No, this technically isn’t a North Korean restaurant — I think it’s safe to say that all Korean restaurants in Toronto (or any city, really) are South Korean. But I painstakingly researched how the cuisines in North and South Korea have diverged since their split in 1945, and I tried to order a dish that’s closest to what North Koreans actually eat.
Actually no, I didn’t do that at all; I just went to a Korean restaurant and ordered what looked good. Because I’m lazy, you see.
I ordered the Chaban Dolsot Bibimbap (it’s always a safe bet to order a dish that features the restaurant’s name). For the uninitiated, bibimbap is a dish in which plain rice is topped with various vegetables and meat, an egg, and is usually served with a tasty Korean hot sauce called gochujang on the side.
This particularly version is served in a piping hot stone bowl (which is where “dolsot” in the name comes from), which makes the rice along the edges delightfully crispy.
I’m generally a pretty big fan of this dish, and this might just be the best version of it that I’ve had. It has a really nice balance of flavours, and just the right amount of kick from the hot sauce. It’s one of those dishes where every bite is a little bit different. It’s pretty great.