Restaurant: HK Super Deli (inside Hankook Supermarket)
City: Sunnyvale, CA

Earlier today, I was in the area so I stopped by Hankook Supermarket. I got kimbap from HK Super Deli, a food stand inside the supermarket. I ate some for snack, then ended up eating the rest for dinner!

kimbap - 1 kimbap - 2

White rice with danmuji (yellow radish/daikon), fishcake, egg, carrot, burdock root, and rapeseed, rolled in seaweed.

The following is some info about kimbap, from Wikipedia:

Kimbap or gimbap (김밥) is a popular Korean dish made from steamed white rice (bap) and various other ingredients, rolled in kim/gim (sheets of dried laver seaweed) and served in bite-size slices. Kimbap is often eaten during picnics or outdoor events, or as a light lunch, served with danmuji or kimchi.

Kimbap is derived from Japanese futomaki (Makizushi) during the Japanese rule (1910-1945). It now has certain distinctive elements not found in Japanese-style makizushi. Whereas the essence of Japanese sushi is vinegared rice, gimbap does not use rice vinegar but rather sesame oil.

The literal translation of the word gimbap is seaweed rice. These two things are the most basic components of gimbap. 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.

Read on for more info about kimbap, from Sweet and Tasty TV:

Multiple sources say the concept of sushi was brought to Korea during the Japanese rule in the early 1900s. Which may explain why kimbap resembles the futomaki, a type of sushi roll.

Think of kimbap and sushi as siblings more than twins: similar in appearance yet unique in personality. For one, the white rice in both rolls are treated differently. The rice in sushi is vinegared. The term “sushi” refers to this sour flavor, not the fish. If sushi’s rice does not contain vinegar, it is not sushi it seems? The white rice in kimbap is traditionally seasoned with sesame oil. Health-conscious Koreans use brown rice, forbidden rice and quinoa instead.

Both types of rolls use dried seaweed sheets. While sushi’s seaweed is kept plain, kimbap’s seaweed can also remain plain or be brushed on with sesame oil.

The typical sushi roll contains raw fish. Thus must be consumed fresh. The common kimbap roll contains vegetables (i.e. carrots, pickled radish, spinach) and a protein or two (beef, eggs, fishcakes, imitation crab meat). But Koreans love to customize their kimbap with all kinds of ingredients, including kimchi, ham, KBBQ, mayonnaise, etc. Take your kimbap on today’s road trip and enjoy it even tomorrow!

People tell me that sushi was traditionally eaten with hands, particularly in high-end restaurants. Nowadays sushi is eaten with chopsticks, except for the hand rolls and such. Kimbap is also eaten with chopsticks in restaurant situations, but popularly enjoyed with hands. Kimbap is a common lunchtime food, one that students and office workers alike bring from home–most likely handmade by their mothers and wives. I’ve heard that sushi is traditionally reserved for special occasions. Another observation: while sushi is seen as an art and created in solitude, kimbap is casual and can be rolled in the company of rambunctious ajoomas, middle-aged Korean ladies.