5 Kimbap Varieties, K-fans Shouldn’t Miss

Who does not know about these delectable round pieces of art?

This yummy goodness is a picnic staple and a favorite Korean snack. 

Not to be confused with sushi, kimbap 김밥 is made with seasoned white rice with salt and sesame oil, spread thinly over lightly roasted seaweed, rolled with various vegetables and meat, and sliced into bite-sized pieces. 

The round-shaped kimbap has been around since the 1960s. As they are easy to eat, many Koreans have childhood memories of their mothers, preparing kimbap for their school trip.

The charm of this dish is that it can transform visually and can take on different tastes, depending on the ingredients used. For the same reason, the dish can come in different names.

Here are 5 of the most popular kimbap varieties.


  1. Chongmu Kimbap (충무김밥) 

This kimbap is Tongyeong's signature local food and is popular among many Koreans. Unlike the kimbap most foreigners are familiar with, this variety is just steamed rice wrapped in seaweed. It is served with squid radish and radish kimchi. 

It is said that a fisherman’s wife started making this kind of kimbap for her husband. She decided to separate the rice and other side dishes, as the harsh weather conditions at sea can easily spoil the kimbap if it is rolled with the sides.

One episode of the Korean TV show, 'Tasty Guys' (맛있는녀석들), showed four comedians/hosts enjoying every bite of  Chungmu Kimbap.


  1. Nude Kimbap (누드김밥)

How can a dish be nude? 

The standard kimbap that we know has seaweed on the outside, this one is rolled inside out. The seaweed is inside with the rest of the ingredients so it looks like it has no clothes, hence the name. 

If you have eaten California rolls then you have pretty much eaten nude kimbap as they are very similar. 


  1. Mayak Kimbap (마약김밥)

This strangely addictive kimbap, which is a hit in Gwangjang Market, has a little bit of radish, a few strands of carrots, spinach and is smaller in size. 

The name 'Mayak' which translates to narcotic in Korean is a drug-free kimbap so fret not. This kimbap got its odd name because of its well-earned reputation. Once people start eating it, they can hardly stop.


  1. Samgak-gimbap (삼각김밥)

This triangular kimbap variety is commonly sold in convenience stores around Korea and is said to originate in Japan. This is especially loved by busy students and office workers who don't have time to get a meal. 

The kimbap can have different fillings like gochujang bulgogi, beef pepper paste, spam, chicken mayo, seasoned chicken, kangi chicken, and many more. The most popular one is the classic tuna and mayo filling.


  1. Folded Kimbap (접는김밥)

If you have trouble rolling kimbap, this modern twist to the traditional kimbap is perfect for you. The folded kimbap, which became an internet sensation, is the latest Korean food trend.  It still uses seaweed as its base/wrap and is filled with rice vegetables, meat, kimchi, depending on one’s taste. 

Here’s a video showing how folded kimbap is made. 



Now did all that make you crave your favorite rice rolls? Why don’t you try making one and tell us about it.


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