Welcome to my one-time confession: I love eating my meals out of a bowl, with a spoon.
What about spaghetti and steak, I hear you ask? Cut it up, spoon it up. This is half the reason why I love Asian food, besides the aromatic herbs and spices, fresh vegetables and intense, sometimes unrecognisable flavour sensations.
Bowl-foods have been reported on the blog a few times – we’ve tried our hand at making Massaman curry, and the best pho in Berlin is a foundational blog post that helps you eat at the right Vietnamese joints. So it’s only natural that bibimbap is up next.
To give you an idea of its epic-ness: Bibimbap is to Korea, what pho is to Vietnam, what ramen is to Japan. What you’ll get is a bowl of rice, topped with an array of prepared veg, your protein of choice, a fried or raw egg and a dollop of gochujang – fermented red chilli paste. The key is to mix it all up, and dig in.
Wondering where you can get one (or five) of these in Berlin?
KIMCHI PRINCESS | Skalitzerstr. 36, Kreuzberg 10999
For the K-curious set your Maps to Kimchi Princess. These guys dish up a killer bibimbap, great tunes and an upbeat vibe any time of the day, on any day of the week. That’s why we love it. Here, your B is served in a blistering hot stone bowl with a decent amount of veg, meat, egg and hot sauce, accompanied by an array of sides including kimchi and pickles which add an extra pow to each mouthful.
What gets me about the B at Kimchi Princess is the crispy rice stuck to the bottom of the bowl.
ABONIM | Wisbyerstr. 69, Pankow 10439
I’m a big believer in focusing on one thing, and doing it well. I’ve always cringed at fusion restaurants or even the restaurants who say they do Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese – it sends shudders down my spine. That was until Abonim reared it’s Japanese / Korean head. Both cuisines are done well, though their Korean dishes definitely stand out the most.
The construction of the Abonim’s B is carefully considered, and occasionally changes depending on what’s in the fridge. From zucchini and carrots, to fermented cabbage, eggplant and mushrooms plus a runny sun-side-sup egg, the B is full of flavour and comes with a choice of beef, pork, chicken, salmon, white fish, and tofu. The magic combination is by far with salmon.
YAMYAM | Alte Schönhauserstr. 6, Mitte 10119
Do you feel the icy wind walking on Alte Schönhauserstr, like I do? Thankfully, there’s a few nice cafés and restaurants on the street to warm the bones when it all gets too much. Stop by YamYam – a friendly Korean restaurant where Korean is front and centre right through to the staff and beer selection. The B here is rather simple, but simply delicious and ideal for those new to Korean food.
KOCHU KARU | Eberswalderstr. 35, Prenzlauer Berg
What do you get when you cross a Korean opera singer with a Spanish chef? Korean Tapas. It sounds impossible, but it completely makes sense. Both cultures have an emphasis on sharing small-size dishes. So if you’re interested in this marriage of Korean and Spanish food, head to Kochu Karu.
They haven’t gone completely ape with mixing the two cuisines, Korean classics like the bibimbap are more K-pop than Spanish, which we’re happy about. Speaking of the B it is the prettiest of them all – assembled with great love and care, and sprinkled with delicate herbs.
OMONI | Kopenhagenerstr. 14, Prenzlauer Berg
I always delight when I get a fresh Korean introduction. And the super-cute and authentic Omoni in Prenzlauer Berg is a keeper. Be careful not to miss it; the undecorated façade blends in with the Altbaus it’s squished between but once you’re in (a booking is recommended) the food and staff speak for themselves – volumes of beauty.
Omoni actually offers up more Japanese than Korean dishes but, I had heard glowing reports so I landed the vegetarian bibimbap and was completely taken aback by the awesome taste, the generous serving and the warm silver bowl it arrived in.