how to eat kimbap

How To Eat Kimbap?

Versatile and diverse, there are many words to describe kimbap. It has become popular worldwide in recent years due to the sudden rise in popularity of K-drama and K-pop. Whatever the reason, you must admit that kimbap is a fantastic Korean dish, also known as gimbap.

However, sometimes you may need more than just kimbap. If you’re planning a party and want to include kimbap on the menu, you’ll have to pair it with something else. So, what goes well with kimbap? How do people typically eat kimbap? And should it be served hot or cold?

If you’re wondering how to enjoy this popular Korean food, here’s what you need to know about pairing it with other dishes.

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How to Eat Kimbap?

Here are some steps for eating kimbap:

  1. Cut the kimbap into bite-sized pieces. You can use a sharp knife to cut the roll into pieces that are about 1-2 inches in length.
  2. Use chopsticks or your fingers to pick up a piece of kimbap.
  3. Dip the kimbap into soy sauce or a mixture of soy sauce and wasabi, if you like. Be careful not to use too much sauce, as the flavors of the kimbap can be quite strong on their own.
  4. Take a bite of the kimbap, making sure to get a bit of all the ingredients in each bite. Chew slowly and savor the flavors.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you’ve finished all the kimbap.

Some people also like to add a bit of sesame oil to their soy sauce for dipping or to sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the kimbap for extra flavor.

Kimbap may resemble a Japanese sushi roll, but it is actually a different dish. Both use a seaweed sheet, which can be confusing, but the fillings are diverse.

In kimbap, the rice is mixed with sesame oil, while sushi rice is seasoned lightly with vinegar. Sushi also typically contains raw fish or other seafood, whereas kimbap uses processed meat, egg, ham, and cheese as its filling.

Kimbap can be enjoyed in many ways, whether as a snack, appetizer, or side dish. It all depends on your preference and the setting.

In Korea, kimbap is often preferred as a snack, especially the triangle-shaped variety sold at convenience stores. These little wrap dishes make for a quick and easy bite, perfect for staving off hunger. When enjoying convenience store kimbap, it is typically eaten by hand and paired with another snack or beverage.

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What Do You Eat Kimbap With?

What do you typically pair with kimbap? Kimbap can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a light breakfast, and is often served with items like spam or imitation crab sticks, pickled radish, or squid salad. When serving kimbap as an appetizer, it’s best to avoid heavier snacks.

As a side dish, kimbap is usually paired with heavier main dishes such as chicken katsu, bulgogi (thinly-sliced marinated meat), galbi (braised beef rib), and tonkatsu (pork katsu). These are some of the most popular main dish choices that complement the flavors of kimbap.

In addition to main dishes, kimbap can also be served with other side dishes such as shrimp tempura, tuna, tofu, or fish cake. These dishes offer a variety of textures and flavors that complement the taste of kimbap.

Related reading: How to Store Tteokbokki?

Is Kimbap Eaten Hot or Cold?

Neither, actually. Kimbap is typically enjoyed fresh and at room temperature. It’s generally not recommended to warm up kimbap, as this can ruin the flavor of some of the fresh ingredients.

Additionally, if kimbap has been refrigerated, the rice can become hard and unpleasant in texture. For the most delicious kimbap experience, it’s best to enjoy it fresh and at room temperature.

Related reading: How to Reheat Kimbap?

Can You Eat Kimbap Cold?

If by cold you mean at room temperature, then yes. Room temperature is actually the most preferred way of enjoying kimbap.

If the kimbap is colder than room temperature, the rice can become chewy and the seaweed can start to become soggy, which can negatively impact the taste and texture of the dish.

Therefore, kimbap is typically served and enjoyed at room temperature, which is slightly cooler than its initial state but not cold enough to cause any negative changes in texture or flavor.

What to do with leftover kimbap?

Kimbap is best eaten fresh during mealtime, whether it’s at a picnic or lunch hours.

If you have leftover kimbap, here are some options:

  1. Refrigerate kimbap and reheat later: Although kimbap is usually consumed at room temperature, you can reheat it later. To prevent the seaweed from drying out, wrap it in damp paper towels or plastic wrap.
  2. Fry it: Cut the leftover kimbap into small pieces, dip in egg, and fry in oil until crispy. This makes for a delicious and crunchy snack or side dish.
  3. Freeze it: If you’re unable to consume the leftover kimbap right away, you can freeze it for later. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe container. To eat it later, thaw it out and reheat it as desired.

Do You Eat Kimbap with Soy Sauce?

It depends on the type of kimbap you have. If you have traditional kimbap, it is usually not served with soy sauce or any other dip. The same goes for convenience store kimbap, which people often eat as snacks.

However, if you’re eating mayak kimbap (mini kimbap), you can eat it with soy sauce. Mayak kimbap is traditionally served with soy sauce, spinach, radish, and other side dishes.

Food preferences are personal, and if you like to eat your kimbap with soy sauce, go for it! There’s no limit to taste combinations.

Do You Eat Kimbap with Chopsticks?

Yes, the traditional way of eating kimbap is with chopsticks. It is usually sliced evenly, not only for aesthetics but also for convenience.

However, it is also acceptable to eat kimbap with your hands, especially if it’s the triangle-shaped kimbap found in stores that are considered snack.

Ultimately, the choice of utensils is a personal preference. Whether you prefer chopsticks or using your hands, the most important thing is to enjoy the delicious flavors of kimbap.

Make kimbap at home with Delamu Sushi Making Kit!

What is included: 2 x Bamboo sushi mats, 1 x Bazooka Roller, 2 x Temaki Rollers, 1 x Rice Mold, 1 x Sushi Knife, 5 x Pairs of Chopsticks, 2 x Chopsticks Holders, 1 x Rice Paddle, 1 x Rice Spreader, 2 x Sauce Dish, 1 x Sushi Cutting Mold, 1 x Guide Book


If you’ve made it this far, you now know how to eat kimbap. Before I bid you farewell, here are the key takeaways from our guide:

Kimbap is a popular food in Korea, typically made with rice, vegetables, and sometimes processed meat, eggs, ham, or cheese. It is shaped into a long cylinder and sliced into bite-sized pieces. Kimbap is often eaten as a quick and satisfying meal or snack.

Unlike sushi, kimbap is not traditionally served with soy sauce. However, some variations like mayak kimbap can be enjoyed with soy sauce. It is commonly eaten with chopsticks, although it is acceptable to use your hands for certain types like triangle kimbap.

Kimbap is best eaten fresh at room temperature, but leftovers can be refrigerated, reheated, fried, or even frozen for later consumption. To store leftover kimbap, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors and textures! As Chef Gusteau famously said in Ratatouille, “Anyone can cook,” and similarly, anyone can enjoy kimbap in their own unique way.

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