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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Going Picnicking? Try These Delish Tuna Kimbab

I have been a sad witness to not one but two of my favorite kimbab (Korean seaweed rolls) joints move their locations. First it was Jongno Kimbab in the Koreatown Plaza food court, which had great tuna and perilla leaves kimbab that made many a fellow picnicker happy back in the day. Then it was the one in the food court of California (or Kaju in Korean) Market on Western, which recently moved locations to a fancier place.

I was ecstatic when I found that the food court in Hankuk Market on Western and First has great tuna kimbab too! I suspect it's actually the same vendor as the one in California Market because the kimbab look, taste and cost exactly the same! It's not cheap at $6 but it stretches to 3-4 meals.

It's like a seaweed roll, but has pickled daikon radish, spinach, carrots, egg and the two ingredients that takes it over the edge to fantastic -- canned tuna and perilla leaves!


Perilla leaves often get confused for shisho but they're very different, both in origin and flavor. I myself am partial to perilla leaves because it enhances the whole package with its nuttiness and adds great texture with its crunchiness. You've read my extolling the virtues of this leaf before.

Adding a bit of mayo to the tuna makes it softer and delicious but you can skip it if you make it at home.

One of the best things about these babies is the aromatic scent of sesame oil on the seaweed (You're supposed to lubricate the knife with sesame oil when cutting the rolls. It's a good tip!). One word of caution is that it doesn't keep well in the fridge because the rice gets hard. And you're best off eating it fairly quickly because of the perishable mayo. That said, you could also make it without mayo, which still tastes pretty good. But that's another post on cooking...These are great for picnics, Bowl outings, etc. Kimbab away!

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