“必品阁 Bibigo”Healthy Korean Cuisine @世贸天阶 The Place

*Update: I plan on not continuing the star-rating as it is not a very accurate way to measure nutritional value of a meal. 

世贸天阶 or The Place is a new shopping center in the Beijing’s CBD. Its construction finished in 2009 & it is most known for having Asia’s the biggest LED screen. The shopping center’s location is great, although it doesn’t have a wide variety of restaurants (most were foreign & expensive).

In any case, we came upon a Korean restaurant w/ a cutesy name, “Bibigo“, that was also promoted as a “health food” restaurant. The fact that it was sponsored by CJ definitely caught my eye (it had better be good!)

Bibigo were definitely better known for their healthy bibimbap varieties. Each come w/ all sorts of fresh veggies & you can choose from 4 types of rice (purple, brown, white & mixed grain?) & 4 types of sauces.

I decided to be boring & chose kimchi stew:

bibigo2

bibigo

Kimchi Jiggae (stew)

TASTE starstarstar1432568863_star2blankstar

This kimchi stew is definitely no kidding. It tasted similar to jiggaes that I’ve had @Korean restaurants prepared by actual Koreans, or homemade ones. It was thick, full of flavor & had the right amount of spiciness.

NUTRITION starstarstarstarblankstar

As mentioned in my previous post, kimchi is a rich source of vitamins & gut-friendly probiotics. It is incredibly healthy. However, many of its nutrients will be destroyed in high heat. Hence, the healthiest way to enjoy kimchi is fresh. This, however, doesn’t make kimchi jjigae any less healthy.

Kimchi “jjigae” or stew is usually made by boiling slices of kimchi w/ either beef, pork, or seafood, tofu, spring onions & garlic. Water or anchovy stock is used. The stew is then seasoned w/ either “deonjang” bean paste, “gochujang” red pepper paste or haszing duu (spicy water) (source here). It contains plenty of vitamin B-rich ingredients such as anchovy, bean paste & kimchi, & mineral-rich ingredients such as meat & seafood. It is also low in fat. Warm soup is more easily digested & puts less work on your body’s thermoregulation system. Chili in kimchi jjigae also contains ~47% of daily recommendation of vitamin A per 1 tbsp (source here). Chili’s heat content also helps in clearing up nose or lungs congestion during a cold. Therefore, Koreans often recommend consuming hot soup during a cold.

Purple rice contain similar nutritional profile to brown rice i.e. vitamin B1, B2, folate acid & minerals like iron, zinc, calcium & phosphorus. What sets them apart is purple rice’s high levels of anthocyanin antioxidants, essential amino acids like lysine, tryptophan. Purple rice also contains ~2x the amount of iron, zinc & fibre found in brown rice.

This dish would’ve gotten 5 stars if it had more vitamin-rich vegetables (i.e. fresh or lightly cooked) & protein (it only had small amounts of tofu & few pieces of pork).

Overall, Bibigo is a quality restaurant that serves up healthy, tasty & (seemingly) authentic Korean cuisine in a sleek & clean setting. I have no doubts as to why CJ sponsored them. The downside was the fact that all the dishes were very pricey.

More info & map here: http://www.dianping.com/search/keyword/2/0_韩国菜%20世贸天阶

– Izzy