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Bibimbap: The Power of Variety and Harmony

By Elie Choe

Age Group: Middle School

Bibimbap is as famous as Bulgogi in Korea , and they have been very popular among Koreans since a long time ago. Bibimbap is a delicious meal,but a lot of people outside of Korea may not know much about it. In my writing piece I am going to tell how bibimbap is prepared, why I like it, and how it is connected to my everyday life today.

Although bibimbap’s most common ingredients are carrots, mushroom, cucumber, soybean sprouts, and spinach, bibimbap's ingredients often change depending on the family’s tradition. Sometimes you may even change the recipe a bit because you can’t find one of the ingredients available. Making bibimbap can be more handful than how it looks. You first make steamed rice and fry or steam the vegetables based on what the vegetable is. A lot of people start with cucumber so that it has time to marinate with rice vinegar. My mother uses rice vinegar and salt. The salt squeezes the water out of cucumbers so it doesn’t make the bibimbap watery. Bean sprouts are steamed. You can also add a toasty sunny-side-up egg to add a finishing touch.

My mother has made a lot of different types of bibimbap since I was little. I’ve always enjoyed bibimbap because of its taste and color. Before my mother mixed all the ingredients, I liked the circular look of vegetables surrounding the egg yolk which is cooked as sunny-side-up. I didn’t particularly like vegetables when I was little, but I soon learned to enjoy it. You can taste all the vegetables with the egg and rice at the same time! I also think the way of making bibimbap is so cool. You could make so many different types of bibimbap and still taste really good.

Lastly, I think bibimbap represents my school and America. I think one commonality among my school, America, and bibimbap is made out of a variety of origins from all different cultures and environments , and still they are unique in their own way. There are many cultures in my school. Students, teachers, and staff are Indian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, German, Russian, Hebrew, and much much more! Each type of vegetable in the bibimbap represents the different races in my school. And when the bibimbap gets mixed, that represents how the different cultures come together. In my school, everybody gets along no matter their heritage and be kind about their heritage too. And not only is there heritage, but also there are different genders. But even now, there is still some unfairness in the world. “Black” people are getting underestimated, and “black” people’s wages can be lower than those of “whites”. Bibimbap is like a symbol to me. A symbol that no matter what race, culture, or gender,
everybody can live in peace and happiness.

This is how bibimbap is made, why I like it, and how it is connected to my everyday life. But out of all of these reasons, I hope that our community will establish peace and try to continue to be kind and fair to others. Maybe someday, there will finally be a world where nobody is ever put lower than others just because of their race.

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