01 December 2004

Samkak Kimbab

Samkak kimbab (삼각김밥) are triangular kimbabs typically found in convenience stores all across Korea. They make for an excellent quick snack.

Samkak kimbabs are a variation of the standard cyclindrical-shaped kimbabs (see earlier posts here and here). Interestingly, I've noticed that samkak kimbabs can only be had at convenience stores. The kimbab stores don't do triangles - so don't even bother asking for it - yeah I received a bevy of bewildered stares that day.

On a side note, a recent article in the Korea Times reported that there are approximately 8,100 convenience stores in South Korea. That's a whole lot of convenience.

There's plenty of fillings to choose from - chicken, beef, pork, tuna, squid, vegetarian and so on; and cater for most tastebuds - spicy, mild & non-spicy.

Each samkak kimbab is about the size of a fist.

This is the spicy tuna kimbab. KRW600.

This is the spicy chicken kimbab. KRW700.

Comes complete with instructions to unwrap. So that's what those sequentially-numbered arrows on the wrapper are for.

After much deciphering, I managed to figure it all out - 1, 2 and finally 3.

This takes the prize insofar as wrappers goes. The plastic is a complex fold of 2 layers, neatly separating the dry crisp seaweed from the moisture of the rice, so the laver (or seaweed as I prefer to call it) never touches the rice until you pull the wrapper apart. Even when you do, it doesn't unravel the seaweed wrap. Ingenious!

P/S : I've had other samkak kimbabs where the seaweed is in a separate plastic wrap, so you basically tear 2 wrappers - one for the rice roll and the other for the seaweed - and then assemble both yourself. The one above is so much better - it saves me 27 seconds.

The samkak kimbab unwrapped - and feeling somewhat embarrassed.

This is the spicy chicken. The chili does a splendid job at being spicy - just the right zing without being overpowering. There is also a touch of sweetness to the sauce (just sugar - nothing fancy) that takes some heat away. Chicken? More like minced crumbs of "chicken", but then again, you get what you pay for.

This is the spicy tuna. Tastewise, it's similar to the above.

Most samkak kimbabs go for about KRW500-KRW700 each, and on a good day, you may find between 6-10 varieties of these in any convenience store. You can eat them cold or pop them into the microwave oven for a few seconds. There's always a microwave oven at the convenience store if you need to.

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