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          Korean Food Storytelling

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          Gim bap[Dried Seaweed Rolls]
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          • 요약설명 A Full Meal in a Single Roll

          Gim-bap (Korean-style rice rolls) is made by spreading white rice on a sheet of Gim (dried laver), layering it with spinach, pickled radish, carrots, egg and beef, and rolling it up. It is similar to the Japanese Maki roll but differs in that the rice is seasoned with sesame oil and salt rather than with vinegar, sugar and salt.

          Different Fillings, Different Names
          It was in the 1960s and 70s that Gimbap as we know it - rolled up into a cylindrical form - became popular. The rice-roll was the default picnic lunch for annual spring and autumn school outings. Many Koreans fondly remember eathing the end pieces of the rolls while their mother prepared Gimbap on the morning of school picnics. In the mid-1990s, Gimbap became an everyday food with the launch of the successful Gimbap franchise, ‘Jongno Gimbap.’ Their take on Gimbap was a thick roll with generous portions of rice and novel fillings such as kimchi, sliced processed cheese, perilla leaves, and anything else one fancied. Thus, Gimbap became ubiquitous, and multiplied into many variations: Cheese-gimbap, Tuna-gimbap, Kimchi-gimbap, etc.

          Fat Granny’s Chungmu-gimbap
          A unique variation of Gimbap is the Kkoma-gimbap, finger-size rolls of rice wrapped in dried laver sheets without any filling and eaten with spicy squid salad and radish kimchi. Its origins date back decades to days when ferries were preferred as a form of transportation over the relatively underdeveloped roads. Passengers used to bring their own Gimbap to tide them over the long ferry ride. However, the regular Gimbap with fillings spoiled easily. One elderly woman saw this and started to sell plain rice rolls served with a separate side dish. It was an instant hit. As roads improved and fewer ferries operated, the woman settled down and opened her own place named ‘Chungmu Gimbap’ in Chungmu city. Although Chungmu later merged into Tongyeong as a result of administrative reorganization, the place is still called Chungmu Gimbap and has become a famous tourist stop.

          A Slice of the Ocean on the Dinner Table : Dried Laver
          Called nature’s greatest gift, laver is a remarkably nutritious food packed with protein and vitamins. It has been cultivated for ages and is considered at its best when it shows fewer impurities, a darker color and a fuller sheen.

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