I had such high hopes for Top Bap, with all the fresh veggies going into my Bibim Bap bowl: carrots, spinach, turnips, bean sprouts, and mushrooms. Topped with an over-medium egg and sprinkled with sesame seeds, the dish looked like a colorful work of art. My problem is gochujang, a spicy Korean chili sauce. I don’t know if it’s that my palate for spicy food is just developing, if it’s not a taste I prefer, or if the depth of my spice-wussiness won’t let me enjoy gochujang, but every time I have it, it seems to overpower any other flavors or textures happening in Korean food. I am not a fan of kim chee, I don’t like Korean BBQ (as evidenced in my review of Cha Cha Truck), and even the dollop of gochujang under my egg sort of ruined this beautiful Bibim Bap bowl for me.
When stirred up, it looked like to photo above. I did appreciate the crunchy veggies and the savory mushrooms, and the egg sort of oozing over the rice, but much of that yolky goodness was mixed into the gochujang sauce and lost.
On my second trip, I tried the Bulgogi with rice. This was a little more up my alley, but nonetheless quite boring. I would have liked at least one or two veggies to go with the beef. I gave away the side of kimchee, but I guess that would have been the veggie part of the meal.
I also decided to try the potstickers, which come in a choice of beef, pork, or chicken. I opted for pork. These were deep-fried and served with dumpling sauce. I usually prefer my potstickers steamed or pan-fried, but they were tasty. I suppose the food trucks around here deep-fry the dumplings because it’s much easier.
Perhaps my next order should be the Bibim Bap bowl with beef added and no chili sauce. That would probably be a good, filling meal that I would enjoy. Until then, Korean food will continue to confuse me. There are about three other Korean trucks on campus I have yet to try, so maybe one of them will change my mind about Korean food. As for now, I’m still on the fence.
Location: On Norris St between 12th and 13th St., in front of the Art building
Pay: Cash or Credit
Cuisine: Korean rice bowls
What I tried: Beef Bulgogi, Bibim Bap bowl, Pork Potstickers
Social Media: I found this confusing, even though Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram logos are plastered on the truck, I could not find any pages on any of the three social media platforms for the Top Bap truck. I also did a Google search and they do not have much of an online presence at all. This is always shocking to me when people do business these days without at least social media, especially a food truck where you can get so much more publicity. Perhaps word-of-mouth and the fact that they are situated in a spot full of hungry students is enough.