy chicken wontons.

Our meal ended up being almost $11, yet the nice woman at the cash register gave us a free giveaway which included a plastic water bottle along with a cute bag to encase it in.

As I took my first bite, my eyes widened and my tastebuds came back to life. I couldn’t believe the deliciousness of the meal and how all of its components blended together. The hot stone was a good choice, while the mixed beans and the pickled Asian slaw balanced with the bulgogi beef and sesame sauce. The chicken wontons were even better with their juiciness and crunchy texture. With great customer service and flavorful food, Bibigo provides the best bibimbap experience for first-timers.


Contact details:

Address: 100 W. Broadway, Glendale, CA 91210

Phone: (818) 246-6737

Hours: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.