The Best Bibimbap in Toronto
To my stomach's great dismay, I spent four years eating my way across red-pepper obsessed Korea. Ignoring daily digestive protest, I found spicy Korean food too tasty to say no. Bibimbap, a medley of rice, veggies, meat, egg and that Korean spice staple, gochujang (red-pepper paste) is one of the most popular dishes in Korea and I was pleased on my return to Toronto to learn how many tasty bibimbaps can be found here. Lucky for my stomach, in Toronto, the gochujang is served on the side.
Since the toppings in bibimbap are cooked separately, it is easily made vegetarian - a rarity among Korean dishes. Served in regular and dolsot (hot pot) varieties, the latter is generally a little more expensive and a lot more tasty. A good dolsot should produce an audible sizzle at the start of the meal, and a golden rice crust by the end. No matter the variety, bibimbap is classically preceded by banchan, or side dishes, and should come colourfully arrayed with a variety of vegetables.
Here are some of Toronto's best:
Writing and photos by Devon Scoble. HoSu photo by Debbie Ohi
How BCDSTF gets their rice so crispy with so little oil is one of life's most delicious mysteries. Gingery kimchi kicks its heels, salty baby anchovies kiss soy-marinated beans and earthy Chinese bellflower root presage a main course that is as complex and flavourful as its appetizers. There's a reason patrons line up for lunch at BCDSTB. Look for the green all-Korean sign on the southeast corner of Clinton and Bloor. More »
Korean Village Restaurant serves a bibimbap for the bibimbap lover. Sizzling hot pot, crispy rice and a medley of fresh side dishes will fill your belly with goodness, while traditional Korean-kitsch, cheery service, and huge booths make this spacious restaurant just the place for large gatherings of kimchi-lovers. More »
I like Hosu the way I liked my kindergarten friends. All they needed was a house on my street and an interest in She-Ra to play with me. You like to eat, right? Then you'll love Hosu! Like most of the food at Hosu, the bibimbap is neither challenging nor spectacular but quick, cheap, good, and plentiful. Bonus points to the server who I.D'd me for my Stella (I'm 30!). More »
It takes a while to get a table at Nak Won on a Saturday night, but it's worth the wait. After a total of seven delicious complimentary side dishes - double the variety than most other restaurants, you may have little room left for the main course. More »
Topped with chunks of real cheddar, orange peppers and green beans, BibimQ's Dol Sut Cheese Bibimbap is as tasty as it is unorthodox. The pot isn't hot enough to crisp the rice, but plenty of veggies and quick, pleasant service make this dish worth trying. More »
Ka Chi means "together" in Korean, and this restaurant embodies the theme of union by marrying such disparate elements as Van Gogh reproductions, cafeteria tables, house plants and a Rob Zombie soundtrack. The squid-topped bibimbap does an equal job, joining tender, springy squid, crunchy veggies, and soft rice in delicious matrimony. More »