Gimbap is a longtime favorite snack and meal in Korea along with tteokbokki. Gimbap comes in a variety of shapes and flavors depending on the main ingredients. Basic ingredients are vegetables and eggs, while other popular gimbap ingredients include tuna, bulgogi, pork cutlet, and kimchi. While gimbap is very common in Korea, it gained unexpected attention thanks to the drama series "Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022)," which topped the Netflix global charts. Although regular gimbap is an excellent choice for a quick meal, read on for a list of extraordinary gimbap for a gourmet adventure!
What is gimbap?
The “Woo Yeong-woo Gimbap” business that appears in the drama is an actual restaurant located in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do. The restaurant doesn’t sell gimbap, but many drama fans stop by to take photos in front of this charming shop. Although you can’t try “Woo Yeong-woo gimbap” in real life, you can easily make the “square gimbap” made by Yeong-woo’s friend Gurami in the series. All you need is rice, fried eggs, and fried kimchi! Layer them on top of a piece of laver and carefully fold into a square shape. It’s both easy and delicious!
Address: 1F, Sinpung-dong 123-13, Paldal-gu, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do (카자구루마, 경기도 수원시 팔달구 신풍동 123-13, 1층)
If you really want to try “Woo Yeong-woo gimbap,” then we recommend ordering a plain vegetable gimbap.
- How to make “square gimbap”
Gimbap usually consists of a combination of different ingredients wrapped into a roll with a layer of rice and laver. Chungmu gimbap, however, uses only two ingredients – laver and rice. Chungmu gimbap is a thumb-sized gimbap usually accompanied by radish kimchi and squid salad. Chungmu gimbap originated from the region of Tongyeong, which in the past was called Chungmu. Chungmu gimbap was first made for sailors and fishermen who went out to the sea, removing the major filler ingredients to prevent the food from spoiling quickly in the hot climate. Nowadays, Chungmu gimbap is considered an enjoyable regional dish. As the home of Chungmu gimbap, Tongyeong is especially famous for Chungmu Gimbap Alley by Gangguan Port.
Address: Area of 325, Tonyeonghaean-ro, Tonyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do (경상남도 통영시 통영해안로 325 일원)
In Jeju, fusion gimbap made using seafood is the trend. Among the many restaurants, we recommend Jeju Kimmanbok, a gimbap franchise popular for their signature Manbok Gimbap. This special gimbap uses oyster guts and eggs to create a pudding-like texture wrapped in seasoned rice. It has a wholesome flavor with soft texture favored by people of all ages. Another restaurant worth a visit is Haenyeo Gimbap. Haenyeo Gimbap offers special menus like red-banded lobster gimbap and brown algae gimbap for a burst of ocean flavors. If you are up for a challenge, make a stop at Ujeong Hoe Center to try Jeju’s local treat – a gimbap with a whole pacific saury as the main ingredient!
- Jeju Kimmanbok Main Branch: 41, Ora-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do (제주도 제주시 오라로 41(제주김만복 본점))
- Haenyeo Gimbap: 490, Johamhaean-ro, Jocheon-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do (제주도 제주시 조천읍 조함해안로 490(해녀김밥))
- Ujeong Hoe Center: 38, Jungang-ro 54beon-gil, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do (제주도 서귀포시 중앙로54번길 38(우정회센터))
Korea’s historical treasure trove of UNESCO World Heritages, Gyeongju is always bustling with tourists from near and far. Among the many delightful restaurants, Gyori Gimbap is a popular must-visit gimbap place in Gyeongju. Gyori Gimbap had settled in the city for over 50 years, serving its signature gimbap characterized by thinly sliced egg filling. This gives Gyori gimbap’s unique soft texture and savory taste. The only items on their menu are gimbap and banquet noodles.
Address: 2, Tap-ri 2-gil, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do (경상북도 경주시 탑리3길 2)
Changdong Bunsik has been in business for over 50 years in Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do, serving a special gimbap called “bakgoji gimbap.” Bakgoji, or dried gourd shavings, have been used in Korean cooking since the past for its fiber-rich and antiaging nutrients. Adding bakgoji in gimbap not only gives a distinguished texture, but most of all, it’s a great addition of extra nutrients for a healthy meal. Bakgoji gimbap sticks to using simple ingredients like bakgoji, eggs, and spinach. It tastes even better when dipped in the sauce it comes with or eating it with a warm bowl of udon.
Address: 10, Odongseo 6-gil, Masanhappo-gu, Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do (경상남도 창원시 마산합포구 오동서6길 10)
Joseon Gimbap is located in the back alleys of National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea in Seoul. Joseon Gimbap sells only two kinds of gimbap – leafy vegetable gimbap and fishcake gimbap with wasabi. The former uses leafy vegetables that are cooked and seasoned, boosting flavor and aroma as well as nutritious benefits. The latter uses wasabi to add a spicy kick for every gimbap piece. We recommend ordering a bowl of Joseon guksi, the restaurant’s special doenjang (soybean paste) soup noodle.
Address: 68, Yulgok-ro 3-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 율곡로3길 68)
Bangbae Gimbap is a popular gimbap place that made several television appearances. Its signature menu is none other than Bangbae gimbap. Instead of using ham, like the usual gimbap, Bangbae gimbap uses fried tofu that is marinated to taste. While it doesn’t stray too far from the basic gimbap style, the fried tofu gives a pleasantly sweet and salty taste. The restaurant also offers burdock gimbap, tuna gimbap, cheese gimbap, and kimchi gimbap.
At Yeongdo Haenyeo Village, you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the ocean while eating gimbap. Haenyeo, or female divers, are experts in collecting fresh shellfish and the gimbap with fresh sea urchin roe is a special treat only available here. The sea urchin roe is a perfect add-on to the gimbap for a full flavor of the sea. For an ideal hearty meal, order a ramyeon to go with your gimbap.
Address: Yeongdo Haenyeo Culture Exhibition 1F, 2-35, Jungninam-ro, Yeongdo-gu, Busan (부산광역시 영도구 중리남로 2-35 영도해녀문화전시관 1층)
* This column was last updated in August 2022, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.