Is sushi popular in South Korea

Featured: Korean Gimbap

What is gimbap?

Gimbap is the Korean rice roll made from gim (dried seaweed leaf, the Japanese name is nori), boiled glutinous rice and various other ingredients such as vegetables, meat and fish. Actually, there is no fixed rule of what a gimbap roll should contain, it depends more on the cook and his guests, which ingredients are popular in the group and which are less. That's why gimbap can also be a perfect snack for picky eaters, vegetarians or meat lovers.

Surprise your loved one with a romantic picnic and prepare a few Korean rice rolls. They are easy to transport and of course can be enjoyed cold.

When is the best time to enjoy gimbap?

Gimbap is a typical picnic meal in Korea. It is ideal for on the go, for events or simply at home to feed hungry mouths. In Korea, Kimbap is also often served with large buffets, because every guest is really satisfied with this dish.

Gimbap is tasty, filling, and easy to pack. Some people wrap the entire roll in aluminum or paper foil, and still others cut the gimbap into bite-sized pieces.

I sometimes prepare the gimbap for my work day, because in addition to a lot of energy, the gimbap also gives you one or two envious looks from your colleagues.

What is the difference between gimbap and sushi?

Gimbap is not to be confused with sushi, because sushi is a Japanese dish that is mainly prepared with fish and seafood. In sushi there are never more than 2 ingredients (in addition to rice and seaweed), whereas a real gimbap roll is filled with at least 5 ingredients.

In addition, sushi and gimbap differ in the preparation of the rice. Sushi rice is seasoned with vinegar, while gimbap rice is usually only refined with sesame oil and sesame seeds. Traditional sushi is also usually prepared with raw fish such as tuna, salmon and seafood such as scallops. Instead, Gimbap is based on the variety of different fillings consisting of vegetables, meat, fish and herbs.

Buy glue rice

The fillings for gimbap are usually cooked or preserved ingredients such as canned tuna, kimchi, grilled Korean marinated meat, ham, cheese, fish cake, carrots, peppers, Korean radish (yellow pickled radish), spinach, lotus root, spiced burdock, mayonnaise, egg and many more.


How to make gimbap

Basically, it is not difficult to roll the gimbap, you need a little more time and nerves at the beginning, but these quickly evaporate with practice.

First of all, we need gim (dried seaweed). Many people know it by the Japanese name “Nori”, but the only difference is in the name. Another important ingredient is cooked sticky rice (= bap). This is best prepared in a rice cooker, because that's where it works best. After cooking, you have to refine the rice with sesame oil and then let it cool down. Please do NOT use rice or sushi vinegar, because it has no place in the gimbap and distorts the taste!

This is how the best rice for gimbap succeeds

Short-grain white rice (also known as sticky rice) is usually used as rice. You can also combine this with healthier short-grain varieties like brown and black rice. The rice is then boiled with a little less water than usual so that it doesn't get too soft. You should also use freshly cooked rice for your gimbap. The cooked and still hot rice is then refined with sesame oil, salt and, best of all, ground sesame seeds. Please do not use rice vinegar. After a taste test and individual taste adjustments, the rice should cool down covered.

I recommend using a rice cooker or a pressure cooker. The rice should be cooked to perfection, and a rice cooker will do that every time. A simple rice cooker will save you money, nerves and time in the end.

Korean seaweed - gim

South Korea is known to be the largest producer and exporter of seaweed. If you want to eat really good seaweed and seaweed, then buy Korean brands. You can buy the gim (in common parlance and also “nori” in Japanese) pre-packaged. I recommend that you only buy the algae leaves on the Internet or in the East Asian supermarket.

You should use these devices to make gimbaps

Gimbal This is the Korean name for the roll mat that you also use for normal maki sushi rolls. This is definitely needed, and the price of these mats is very low.

Buy sushi roll mats

As mentioned earlier, is a Rice cooker very helpful to cook the rice perfectly. This kitchen gadget doesn't cost a lot of money and you can use it every time you want to eat the best rice. So save yourself time and invest in a rice cooker.

To our rice cookers

A sharp knife you need it at the end of the rolling process if you want to cut the rolls into bite-sized pieces. A dull knife is a total gimbap killer.

Different types of gimbap

There are hundreds of variations of the gimbap. By combining different ingredients, completely individual dishes are created. If you ever travel to Korea, you will find small gimbap shops in many corners that will freshly prepare the gimbap for you. Here are the most popular variations of the gimbap.

  • Vegetable gimbap
  • Round meat gimbap
  • Pork gimbap
  • Tuna gimbap
  • Cheese gimbap
  • Kimchi Gimbap
  • Classic gimbap, the most popular version

Classic gimbap

For the classic gimbap we need steamed carrot sticks, thin and only very lightly seared omelets, pickled yellow radish (can be bought ready-made), some cabbage kimchi and blanched spinach refined with sesame oil.

For the exact Gimbap recipe, please visit our website: The recipe is here!

Now all you need is a roll mat for sushi rolls and off you go.

Additional ingredients and combinations make every gimbap taste different. Just try it out and find your favorite variant. For example, I recommend canned tuna with mayo and finely chopped onions or fried kimchi with fried thin pork belly slices, spinach and radish sticks.

Tuna gimbap

Tuna gimbap is very popular in Korea. It is simply rolled up with canned tuna and mayonnaise. You can also add onions and herbs. If you like mayo, you should prepare a tuna gimbap right away.

Kimchi Gimbap

Kimchi Gimbap is also one of the absolute classics. Kimchi is the main part of the roll and is rolled up either fresh or fried. In addition, there are ingredients such as fried meat, fresh lettuce leaves or radish.

Kimchi is an essential side dish in Korean cuisine that is world famous. You can make your own kimchi with ease. I'll show you how to do it here.

Vegetable gimbap

In this kimbab every form of meat and fish is avoided. Usually 5 types of vegetables are used. In addition to peppers, cucumbers and carrots, spinach, pickled radish, spicy sauces and fresh lettuce leaves are also served here. A dream for every vegetarian and vegan.

Beef gimbap

Beef in rice rolls? That fits like a fist on the eye. Not just any beef is used, but the world-famous Bulgogi, which is fillet of beef marinated with soy sauce and seared over a hot fire. The bulgogi is then placed in the gimbap roll with, for example, kimchi, onions and fresh lettuce leaves. This is a real taste gas, a must for every meat lover.

Do you want to try more Korean recipes and find out more about Korean cuisine? Then take a look at our food blog, which is now one of the largest Asian food blogs in German-speaking countries.

I'm looking forward to your visit!

Matthias