밥버거 or Korean rice burger
Have you ever tried a “Korean rice burger”? Lotteria, a Korean fast food chain, introduced its rice burger a few years ago. It’s “Veggie Rice Bulgogi” burger has rice buns (with bits of veggie) plus a “bulgogi” patty, pickles and lettuce. It currently sells for 3,900 won (less than 4 USD).
A few months ago, two “bob burger” restaurants opened in our neighborhood. Rice is 밥 in Korean and is Romanized as “bab” or “bob”. The “bob burger” is a fusion-style burger. Their sandwiches range from 1,500 won to 3,500 won.
The “bob burger” doesn’t have the ordinary beef patty in Western style burgers. Instead, they use different Korean meat filling like:
– dried anchovies or 멸치 (myul-chi)
– pork cutlet or 돈까스 (don-kas)
– spicy pork stir-fry or 제육 (je-yuk)
– Korean meat loaf or 떡갈비 (tteok kal-bi)
– spicy chicken or 닭갈비 (dak kal-bi)
– bulgogi or 불고기 (bul-go-gi)
The rice buns are mixed with shredded “kim” or dried seaweed and sesame seed. The condiments used are sweet pickled radish or 단무지 (dan mu-ji), chopped peppers, sauteed kimchi, and you can even have cheese!
I tried the “bob burger” last week and I ordered one of the specials ~ the 3,500 won Bob Burger Special 1. It has 떡갈비, 제육 and tuna. It only took the “ajumma” two minutes to prepare the four-inch “bob burger”. Yup, it was really thick and I’m glad I took it home because it would be impossible to eat it with hands without making a mess.
So how was the taste? It was pretty tasty and I ate the whole thing. The 떡갈비 was sweetish as expected, but the 제육 and the kimchi were spicy. The spiciness was mellowed down a bit by the 단무지. If I could compare it to a Filipino food, the 떡갈비 tastes similar to a sweet meaty longaniza.
Will I have a “bob burger” again? You bet. The Korean rice burger is more filling like a meal compared to the traditional hamburger. I might also try to make my own at home.
There are different “bob burger” restaurants in Seoul. I will try the other store next time.