By Ada Li
Tired of eating at the same restaurants on Green Street? Need something new, satisfying, quick and semi-healthy? Ditch Green Street and head on over to Jipbap Taste of Korea, which offers a unique, Korean twist on the concept of rice in a cup, or cupbap. You read it right – a cup! The cup’s anatomy from bottom to top consists of rice, a salad mix, japchae (sweet potato noodles), topping(s), sauce(s), and sesame.
Jipbap is a counter service restaurant, which means you walk up to the cashier to place an order, pay, and they’ll call out your number when your order is ready. The guy at the counter answered my questions regarding the menu and was very polite. From their menu of 17 different cupbaps, I ordered the “Spam and Pork Cup Bap” with spicy sauce. If you prefer your cup to be less spicy, just let the cashier know. Besides cupbap, Jipbap offers pho, vermicelli, spicy rice noodle salad, dumpling salad, mini kimbap, samgak kimbap and assorted fries. There is a free water station to the left of the counter, but you can also purchase soda, bottled water and other drinks.
Since this is a counter service restaurant, you must serve yourself – so before sitting down, don’t forget to grab napkins and utensils which are located between the water station and the counter.
The food was ready within 10 minutes, which felt pretty quick – but then again, it was past the afternoon rush. Before digging in, I evaluated the cupbap’s aesthetics. Because of the way the food is layered inside the yellow logoed cup, the things you’ll most likely see are your topping(s), sauce(s), and a little of the salad mix peeking through. Depending on what you ordered, it may not be Instagram worthy. Aesthetics aside, be sure to mix everything within the cup thoroughly to distribute the sauce(s) as evenly as possible, otherwise certain bites will taste kind of bland.
The spiciness from the spicy mayo really worked with the sweetness from the teriyaki sauce drizzled on top of my “Spam and Pork Cup Bap.” Both the spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce flavored the rice, salad and japchae as well as elevated the taste of the already seasoned spam and pork. Not to mention that the meal itself didn’t taste greasy or heavy at all, because the rice, salad, and japchae offset the heaviness from the meat and sauces. The salad mix tasted fresh even though I am not a fan of salad mixes, and the sauce mixture helped with that. The pork is marinated to the point of working with the sauces, and the spam is fried just the right amount. For the price of $7.95, this meal satisfies both the taste buds and the stomach. However, if you’re looking for leftovers for the next day, you won’t have any.
I will definitely go back to try the other cupbaps that Jipbap offers, especially when I’m hungry and need something quick and satisfying.
All images courtesy of Ada Li