Why is this called a “Bibimbap Burger“? Bibimbap (비빔밥), as you all probably know, is a Korean dish of rice, vegetables, and meat that is mixed with a gochujang (고추장, red pepper paste) based sauce right before eating. “Bibim” means mixed, and “bap” literally means rice, but can more broadly mean food or meal. There are no set rules what goes into bibimbap or bibimbab, but most commonly you’ll find rice, vegetables, beef, an egg (sunny-side up with a runny yolk), a dollop of gochujang sauce (usually a combination of gochujang, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil), and a good drizzle of sesame oil.
The Bibimbap Burger ($12) at Social Eatz, the latest restaurant helmed by Top Chef alum Angelo Sosa, is a burger with pickled carrots, cucumber, and mung bean sprouts, shredded lettuce, red onion, Sriracha-mayonnaise, and a slow-cooked egg. What is bibim about it? Not much except the julienned carrots, cucumber, and sprouts that is marinated in a gochujang pickling liquid. In fact, when eating the Bibimbap Burger, it reminded me more of a Korean salad sandwich (샐러드빵; most often made with a mayoriffic filling of eggs and various vegetables such as cucumber and cabbage) than bibimbap.
But this is by no means a diss on the Top Chef’s Bibimbap Burger. I liked the burger a lot. I wouldn’t call it the “Greatest Burger in America” as Eater did, but it was very good, very flavorful. There was hardly any heat, which was unfortunate, but I liked the pickled vegetables, the sauciness from the egg yolk which runnethed over after one bite (a fork and knife works best), and the hamburger patty which was cooked exactly as I requested (medium-rare). The name is slightly problematic, but after a bite you realize it’s not too important. My biggest issue is the name of the restaurant itself. Why is Social Eatz spelled with a “z”?!