Food trends in Seoul these days tend to center around foreign cuisine. I was happy to find that we are finding new innovations with Korean food in the humble kimbap. This one is long overdue. Kimbap is almost but not quite like a sushi maki roll but filled with meats, pickled radishes, and fresh vegetables. The choices for kimbap have been limited in most places, generally regular, cheese, canned tuna, kimchi, and beef. Sometimes you find dried anchovy kimbap.

On the blogs, I’ve been recently been reading about new types of “premium” kimbap shops opening. One leading the charge is a place in Apgujeong I still haven’t gone to that puts camembert and Dutch edam cheeses in its rolls. The one I want to highlight here is Bapuri, which has a few franchises around Korea, including the one we went to in Hongdae, right next to the park.

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They don’t have a premium price, at W2,500 to W4,000 per roll. The flavors include donkkaseu (pork cutlet), barbecued pork (regular and spicy), fiery pork and chilies, double cheese, fried shrimp, canned tuna with fresh wasabi, spicy tuna, barbecue gochujang, and chicken & broccoli.

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Wasabi tuna kimbap

Wasabi tuna kimbap

Barbecued pork kimbap

Barbecued pork kimbap

We tried the basic barbecued pork (숯불 김밥 sutbul kimbap) and the tuna wasabi (생와사비 참차 김밥 saeng wasabi kimbap). The pork was a basic smoky pork like you’d find in a triangle kimbap in a convenience store–but fresher. We really enjoyed the wasabi tuna. It was like a tuna fish sandwich with just enough nose sting from the wasabi–enough to get a kick without being overwhelming.

I’m starting to see and hear of other stores selling upgraded kimbap. Have you tried any?

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