Monday, January 17, 2011

Bibimbap and Korean tacos (Giwa)

돌솥 비빔밥 (dolsot bibimbap)

Yo, Koreana... I'm really happy for you and imma still eat at your restaurant, but Giwa in Center City has some of the best Korean food in Philadelphia of all time! Since the beginning of the year, when I found out about this restaurant that serves up Korean tacos, I've been itching to go have a taste. Unfortunately, due to my immensely busy schedule (i.e. my inability to efficiently manage time between class and food), I never got a chance to until last week, because, you know, I figured I should probably go get me some Korean tacos before the world ends in 2012. I'd be really sad if I died without ever having known the taste of Korean tacos. For shame. Anyway, after talking about this place for damn near four months, my expectations were obviously getting a bit out of control, like a teenager and hormones... and something bad happens? It was basically to the point where there was so much hype that I expected it to suck. Fucking (adjective... not verb) tacos. It's serious business.

Ha, I bet you thought after the jump I'd talk about tacos. Nope, I don't give it up that quickly. First we're gonna talk about their dolsot bibimbap. Now with 25% more SUPER STEAMING action. That's how you can tell it's hot. I actually burned myself on the pot trying to take pictures, but that's not what's important. What is important is that they make a fantastic bowl of spicy rice and other junk. By which I mean bean sprouts, carrots, greens, and beef.

All mixed

After you pour in your desired amount of sauce (all of it), you get to stir like a champ. Until your arm gets tired. Then you switch hands and go at it with your other arm, until that one gets tired too. End result... a beautiful bowl of red rice and some other stuff that people like to eat. By which I mean bean sprouts, carrots, greens, and beef.

It's so crispy!

But none of those things are important. The only thing that you need to know is that at the bottom there exists a layer of rice unrivaled in flavor and texture. It's soaked in a pool of all the remnant sauce, and it's crunchier than a Crunch bar (those aren't actually that crunchy...). It is the greatest single bite of rice dish I've had for a long time. And it was good. At $10.75, I was somewhat filled with rage when I was paying, but by the end of the bowl my anger had disappeared. This pot of fiery crunch (and other junk!)... it is le beautiful ಥ_ಥ.

Korean pork tacos

And then I had tacos! I know what you're probably thinking. Why would anyone eat a full meal consisting of a giant bowl of rice, then follow it up with more food? Because. They're Korean tacos. You don't say no to tacos with spicy marinated pork inside. So I obliged. At two for $5.95, I again felt slighted. That's three tacos from Mr. Don Memo. Their tacos are the bees knees. Was I going to be filled with an inappropriate amount of food related rage?

Delicious innards

Nah, this stuff is premium. Legitimately delicious. They're actually stupid simple in concept... you take plain soft tacos and fill them with a sweet and spicy Korean marinated pork (which separates like a more solid pulled pork), add in some lettuce, onions, cheese, sour cream, spicy cabbage, drizzle it with some lime juice and cilantro, and bam. Genius in wrap form. Douse it with some of their curiously red spicy sauce and it's basically like Mexicans and Koreans are having a party in my mouth... with pinatas and kimchi. So... while I don't enjoy paying $18 for a meal, ever, this place is definitely worth it. If it weren't 18 blocks away... Koreana would be in real trouble.


Barrett said...

can you put the addresses of the restaurants you review that don't end up on AHT?

Nicholas said...

Barrett - oof. Yeah sure! I never had a habit of doing it before because most of the stuff I wrote about was in Taiwan, but yeah I'll do that from now on.

Sue said...

Hell yeah, the crunchy rice on the bottom of the stone bowl is totally the best part!

Antoinette R. Banks said...

love to see one on vegan food!

Nicholas said...

Sue - I try to burn all my rice for that awesome texture, but I can never replicate it. MUST BUY STONE BOWL.

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