The Petits Chefs (and I) had a sort of a break this week… As in, we didn’t actually do any cooking. I know, right? But hey, with less than a week of school to go, I figured a fun field trip might be in order this Monday. When Sang Kim invited the boys to stop by Yakitori Bar/ Seoul Food (the two-in-one restaurant he had up and running in just 30 days!), I knew it might be just the ticket for this week.
We took a short tour of the tiny restaurant spaces of both Yakitori and Seoul Food and checked out the tiny kitchen that serves both restaurants. Needless to say we filled the spaces – they’re minuscule!
Yakitoir Bar is Toronto’s first full-service restaurant serving Japanese-inspired skewered meats and vegetables as its main menu offering. Interpretations of classic Korean comfort food and innovative sandwiches round out the menu and they also feature signature “yakitoris” by some of Toronto’s top chefs, who bring their own interpretations to this classic Japanese dish in the Yakitori Top Chef Menu.
What I was interested in checking out was Yakitori’s tiny sister take-out spot just behind the main restaurant – Seoul Food Company where the menu offers a “create your own bibimbap (which Sang bills as “a selection of second-generation Korean rice bowls”) experience, as well as signature sandwiches, soups and salads.
“Sang’s Kickass Kimchi” is also available for purchase at the Grab And Go counter. (The boys were very interested in this label…)
The bibimbap bowls offer the best available seasonal ingredients and various proteins served over a bowl of rice. These were inspired by Sang’s childhood growing up on his grandparents’ radish farm in South Korea where he watched his grandmother and seven aunts prepare fresh vegetable dishes that went into making bibimbap. Made with the freshest available produce according to the seasons, it embodies all that is flavourful and healthy about Korean cuisine.
Sang told us that there is something like 270 different types of sautéed, seasoned vegetables that can be served with bibimbap, including cucumber, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, spinach and bean sprouts which were all on offer the day we visited. The bowls are artfully arranged with the individual ingredients placed beside each other so it’s like a rainbow in your bowl. Sang explained that meats like chicken, beef or pork can be added and the bowls are often topped with a fried egg. It’s really a complete meal in a bowl.
I wasn’t entirely sure how the boys would react to building their own bibimbap bowls and eating them, since mostly for Petits Chefs sessions, the boys take the food home and eat it there. Or not. All I ask is that they try. One bite. So I was a little nervous that little eyes might be bigger than little stomachs and Sang’s chef was very generous as he served the boys according to what they picked.
I have to say, I was super impressed and super proud of what the boys chose and ate! Nearly every boy chose something they normally would not have chosen/ eaten and nearly every bowl was clean when we left. Some of the boys had seconds! Some of them just had a little bite of the “new” vegetable but that’s quite ok. Again, all I ask is that they try, right? But the amount of clean bowls was most definitely superior to those that weren’t. Win! I mean when CNNGo readers include bibimbap in their list of Readers’ Choice Top 50 Foods in 2011 (a list created in response to the official CNN Travel list of the World’s 50 Best Foods), you know there’s got to be something good about it!
The boys were intrigued and scared by the hot sauce that appeared with the food. It’s not overly hot, in fact, it’s got a little sweetness to it as well. Some of the boys really liked it.
Some of them drank rather a lot of water. And some of them learned that it’s not a good idea to pour the hot sauce over ALL the rice so that if it is too hot, you can sooth your burning mouth with some of the plain rice. Don’t say I don’t give the boys useful life lessons in our weekly sessions!!
(I learned that many of my students know all the words and moves of this video!)
Yakitori Bar/ Seoul Food Company
1 Baldwin St,
Toronto, ON M5T 1L1
Tel: 647 748-0083
Win a copy of Jennifer Perillo’s Homemade with Love (two copies available, worldwide!) Contest closes Tuesday June 11th 2013 at 6pm EST. Enter here!