Dolsot Bibimbap at Dong Yang Oriental Food: 100 Favorite Dishes, No. 31

Dolsot bibimbop: the food pyramid in a stone pot

Dolsot bibimbop: the food pyramid in a stone pot

It may be true that fast food provides you the most calories per dollar. But you are paying for processed fat and starch flavored to taste acceptable to the tolerant palate. If you are looking to fill up on healthy and full-flavored real food, look no further than your nearest Korean joint. Korean food gives you the most bang for your buck when it comes to nutrition, variety, and flavor.

Go up to Hill Top, where you'll find an unassuming Korean grocery store called Dong Yang Oriental Food. Head to the self-service cafeteria in the back of the store and order a dolsot bibimbap. The hearty bowl of rice, vegetables and meat sizzling in a stone pot will blow the socks off of any value menu.

[jump] Here's what you do.

Take a look at the menu board like the one similar to that of any takeout Chinese place. Go up to the counter and order the #4. While the cooks start to assemble your banchan and heat up the stone pot for your bibimbap, pour some weak tea and water in the Styrofoam cups provided. Don't forget to grab some chopsticks, spoons, and small bowls for your table.

In no time your banchan will be on the counter. Even in this no-frills cafeteria you'll receive four little plates of Korean side dishes for free. Bring these back to the table first. Go back to the counter to get your dolsot bibimbap and be careful carrying it back to your table. The stone pot is weighty and very hot.

Take a moment to enjoy the variety of goodies in the sizzling pot. On top of the bed of rice are carrots, sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, slices of beef, a fried egg, nori seaweed, and julienned cucumbers. As the word "bibimbap" literally means "mixed meal," you are to mix all this up before digging in.

Here's the trick to mixing dolsot bibimbap: Wait at least three minutes before you mix the contents. That allows the bottom of the pot to brown, creating tasty bits of crisp rice laced with fragrant sesame oil that's been rubbed on the stone pot. Head over to the refrigerator next to the entrance, in which you'll find rows of Mountain Dew and a squirt bottle filled with gochujang, savory Korean hot sauce. Take the bottle to your table and squirt it directly on top of the bibimbap. Once you've waited three minutes, mix the whole thing with two spoons, scrambling the runny fried egg in the stone pot.

Now just eat to your heart's content. The entire meal, including banchan and tea, costs $9.99. The self-service style cuts the cost of tip, allowing your stomach and your wallet to remain happy and full.

Dong Yang Oriental Food
735 45th Ave NE, Hill Top
763-571-2009; no website


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No. 34: Travail's Fried Chicken
No. 35: Hmong Village's stuffed chicken wings
No. 36: Cafe Maude's Now You Know
No. 37: Urban Eatery's Asian pork sliders
No. 38: Isles Bun & Coffee's puppy dog tails
No. 39: Surdyk's Flight's chicken báhn mì
No. 40: Sunny Side Up Cafe's Santa Fe Railroad French Toast
No. 41: Szechuan Spice's chicken with double chili pepper
No. 42: Dancing Ganesha's Chicken 65
No. 43: Bradstreet's Black Walnut Old Fashioned
No. 44: Wakame Bistro's Crazy Lobster Roll
No. 45: Brit's Pub Scotch Eggs
No. 46: Peninsula's chili tofu
No. 47: Annona Gourmet's balsamic vinegars
No. 48: Cocina del Barrio's jalapeño poppers
No. 49: Papa's Philly Cheesesteak
No. 50: Swede Hollow Cafe's caramel roll
No. 51: Thomasina's cashew brittle
No. 52: Patisserie 46's Rory Cake
No. 53: Il Gatto's Ravanelli
No. 54: Mandarin Kitchen's seafood and tofu hotpot
No. 55: The Inn's Polish Delight cocktail
No. 56: Gopher Bar's Coney Island dog
No. 57: Holy Land's hummus tahini
No. 58: The Sample Room's wild mushroom ragout on polenta
No. 59: On's Thai Kitchen Nam Thok
No. 60: Flamingo Restaurant's vegetarian combo
No. 61: Sea Change's Brioche Pain Perdu
No. 62: Haute Dish's "Steak & Eggs"
No. 63: Tremblay's Sweet Shop salt water taffy
No. 64: Bars Bakery's Turtle Bar
No. 65: Pizzeria Lola's Lady ZaZa Pizza
No. 66: In Season's fried oysters
No. 67: Cave Vin's steak frites
No. 68: Everest on Grand's cabbage and potatoes
No. 70: Surly Coffee Bender
No. 71: Quang's bun tom xao
No. 72: YoYo Donuts' maple bacon doughnut
No. 73: Cupcake's mini cupcakes
No. 74: Willy D's ribs
No. 75: Salsa a la Salsa's Fried Chocolate Truffles
No. 76: Anodyne's Artichoke Melt
No. 77: Origami's steamed duck
No. 78: B.T. McElrath's Salty Dog bar
No. 79: Mozza Mia's house-made limoncello
No. 80: Salty Tart Bakery's pastry cream-filled brioche
No. 81: Little Szechuan's bamboo tips with chili sauce
No. 82: Oceanaire's Jumbo Lump Crab Cake
No. 83: Aperitif's Nonni's Meatballs
No. 84: Christos's Saganaki
No. 85: Seven Stars' Sesame Bagel
No. 86: Hell's Kitchen Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes
No. 87: Blackbird banh mi
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No. 92: Bread & Chocolate's Fabulous Fudge Bar
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No. 95: Fuji Ya's Tofu Don
No. 96: Ike's Food and Cocktails The Weekender Bloody Mary
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