Koreans have long savored the combination of Bap (cooked rice) and kimchi at the table, but it was only after the 1930s that kimchi fried rice emerged on the culinary scene. This was because modern frying pans made it possible to fry finely chopped kimchi and rice in oil.
Bap, Kimchi, Oil and the Frying Pan
Korean-style fried rice was born after Chinese fried rice and Japanese Omurice became popular in Korea. Inspired by these foreign dishes, Koreans created Kimchi-bokkeumbap by making use of their national dish. A simple plate of Kimchi-bokkeumbap on its own, cooked with aged, sour kimchi, balances the greasiness of the oil and results in a delicious one-dish meal. This is part of the truism that Bap and kimchi alone can serve as a meal for Koreans. Kimchibokkeumbap is the perfect answer when nothing else is in the fridge, when you’re feeling lazy, when nothing seems appetizing, or when there’s leftover rice lying around. If a meal consists of just rice and kimchi, it might be too bare. But Kimchi-bokkeumbap transforms two basic items into a complete stand-alone dish with great flavor and visual appeal. This is why Kimchi-bokkeumbap enjoys an enduring popularity in Korea. Kimchi-bokkeumbap in Full Extravaganza
In early 1990s, Cheolpan-bokkeumbap stands were all the rage. The customer selected a few ingredients, and the chef fried them with rice on a flat iron plate, drizzled some sauce on top, and served it on a plate. Kimchi was the ingredient of choice for a majority of customers. So kimchi became the default ingredient, and customers simply picked out the additional ingredients from a selection of meats, vegetables and seafood
The Master Key to Hansik Pantries : Kimchi
Kimchi appears as a side dish in nearly all Hansik settings and serves as a culinary silver bullet, freely crossing the border between main courses and side dishes. When used as an ingredient, it can be converted into a variety of new dishes, harmonizing together with Bap, Guk, Jjigae, Tang, Jeon, Jjim, Jorim, Bokkeum and Jeongol.