The 'kimbap' in Korea is like the PB&J of the East. Business people eat it on the subway on their way to work; moms pack it in school lunches; friends bring it to social gatherings. And why not? They're nutritious, they travel well, and hey! Who doesn't like to eat with their hands?!?
The kimbap consists usually of rice, meat or fish, egg, and a host of veggies all wrapped snuggly in a layer of rice and a seaweed wrap. But the true beauty of this wonderful food is the diversity. You can put anything you want inside! And I mean ANYTHING! From easily recognizable foods like carrots and cucumbers to the more fanciful pickled burdock root (aka yamagobo or the orange carrot-looking thing at sushi restaurants), the list is endless! As an extra fun time, set it up like a taco bar and let everyone choose their own filling!
Just a word about seaweed. While the actual seaweed is vegan, I've learned the process by which they collect the seaweed can often lead to small fish being stuck inside such that the strictest of vegans do consider this to be a non-vegan item. As such, I found a wonderful soy wrapper substitute by Yamamotoyama. They come in different flavors (and fun colors!) such as tumeric, paprika and spinach!
Foods I like to use:
Spinach: I like it Korean style when it's sauteed with sesame oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, sesame seeds.
Pickled burdock root
Fresh or fried tofu
Sesame leaf: I use these to layer on top of the soy wrapper before I put the rice. It protects the wrapper from getting soggy from the rice (especially when it's freshly cooked).
Once you got your filling, just roll it up like a taquito (I would have said burrito but I didn't want people to fold in the ends). You can cut it up into little disks or eat it as is!
So play with it! Make it your own! And tell me your best creations!