About Kimbap

Seaweed Rice: Kim = Seaweed (laver) bap = rice

Also spelled gim bap, gimbap, gimbab, gim bab, gimbop, gim bop, gimbob, gim bob, kim bap, kim bab, kimbop, kim bop, kimbob, kim bob.

Often called Korean sushi, Kimbap is a Korean dish made up of seaweed, seasoned rice, and an assortment of other ingredients usually formed into a roll, then sliced and served. The ingredients included in the roll can be almost anything, but the most common are cucumber, fishcake, some type of meat or sausage, imitation crab, spinach, danmuji, and egg.


There is a lot of contention about the origin of Kimbap. Many believe that kimbap is simply a Korean riff on sushi stemming from the Japanese occupation of Korea. Another take is that kimbap is an evolution of kimssam, a rice and seaweed wrap.
In all probability both are correct, given the long history of both peaceful and violent contact between Korea and Japan. Ssam has been recorded in references as existing from the time of Goryeo, and the use of laver as early as the Silla period. The use of laver as a wrap probably transferred from either Korea or China to Japan, where it eventually evolved into sushi, and was then transferred back to Korea as that form.

Styles and Types of Kimbap

There are three main styles of kimbap, and within each style there are numerous types or variations. The three styles are

  • Traditional – the familiar roll of kim, rice, and fillings.
  • French or Nude kimbap (누드 김밥) – an inside‐out roll, with the seaweed on the inside and rice on the outside.
  • Samgak kimbap (삼각김밥) – a triangle-shaped kimbap sold in many convenience stores in South Korea.

Some Specific Types

The types of kimbap are usually identified either by an ingredient in the roll, or by a specific region.

  • Chungmu Kimbap (충무김밥): Kimbap made with rice as the only filler. Named for the seaside city of Chungmu where it originated, Chungmu Kimbap is
  • traditionally served with side dishes of kolddugi muchim and mukimchi.
  • Chamchi Kimbap (참치김밥): Usually filled with tuna, marinated sesame leaf, mayonnaise as well as other ingredients.
  • Soegogi Kimbap (쇠고기김밥): Kimbap with beef as the meat filling.
  • Kimchi Kimbap (김치김밥): Features kimchi as one of the fillings.
  • Chijeu Kimbap (치즈김밥): Kimbap with cheese as one of the fillings.
  • Sangchae or Saelleodeu Kimbap (생채김밥/샐러드김밥): Kimbap with fresh salad greens and dressing.
  • Yachae Kimbap (야채김밥): Vegetable fillings with no meat.
  • Nalchial Kimbap(날치알김밥) Kimbap with flying fish roe as a filling.