Bibibop – Westwood

Bibibop Asian Grill opened last week in Westwood, taking over the location previously occupied by ShopHouse. Much like the previous tenant, Bibibop is an Asian take on the build-your-own bowl concept made popular by Chipotle, but this time with a Korean flavor.

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This chain, which started in Ohio, emphasizes how healthy their food is – organic tofu, purple rice (a mixture of black and white rice) and no artificial coloring. Oddly enough, Bibibop was started by a Korean guy that created the Charley Subs chain (he also happens to be named Charley).

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As with other build-your-own bowls, you can choose your base from rice (purple or white), rice noodles, salad or a combination thereof. From there, you choose a protein, hot toppings, cold toppings and finish it off with a sauce. There’s even free miso soup to go with your bowl, available for you to serve yourself.

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My husband got the tofu bowl with purple rice, bean sprouts, potatoes, carrots, daikon radish, eggs, kale and cucumbers, drizzled with a sesame ginger sauce.

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Organic Tofu Bowl

The kimchi was on the mild side so he kicked it up a notch with the addition of Korean Red sauce, adding some heat.

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Tofu Bowl

When it comes to spicy food, I am a complete weakling, so I was a little hesitant to try the spicy chicken. Then again since the chain started in Ohio, I figured that it might not be that spicy. The guy behind the counter described it as a “5 out of 10” on spiciness. After trying a sample, I learned it was only slightly spicy, and once it was mixed with other items, probably wouldn’t cause me too much distress.

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Spicy Chicken Bowl

I likewise opted for the purple rice as a base, along with some salad, bean sprouts, carrots, kale, corn, cucumbers and topped it off with the “Yum Yum” sauce, which was described to me as “creamy” and their most popular.

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Purple Rice!

As far as authentic Korean food goes, Bibibop’s is probably what you would expect Korean food from Ohio to be –  less garlicky and less spicy. This bowl was about my speed – it tasted good, was filling and didn’t have me feeling like garlic was coming out of my pores. I especially liked the look and texture of the purple rice.

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Chicken and rice

For kids (or those with smaller appetites), there’s a small bowl for a couple of bucks less. My daughter went with the basic chicken and whit erice with teriyaki sauce – a very kid-friendly dish with not one vegetable in sight (sigh).

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Bowls at Bibibop top out at $8, making it slightly cheaper than the Mediterranean bowls at Cava, a few doors down the block. If you’re in the mood for authentic Korean food, head to Koreatown, but if you’re looking for a healthy bowl with an Asian flavor that won’t have you reaching for mouthwash, check out Bibibop.

Location – 1059 Broxton Ave., Los Angeles 90024. Additional location on Beverly, with locations in Santa Monica and Hollywood opening soon. Also outside California in Ohio, Illinois and Washington D.C.
Website – http://www.bibibop.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No, but they have small bowls which are perfect for kids.
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes

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