Bibimbap happens to be one of my favorite dishes of all time. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of trying this delicious meal, bibimbap is a signature Korean dish, that literally means “mixed rice.” It’s served in a hot bowl with warm rice, and other ingredients, including an egg. Since the bowl comes out sizzling, you mix it all together, cooking what’s inside.
There are a few places to get bibimbap in Philadelphia, Giwa being one of my favorites. But when I walked past Bop one day, I knew I had to go in and check it out.
Located on Broad Street, at the front of the Bellevue, this new restaurant has an extremely sleek all-white interior, and offers seating outside with a great view of City Hall. Owners Brent Celek (Philadelphia Eagles tight end) and Hee “Chino” Chang also own Prime Stache, located in Old City. They wanted to open a restaurant serving up Korean-inspired small plates. The name of the restaurant, “bop” translates to rice in Korean. For starters, we’d recommend the KFC Wings– Korean style double fried chicken, cucumber kimchi, and soy garlic glaze. Be sure to ask for extra napkins, however, because these babies sure get messy. They’re super crunchy, and while they are double fried, they’re not at all oily.
We’d also recommend the Cheesesteak Eggrolls -caramelized vidalia onion, cheese sauce, and gochujan ketchup. We know what you’re thinking- “this is a Korean restaurant, why would I get a cheesesteak dish?!” Trust us when we say you want them. The ketchup has a bit of Sriracha mixed in, and adds a new flavor level to this Philadelphia staple.
Other starters include Mandoo – beef, pork, vermicelli noodles, and soy dipping sauce, Korean Chicken Nachos – wonton chips, queso fresco, pickled sishito peppers, onions, scallions, guacamole, and sour cream, and Edamame Ravioli. It’s clear there’s a Korean twist on all our favorites.
Looking for a lighter dinner? Bop offers up four different salads, ranging from a Chopped Salad, to a Brussel Salad. We opted for the Chopped Salad, made with purple & Napa cabbage, julienned carrot, cucumber, daikon radish, soy bean sprouts, spiced honey roasted peanuts, sesame roasted nori, Korean pear, and rice wine vinaigrette. You can add chicken, shrimp, or salmon to any of their salads.
However, the highlight of the dinner was definitely the bibimbap. Bop offers three selections, Bulgogi, Grilled Chicken Bibimbap, or Mushroom Bibimbap. The Bulgogi is definitely the more traditional of the three, served with sliced ribeye, Korean bbq marinade, zucchini, carrots, spinach, bean sprouts, and a fried egg. Naturally, this is the one we selected.
Be careful if you order one, they really do come out piping hot! When mixed together, you could really taste the flavors of this Korean dish. My favorite thing about bibimbap is when the rice on the bottom gets super crunchy, almost burnt from the hot bowl. It adds a nice texture to the dish, and adds to the flavor.
If you find yourself craving Korean food, and you’re in the neighborhood, we’d definitely recommend giving this place a try. The vibe is awesome, and the food was pretty good too.