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Globalization of Korean ‘Bibimbap’

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Along with ‘Bulgogi’ (Korean barbecue), ‘Bibimbap’ (rice mixed with vegetables and beef) is the dish the most favored among non-Koreans. Yes, the very composite taste of the admixture of glossy ‘Bap’ (cooked rice), various vegetables, and ‘Gochujang’ (red pepper paste) is whetting the appetites of people all around the world as well as Koreans. Korean Bibimbap came into the spotlight again after the Tinseltown celebrity, Paris Hilton, who visited Korea a few months ago, said she would like to eat Bibimbap again.

In this context of the popularizing of Bibimpap, the Gogung restaurant is in the vanguard of making Bibimbap known abroad. The Gogung is a 30-year old restaurant that revives the traditional taste and nutrition of Jeonju (regional) Bibimbap. Jeonju Bibimbap was one of top three dishes in Joseon (the latest dynasty of Korea [1392~1910]) period along with Pyeongyang ‘Naengmyeon’ (buckwheat noodle in chilled broth) and Kaesong ‘Tangban’ (rice in broth) of North Korea. It is made of bean sprouts (one of ten delicacies Jeonju boasts), cooked rice made of beef stock, various vegetables of the season, and thirty kinds of garnishes like jujube, gingko nuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, and walnut. Just one a ball of the wholesome Jeonju Bibimbap contains carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. The Gogung only uses its own ‘Bokkeum-gochujang’ (fried red pepper paste) having 40-year old tradition of making Bibimbap. The Bokkeum-gochujang is made by mixing conventional Gochujang with beef and various vegetables and frying. It is characterized by its subtle sweetness and is not at all salty.  

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After stimulating the appetites of people with Bibimbap, the Gogung has now become one of tourist attractions for visitors to Korea. The restaurant is decorated with ‘Janggu’ (traditional Korean drum shaped like an hourglass), ‘Gayageum’ (twelve-stringed traditional Korean harp), and dolls donned with ‘Hanbok’ (traditional Korean clothes). Also, and very helpfully, it employs the waiters/waitresses who can speak foreign languages. In the head restaurant in Jeonju in North Jeolla Province, there is a standing exhibition to spread the excellence of Bibimbap and Korean food culture. All kinds of the things about Bibimbap from the origin and history to the ingredients, nutrients, and recipes can be seen in the 60 pyeong-sized pavilion. In 2004 the Gogung built the Jeonju Bibimbap Research Institute which is now working to globalize Jeonju Bibimbap.


Menu
-Traditional Jeonju Bibimbap ₩11,000
-‘Dolsot-bibimbap’ (Bibimbap in a Hot Stone Pot) ₩8,800 
-‘Nakji-bibimbap’ (Baby Octopus Bibimbap) ₩8,800
-‘Bibimbap-sangcharim’ (Table Set with Bibimbap) ₩25,300

Location
The Gogung restaurant chain in Myeong-dong, Seoul
At exit 10 of Myeong-dong subway station, find the restaurant right on the one-way street behind the Seoul Sejong Hotel.

Tel: +82-63-251-3211(Jeonju)   Tel: +82-2-776-3211(Myeongdong)

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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