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Bibimbap Will Visit You Soon
“2012 Bibimbap Backpackers” Go to the Campuses of World Famous Schools!

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People around the world love bibimbap (rice mixed with vegetables and beef) because the ingredients are the perfect harmony of taste and nutrition. The dish is also well known as a health food and a diet food because it contains a variety of healthy but lean ingredients such as vegetables, grains, and meat. But even if you want to have bibimbap, it may be difficult to find a place to buy it. Bibimbap franchises have recently opened in the US and Southeast Asia, but it is still only in a Korean restaurant that you can enjoy bibimbap. What if bibimbap came to your neighborhood?

Five Korean Youngsters Make and Share Bibimbap with University Students around the World

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Three young men and two young women will visit you with bibimbap soon. After the first team of “Bibimbap Backpackers” boldly took a challenge and traveled around the world serving bibimbap last year, the second team “2012 Bibimbap Backpackers” is now starting their six-month bibimbap journey. The trip began with a bibimbap tasting event in Los Angeles last July 12th and will finish at the end of this year. The five members of the 2012 Bibimbap Backpackers team are Kang Sang-kyun (31 years old), Seong Yeob (29 years old), Lee Young-ju (24 years old), Kim Ah-yeon (22 years old), and Kim Ja-woo (22 years old).
During the trip around the world, 2012 Bibimbap Backpackers will promote bibimbap by holding tasting events targeting young people. Their destinations are mainly famous universities such as Stanford, Berkeley, Oxford, The University of London, Harvard, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and so on.
The leader of the team, Kang Sang-kyun, explains, “The experience with the first bibimbap tour around the world, which lasted for nine months last year, was an opportunity to dispassionately assess the position of Korean cuisine (Hansik in Korean) in the world in terms of its global competitiveness. Among many positive responses to bibimbap, young adults in their 20s and 30s liked the dish most, so this year we decided to focus on overseas university students and introduce them to the excellence of Hansik and bibimbap.”

Bibimbap Is a Healthy Diet Food

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Under the project entitled “2012 Bibimbap Backpackers Go to World-famous Universities,” the second bibimbap team is holding a “Bibimbap Week” at every major university they visit. For seven days on each campus they are going to actively promote bibimbap to the students. The schedule of a bibimbap week is as follows. Before the opening of each bibimbap week, for three days, the five bibimbap backpackers will inform the university students about the purpose of their visit and the tasting events through online and offline promotions. On the first day of a bibimbap week, they give undergraduates the handouts that explain the advantages of Korean cuisine including bibimbap. The tasting events giving out 400 servings of bibimbap are held in a school yard on the second and third days. On the last day of a bibimbap week, foreign university students are offered a chance to make and taste their own bibimbap at an event called “Bibimbap Globowl Time” (the word “globowl” here is a compound of “global” and “bowl”).

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The basic ingredients of bibimbap for the tasting events are white radish, mushrooms (shiitake, oyster mushroom, button mushroom), mung-bean sprouts, spinach, rice, and beef. Gochujang (Korean red pepper sauce), sesame sauce, and ganjang (soy sauce) are used as the main sauces. Vice-captain of the team Seong Yeob says, “We are making 10,000 servings of bibimbap around the world during the period of six months. We want to demonstrate that anyone, including those who dislike beef or gochujang, can enjoy eating bibimbap conveniently because they are free to choose the sauces and ingredients they like. What’s more, we hope that by making and sharing bibimbap together, many foreign students will realize how interesting and easy it is to make Korean dishes.”

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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