TJFLR – Bibimbap Bowl – Fine If You’ve Never Had BBB

3 Oct

Trader Joe’s is admirably taking on the task of mass-marketing niche ethnic foods for the middle class market of captive desk lunchers. Unfortunately, they are doing so with a supply chain that does not seem to cross streams at all with the ethnic foods they are trying to mimic.

Mimic is probably the right word to describe TJ’s frozen Bibimbap Bowl. Ubiquitous at Korean restaurants, every family has their own spin on BBB since you can throw almost any veg in it. Correction: any KOREAN-seasoned veggies. TJ’s version tastes like someone had read about BBB in an old book, was trapped in a Midwest grocery store, and this was their best effort considering they had never tasted gochujang.

Nutritionally, it’s not terrible. 600 calories because it is mostly rice. But, crazy, look at all that salt!

It’s a little spinach, bulgogi, sautéed carrots, and some weird dehydrated egg powder. The surprise is that the meat is not absolutely terrible. There’s only a couple tiny bites, so you have to make them count.

The egg powder is just sad. It makes you feel like you’re in prison and really highlights that you don’t get a real fried egg.

The veg are really sad. There’s so little of them and they don’t taste even vaguely Korean. Here’s a hint: they’re supposed to taste like sesame oil.

And the gochujang, not surprisingly, does not taste like gochujang. It’s sweeter, like a catsup, but does at least have a hint of sesame taste to it.

And this is what it look like mixed up.

What a bummer. A $4 bibimbap would be a great thing to have as a staple desk lunch. But this just makes you sad to live in ‘Merica and sad for TJ’s.

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