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How to organise a bibimbap picnic

The Korean dish has reached global audiences because of its versatility and taste

A versatile dish, bibimbap is great for any party or picnic. (Photo courtesy: Ian Naag, Unsplash)
A versatile dish, bibimbap is great for any party or picnic. (Photo courtesy: Ian Naag, Unsplash)

Bibimbap is one of the most popular Korean dishes. In 2011, it was listed at number 40 on the world’s 50 best foods list published by CNN. Recently, the much-loved dish has been the subject of a viral food trend about bibimbap picnics.

Bibim in Korean translates to mixed while bap is cooked rice. Therefore, the dish is exactly what it means—mixed rice. Traditional versions have a raw egg yolk and raw beef combined with rice and vegetables.

The modern variations are endless, as the dish simply calls for any kind of vegetable and meat with rice. Ingredients include chopped carrots, bean sprouts, spinach, onions, bell peppers, bok choy and mushrooms.

Once all the ingredients are added to the rice, the dish is topped with the essential bright red bibimbap sauce, which adds a spicy kick. The sauce is made from gochujang, which is Korean red chilli paste, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and water. The dish is delicious hot or cold and massive servings can be made quickly. This means that it is perfect for big gatherings or events.

Bibimbap picnics have become popular on social media platforms like Instagram. In these picnics, friends and family come together and bring different ingredients required for making bibimbap.

For example, one family member might get cooked rice, while another brings bean sprouts or fried eggs. Gathered around a picnic blanket, each member takes turn to mix the rice, making it a community experience.

As the ingredients require minimum preparation and are easy to carry, the dish can be enjoyed anywhere, making it a highly versatile dish. Bibimbap picnics can also be fun events to bond with loved ones over delicious food.

To learn more about bibimbap, watch this video by the Korean YouTuber Maangchi. While she uses beef, any kind of meat can be used. The raw egg can also be replaced with a fried egg. Tofu or paneer can be used as a vegetarian option. Two ingredients, gosari and doraji, will be difficult to find in India. Nevertheless, this recipe offers a basic template to prepare a fun weekend meal experience.

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