There’s a little mom-and-pop Korean restaurant on Foster in Chicago called Banpojung that makes
delicious really good dolsot bibimbop (the Korean fried-rice esque dish served in a stone bowl). The stone bowl is left in the oven until it reaches roughly the fires of Mordor. Then, when someone orders the dish, they remove the stone bowl, add sesame oil, rice, veggies and meat and serve it to you still at the fires of Mordor. Don’t touch the bowl. I’m serious.
If you have mixed your rice correctly, you should end up with a little something like this:
In other words, the best part. With other restaurants sometimes you get lucky and you can scrape a few pieces off the bottom that look like this. Here, the entire bottom of the bowl is like that. The method is to mix everything together and push it to one side. Then eat a little bit, and push it to the other side. That way, you allow air to get into both sides, helping to crisp the rice. If you leave all the rice on top, it stays soggy and doesn’t get as crispy.
At Banpojung, you also get a nice assortment of Korean “appetizers,” such as the Pa Jun, a scallion/vegetable pancake served with a soy-based dipping sauce:
and all the side dishes:
I also like to order the rice cake soup with dumplings when I go (Dduk Guk):
The owners are always really nice, the food is really good and the restaurant is always spotless! They also usually have a humorous Korean TV show on in the background to distract you from your friends and family (this may or may not be a bad thing at times).
If you live in Chicago, like Chicago, have always wanted to go to Chicago, have a craving for Korean food and are in/around Chicago, hit up Banpojung.