mystery pink stuff at bibimbar

I’m trying not to think about food because I want to be starving by the time the party starts after the James Beard Awards tonight. (If you’ve ever been to the event, you know what I mean.) Anyway, it’s not working. I’ve written about Bibimbar before. It’s virtually hidden behind Setagaya on First Avenue in the East Village. It never seems to be very busy, even though I’ve been telling everyone I know to try it. Honestly, bibimbop doesn’t get much better. At the start of most Korean meals, they bring out the banchan. Sometimes it’s just kimchee, but it really varies. At my last visit to Bibimbar, they brought this gorgeous thing (see above photo). It looks like some kind of sweet melon soup, but why would they bring that at the start of a meal? What do you think… okay, I’ll tell you. It was a pickled vegetable soup, or at least that’s the best I can do to describe it. Not sweet at all. I thought it was stunning.

About the kimchee, it’s garlicky. I mean REALLY garlicky. Imagine kimchee, which is already a bit spicy, and then chop up a whole bunch of raw garlic, like a few cloves, and mix that in. Then let it sit until the garlic flavor completely takes over. Then you’re starting to get the idea. I almost can’t eat it, which is a shame because I really love kimchee. (Yes, I’ve made it before with my Korean girlfriend. Click here to read about it.)

Did I mention the bibimbap is amazing? I hope this place sticks around. I’ve read mixed reviews from people who think the stone pots are too hot. Okayyy. The stone pots are the best part. Definitely worth a try.

48 thoughts on “mystery pink stuff at bibimbar

  1. oh that pickled vegetable soup is so pretty! i would’ve thought it to be a sweet dessert type of dish, too!have you ever tried kimchi fried rice?

  2. pearl: i’ve tried more Korean food than you can possibly imagine. we’re spoiled here in NYC, and then there is Palisades Park, NJ, which has the highest concentration of Koreans in the U.S. (the biggest population in total is in L.A.).

  3. Thank you for dropping by and leaving comments on my blog. :)I love Korean food and miss it very much as it’s largely unavailable in Costa del Sol. I might try making my own Kimchi one day but I haven’t had the guts to do it yet!

  4. I know exactly what that pickled veg soup is! My dad makes it in the summer – very refreshing! Your bibimbap looks SOOO much better than the one I had yesterday. YUM.So I was in the city yesterday at Parsons for my brother’s thesis presentation…and I checked out Grandaisy Bakery, Sweet Revenge, and Kyotofu based on your recommendations. Yes, all THREE in one day! I’m a crazy dessert addict!I’ll email you my comments…don’t want to take up space on your blog.:)

  5. Love korean food. I’m a sucker for kimchi. I’m taking note of all these place to eat at when I travel there. Enjoy the event tonight!

  6. how can you not like a hot pot? how the hell do these people think the rices gets deliciously crispy? i’ll put this place on my list of deliciousness for my upcoming visit to nyc…thanks!

  7. Hi Justin,I really want to try kimchee. I have looked at it several times at a specialty store in the area, but a friend told me that it has a strong taste and odor?? I have read how good it is for you.Gin

  8. Hey Justin, thanks for the book rec on my blog. I knew that soup was pickled veggies — isn’t that funny? I have never had it but it looked vinegary to me. I love dolsot bibimbap. Dig your blog … I lived in the city in 10 years and commuted for 5 years. Now I don’t hardly get in.

  9. Suzanne: okay, thanks.Cindy: I know it’s weird, but I specifically read stuff on yelp — people complaining that the pot and food were too hot there. Strange, but true.Michelle: thanks for visiting. yeah, I thought melon soup. This is a good spot to visit when you’re here, but so is Setagaya Ramen in front at the same location.Ginger: Kimchee is really strong, definitely. I’d suggest only trying it with other Korean food. Just buying some at the market and eating it straight could be a bit intense for someone who never tried it before.Ninette: good call on the soup.thereddeer: thanks for visiting!Maya: if you live in the NYC tri-state area and have a means of transportation, you definitely want to visit Palisades Park. It’s not huge, but everything there is great.

  10. that soup is so good. We’ve found that they only seem to serve it during lunch and not for dinner. I saw on the tv above the bar where they always show food related Korean shows a woman making that soup. The color was actually natural derived from the ingredients. I still think that place is the best bibimbap I’ve ever had.

  11. Thanks for comment my blog!! :)I bought that star-shaped pan because I found it very nice and I paid just 5 euros!! It was a good shopping, isn’t it?! Haha

  12. Hi Justine First time here .U got a lovely blog ..i am very much new these recipes ,but def will try some of these ..keep up the good work keep in touch love veena

  13. Jason: is that you, as in my friend Jason? I can’t always tell, and most of the people who comment on my blog are VERY NICE people who I’ve never met in person. If it’s you, have you had those Seoul Station tacos yet?Miriam: hi, and thanks for visiting!veena: hi, and thanks so much for stopping by.Bridgett: I agree, almost!

  14. That soup is a show stopper all on it’s own. It’s no easy kinding a good Korean restaurant in Knoxville. There are places in New Orleans that are amazing and have wonderful kimchee.

  15. yea it’s me. I guess it can be a little confusing who’s who with the ever growing amount of communication portals we all set up for ourselves.I still haven’t got a chance to try the tacos yet but they are on the top of my list. By the way did you get a new camera recently or are you just starting to REALLY pay close attention to what all us photographers do on those shoots. The images are looking more and more delicious every post.

  16. jason, from you, that’s quite a compliment! I haven’t gotten a new camera recently, but I have been doing some shopping around. I’m thinking about waiting for the Sigma DP2 to come out, but there seems to be a big debate about the release date. I was thinking about the G10 too (since you recommended the G9), but the Sigma looks really cool.

  17. Wow, you *made* kimchi. That’s awesome, Justin. I feel like giving it a try. Does the method work for every kind of kimchi? I love the daikon one.

  18. Leela, thanks for visiting. Actually even though the cabbage kimchee has some daikon in it, the all-daikon kimchee is a little different and a lot easier. My girlfriend made it the same day, and it’s nice because it’s ready even the same day you make it, while the cabbage type takes days before it’s any good. I think we winged it, but you should definitely look around for a good recipe for it and try it.

  19. Thank you Justin for visiting and commenting my blog, I’m totally flattered!I’m discovering yours with great pleasure and will surely return often!I’ll also have to find a spot in my schedule this summer and try to fix a little something in NY to visit all those great places you rave about!

  20. vibi: thanks for visiting my blog too. a trip to NYC sounds like a good idea.kate: Korean cuisine is really exciting, definitely worth a try. I guess it depends on where you live. It’s easy to get in and around New York City, but in some regions of the country (and world), it’s very hard to find. thanks for visiting.

  21. I really need to explore Korean food more! So far, I’m stuck at bulgogi. I used to dislike kimchi intensely but it was just a matter of letting my tastebuds mature. Now, I really enjoy it; I’d even be willing to try this über-garlicky version. And the pickled vegetable soup . . . !

  22. hi, tangled noodle: i think it depends on where you live — if you can get really good korean food, then you’d be more likely to explore. i figured with a user name like “tangled noodle”, you’d have tried it all when it comes to asian cuisine.

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