Korean Food USA is a new series that showcases Korean and Korean-inspired eateries all around the nation.
Seeing as how bibimbap has emerged to become the “gateway dish” into Korean cuisine, we decided to highlight another Korean restaurant that is reinventing this dish in new ways. Located near UCLA, Bibigo provides a healthy twist on bibimbap that is sure to appeal to American tastes.
Like Chipotle’s menu, Bibigo’s menu puts diners in command and lets them build their own bibimbap through a multi-step process:
- Choose between three types of dishes: Bibigo Rice, bibimbap, and hot stone rice. While bibimbap and hot stone rice will look familiar to most Koreans, Bibigo Rice is a salad-like dish that is served on a flat dish.
- Next, decide between four different types of rice: white, black pearl, brown, or barley & white. Rice is a necessity when it comes to Korean food, but you can always opt to go healthier by choosing brown rice instead of white rice.
- Bibigo also offers four types of proteins: bulgogi, chicken, shrimp, and tofu (for all of the vegetarians).
- Last, decide between four different sauces: kohot (gochujang), ssam sauce, green sesame, and citrus soy. We recommend sticking with kohot or ssam sauce for Bibigo’s bibimbap and hot stone rice. Green sesame and citrus soy are more like dressings so they’re great complements to Bibigo Rice.
While bibimbap is Bibigo’s main focus, the restaurant also plays off Spanish tapas by offering smaller, appetizer-sized Korean dishes such as Sizzling Rice Salad, Dukbogi, and Sweet and Spicy Chicken.
To be clear, Bibigo is not the place for that authentic, tastes-like-what-my-grandma-and-her-grandma-would-make bibimbap. Rather, Bibigo is a great place for Korean food beginners or those looking for a new interpretation of bibimbap. Bibigo also boasts a clean, modern décor and extremely accommodating service, which definitely adds to its appeal.
Still, there are only a few places that offer Korean food on the west side of L.A, so it’s definitely worth stopping by if you’re in the area.
1091 Broxton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
[Photos: Robert Park]