There’s a new fast casual chain called Bibibop and it’s great for people who watch blood sugar.
I discovered the restaurant (think of a Chipotle for Korean food) when I was in Columbus, Ohio, this week for my son’s college orientation. It was dinnertime, I was hungry and I wanted something no-fuss and healthy. I walked into a light, airy little place with a minimalist design and blond wooden booths.
It took about five seconds to understand the concept: Start at the beginning of the long food bar, and tell the server how to create either a bowl, salad or wrap.
So many healthy choices! Bibibop, a play on the name of the Korean rice dish bibimbap, offers a salad, white or purple (!) rice as a base, followed by “hot toppings” of black beans, bean sprouts and cooked potato chunks. Then comes the choice of proteins — regular chicken, spicy chicken, steak and tofu. Next – choose what you want from eight cold toppings: daikon, cucumber, shredded carrot, chopped kale, more lettuce, corn, grated cheese and shredded eggs.
After creating a bowl, top the bowl with a sauce: yum yum, teriyaki, cucumber wasabi, or sesame ginger.
It’s simple to cut a lot of carbs by choosing lettuce as a base. I added some black beans for a serving of high fiber healthy carbs and also a small spoonful of corn for color. I asked the server to pile on the carrots, kale, daikon and cucumber. As requested, the server used a light hand with the yum yum sauce.
My bowl was very pleasant and filling. The spicy chicken was moist, with just a hint of heat. All toppings were fresh.
My bill was under $10 dollars, for the bowl and a Diet Coke. The reasonable cost was helpful; I went back with my son the next day for lunch (yep, three Bibibop bowls in 18 hours.)
Would I race to go to Bibibop? No, but I wouldn’t race to Chipotle, either. I consider both “fast casual” restaurants that are perfect for the times cooking from scratch seems like a drag and there’s no time or money for a big restaurant meal.
Bibibop accomodates everyone – the meat eaters, the vegetarians, the Paleos, the Weight Watchers and of course, the blood sugar watchers. Flexibility is part of the concept, so no one has to put any effort into special instructions, which can be a pain.
Bibibop, started in Colunbus four years ago, now has 27 locations across the country. I’m looking forward to the time one comes to my suburban neighborhood.