Cycle 11 – Item 235
27 (Thu) August 2020
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with the Family
J-Mart sells ready-to-go, ready-to-eat banchan. Made on the premises. Each package is enough for about 1-2 portions, most priced at 2,980 apiece – though if you stand around for a while looking uncertain, the lady behind the counter will usually offer a deal of 4 packages for 10,000 won.
Aside from eating the banchan as individual side dishes, they can be combined to make bibim bab. Any combination will work, especially the namul.
In case I’ve never defined it before, namul is any stringy vegetable (e.g., bean sprouts, spinach) or vegetable sliced into strips (e.g., radish, carrots) that’s typically parboiled or stir-fried then seasoned with garlic, salt or soy sauce, sesame oil, sometimes chili powder. Namul are served as sides in a standard Korean spread or mixed as components of bibim bab.
The kicker was gang doenjang, which I added as a condiment in lieu of the standard gochujang. As a result, the bibim bab was much nuttier, softer, more comforting; gochujang, by comparison, tends to make the bibim bab tangier, zippier, more refreshing.
(See also FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)