Kimbap is a dime a dozen in Korea. For those unfamiliar with this food: it’s like Korea’s version of sushi. It comes in many forms, but most commonly as rolls. Rice and anything from veggies to meat are stuffed inside seaweed. Literally, the name means seaweed (kim) and rice (bap) in Korean.
You could easily get it at a convenience store, but then you sacrifice quality. There are quite a few restaurants that solely serve kimbap and other rice dishes, and that’s where you need to go to get it made fresh.
One such restaurant is located very close to banwoldang station downtown. The restaurant is called The Bab’s, and it’s worth stopping in just for one item on the menu. The draw of this restaurant is in their san gyeop sal roll, something you can’t find at most places. Sam gyeopsal is pork belly, similar to uncured bacon, which you typically order at barbecue restaurants. Imagine eating both kimbap and barbecue at the same time! The roll is the standard seaweed and rice of kimbap, stuffed with a piece of cooked pork, a lettuce leaf, and a mildly spicy soy bean paste sauce—just like you would get at a barbecue restaurant.
That seems to be the only kimbap roll on the menu, but if meat isn’t your thing, The Bab’s serves an array of cup rice dishes, called cup bap, and noodle dishes, like ramen and udong. All of the food on the menu is just 3,000 won. There’s also free, self-serve soup broth to go with your meal in a crock-pot next to the door. They even have cup bingsu for 2,500 won if you’re looking for dessert. In addition to the self-serve water, The Bab’s has iced tea and lemonade for 2,000 won.
A very kind and helpful middle-aged couple runs the restaurant and makes all the delicious food. There are only seats for eight people inside, so it’s not somewhere you should go with a large group, but you can easily get takeout.
The Bab’s makes great food for lunch or dinner, and the restaurant is in a very convenient location right downtown. Go out of exit 5 at banwoldang subway station. As soon as you come up the stairs, turn right and go down the small street. If you are looking at it on google maps, the street is called “myeongnyun-ro 23-gil.” Continue walking down that street for just two minutes, and The Bab’s will be on your right. There’s a big, yellow sign above the door with the name on it in black lettering.