There is a new casual fast food lunch spot called Bibibop that is serving an excellent Bibimbap (4 NOMs), quickly making it a must-try place in the Washington D.C. metro area. This chain is quickly taking over the area by serving up a great lunch and dinner for all those hungry nomsters. In the past couple of months, they’ve opened several locations, so there might be one near you.
Bibibop may sound a bit like Shophouse, which recently closed all of its locations. Silver Spring Bibibop actually took over from Shophouse. Unlike the failed endeavor by Chipotle, Bibibop won our hearts and tummies in the first bite. So much so that we’ve already visited their locations three times in Rockville Pike & Rose and downtown Silver Spring. They might be new to the area, but they bring big competition, and all the other lunch spots should be worried. Bibimbap is coming for them! You can skip to the bibimbap review below.
In case you don’t know, bibimbap is a South Korean rice bowl dish that often served with different veggies, meats, and sunny side up egg on top. Let’s say we are big fans of this dish so we have high standards. At this place, they were able to capture the essence of this traditional dish and make it into a good fast food nomnom. Of course, this is not a high-end restaurant, so one has to remember they are eating at a quick-serve place. However, you won’t hear us say no to anyone who suggests going there.
How It Works. It’s Simple!
Let’s talk about the ordering processes, which are similar to many build-your-own fast food places. Start off by picking your bowl size with regular or small where small is still enough to fill you up. We’ve had a regular-sized bowl every time and never felt overly stuffed. You get to choose your base of either rice, purple rice, salad, or noodles. We just fell in love with their purple rice and ordered it with every bowl. A nice tip is that you can mix two bases together, like purple rice with noodles. Then you get a choice of different meats or tofu as well as other toppings like potatoes, daikon, kale and more. You must never forget an egg. One thing that is different is that the egg is diced and not sunny side up. It would be hard to make so many eggs, and trust us. It still tastes great. Those who are extra hungry can also order sides, like kimchi and edamame. The final step is to pick from several great sauces like cucumber Wasabi or Yum Yum sauce, which are our favorites. Don’t worry if you are not sure about your choice because all of the sauces are available for free so make sure to get a few to try. The saucier you get, the better. You can also get a bowl of free miso soup. Just in that rare moment, you might still be hungry.
Here are some of our creations from this place 🙂
Purple Rice with Tofu Bowl (5 NOMs)
Purple rice is like magic, and, surprisingly, this casual fast food place makes it on par with many other more fancy places. It goes well with any protein or sauce, and this time we went vegetarian with tofu. It doesn’t hurt sometimes to go outside the meat box. Their organic tofu is just as good as all the meaty goodness. The tofu is cut in a medium-size and fried, making it a little crispy without being too oily. We tend not to order potatoes very often, but here they are so good we just had to. Even if you add every single topping, you can still taste them. They are really worth it. We also added bean sprouts, daikon, cucumber, carrot, corn, cheese, and of course, eggs. Combined with all other toppings, our sauce of choice here is Korean Red. It’s red for a reason because it has quite a kick to it. So make sure not to add too much.
Rice and Noodle Chicken Bowl (4 NOMs)
If you can’t make up your mind, have no worries – mixing is allowed. Putting purple rice and noodles together, for example, makes for one great bibimbap lunch bowl. Their purple rice is so addictive that we ordered it again and again. Though this time, we wanted to try something new, so we added the noodles. You aren’t charged extra for ordering two bases, and you might get a bit extra food. We went with the standard toppings like carrots, kale, cucumber, red cabbage, cheese, and eggs. Never forget an egg when it comes to ordering bibimbap. In another bowl creation, we also tried the potatoes, which were great. That’s one of the things we like about this place so much: even with so many toppings together, and you can still taste everything. Everything is portioned the same, so no ingredient overpowers the other. You might not taste the kale since it has a smaller flavor profile, but we eat it more for health reasons than taste. While we went with the Yum Yum sauce, which is very light and creamy, we also added Cucumber Wasabi for that nice extra kick. That might be one of the best sauces you will ever taste. The two sauces went so well together and made the dish so much better. Still, everything tastes so good, and you might not even need any sauce. But we love our sauce!