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New Korean restaurant on South St. serves up simple, straightforward bibimbap

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BAP Bibimbap

Rating:
Star3
Star
Star
Star
Star

BAP Bibimbap on South St. has a small menu, four items to be exact, and it's all bibimbap. There's veggie, beef, chicken and tofu, and for the rest of December, all you'll pay is five dollars.

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The brightly colored hole-in-the-wall has only been open for three weeks, and it's run by an older Korean man who is beyond friendly. He keeps the menu small, he said, because it's just him and the restaurant's still new. However, the menu will expand as soon as next week, when he adds a traditional Korean beef soup to the lean menu.

I stopped in last night with two friends, and we each sampled the soup. Made with beef stock, beef, scallions and shiitake mushrooms, the soup is earthy and satisfying, especially on a cold winter's night. And the bibimbap was equally satisfying.

My two friends ordered the beef, and I opted for the tofu. The beef was seasoned well and tasted more savory than sweet. The tofu was also well seasoned, not oily and cut into perfect bite-sized squares. Both bibimbaps were loaded with veggies; the carrots were crisp, the cold cucumbers slightly sweet and very refreshing, the shiitake mushrooms plump and earthy, and the bean sprouts plentiful. Chili paste came right in the bowl with all of the above, and it provided just the right amount of heat, although I could have done with more. All in all, it wasn't the best bibimbap I've ever had, but it was still delicious and definitely cut the craving. And at five bucks a bowl, you can't go wrong.

To drink, I suggest the traditional Korean tea. It's homemade with cinnamon stick, ginger and light brown sugar. I had it cold, and it was refreshing, spicy at the end and not too sweet. I bet it's also delicious hot.

The space is teeny, with only one two-seat table and one four-seat table. So don't plan on going there with large parties, although they do offer take-out.

While I'm only giving this new spot three stars, I will definitely go back any time I'm craving Korean; Korean is hard to come by in South Philly. Plus, if the menu keeps expanding, I'll need to go back and sample everything, right? Right.

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