Korean Cuisine : Kimbap

Gimbap or kimbap is a popular Korean dishmade 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 takuan or kimchi.

Gimbap is derived from Japanese futomaki (Makizushi) during the Japanese rule (1910-1945).


The most basic component of gimbap is rice. 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.


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 kimbap 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.

Samgak gimbap is a triangle-shaped gimbap sold in many convenience stores in South Korea. Samgak gimbap also come in many varieties.

Chungmu gimbap

Chungmu gimbap  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, sliced baby octopus marinated and fermented in a spicy red pepper sauce, and radish kimchi. Chamchi kimbap is another commonly found gimbap. It is usually filled with tuna, marinated sesame leaf, mayonnaise as well as other

Via Wikipedia

This is the dish that, at first, I was reluctant to try because it looks really similar to that of the Japanese Maki. Then came one day, I was very hungry and had little patient to wait for the food, an ajumma recommended Kimbap, so I went along.

Boy, when chewed, it felt really different from the Japanese’s, the ingredients of the filling felt somewhat fresher and more organic (many kind of veggies used). Though the rolling, gotta give that to the Japanese for its tight and well packed shape, the Korean one seems looser when rolled or may be just the ones that I tried.

Needless to say, Kimbap is commonly seen in Korean drama, especially when the heroine making a lunch box to impress her hero or for a picnic. My most memorable cute scene of Kimbap would be from the movie,  My Little Bride, where MGY fell for her baseball oppa in her school while married to KRW.

She got up in the morning to make Kimbap for her baseball crush, then went out to cheer him at the game. My KRW woke up and felt hungry, saw the left over Kimbap, stuffed it in his mouth, clicked the TV remote and saw the baseball game live broadcast, and bam! his wife was there, sitting in the game beaming to the guy. The Kimbap in his mouth suddenly seemed hard to swallow (Ha!). From then on, Kimbap stayed in my memory along with KRW as a side dish ^^

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