Kimbap is, for many people in South Korea, a bit of a comfort food, often steeped in nostalgia.
For me, I remember every time I went on a school picnic to learn more about Korea we would have kimbap for lunch. I also used to have kimbap after school on the way home as a quick snack, or even have my Mom make it for me when I was studying late at night.
When I was younger the different varieties of kimbap was often limited, but these days there is a wide-range of fillings that can be put inside from tuna to beef, or roasted pork to spicy peppers.
Nearby me is a new location that is selling kimbap, a place called 동쪽살롱 (Dong jjok Sal-long). It translates roughly to East Salon, and as the shop is right next to the East Sea, it makes sense to call the shop that.
I had already walked by the shop a weekend ago when I went to Dunkin’ Donuts but didn’t stop in to get anything. This weekend I decided to walk back and give it a try.
I’m not sure why, but it seems like every weekend is now very windy here in Ulsan. In fact it was so windy that the owner of the shop had to lock the door to keep it from being blown open!
The store itself is very small, with just a little kitchen and prep area.
The menu for the location is likewise very small. They only have four different types of kimbap, along with a few other types of Korean rice dishes (Chobap).
They also sell some coffee and have a little espresso machine in the back.
Along the one wall, they have a large number of travel magnets and souvenirs, which means the couple that owns this location must have visited a lot of places! Their collection was very impressive.
After taking a look at the menu, I ordered one roll of their most basic kimbap, and another one with a much higher concentration of egg in it, which the menu said was suitable for people on a Keto diet.
The kimbap was already prepared, so the owner put two containers in a plastic bag, and I was ready for the walk back home.
After I breezy walk, I arrived home and unpacked the kimbap.
The two rolls looked very artistic! In fact the end pieces looked like some sort of flower or tropical plant! The variety of colors is something that I am always impressed with when it comes to kimbap, and the kimbap from East Salon is no different.
After admiring the presentation of the kimbap, it was time to taste the two different types.
There is actually very little difference in the flavors of the two types of kimbap.
The basic version tasted fine, although it seemed like the vegetables had not been dried enough as there was a lot of moisture coming from the kimbap.
The Keto version with the extra egg was more savory, although I have to say that the eggs themselves didn’t have any sort of special flavor. In fact I didn’t notice any flavor of sesame oil, which is usually a staple of kimbap.
One thing that is very interesting about East Salon is that they use pickled beetroot in their kimbap, which adds a very unique taste to their dishes. I really enjoyed this part of the kimbap and the creativity in using the ingredient.
By the time I had finished I thought that East Salon kimbap did a decent job with their food. I think that if it had been freshly prepared that it might taste better. The pickled beetroot was excellent however, and shows a great deal of imagination and thinking outside the box! The next time I’m going for a picnic near East Salon, I will stop in to try it again.