Happy Bibim Bap House

Winner of several 2014 Best of the Mid-Valley awards, the Happy Bibim Bap House is a wonderful addition to Salem downtown dining options.

We went on a Friday evening and while busy, there were seats available. The staff are friendly and helpful, and the food is delicious! We've been there once before and loved the Korean style spare ribs.

Within minutes of being seated, we had in front of us their standard fare of pre-meal treats. While some restaurants serve bread or tortilla chips, at Happy Bibim Bap House you get a variety of pickled veggies! Each offering has its own unique flavor and texture profile. Here we have (clockwise from top right) cucumber, broccoli, eggplant, and everyone's favorite: kimchi

Along with the above, we were also served a section of warm green-onion pancake:

After nibbling on the veggies while reviewing their extensive menu, my wife decided on the #4 House Special Combo Box. The menu says: "All combinations are served with a sushi roll, steamed rice and an Oriental salad." However, what was actually included in this feast was much more! Clockwise from bottom right we found: the main component, Saeu Tigim which is crispy shrimp and vegetable tempura, then a nice green salad (a word to the wise: ask for no dressing, if you are not a fan of Thousand Island), 4 veggie sushi rolls, plus 4 potstickers, and some white rice (brown rice available). Also included is a small dish of savory dipping sauce. The sushi and potstickers were yummy (best poststickers in town, according to my wife!) and the tempura was light and flavorful, while still being crispy and crunchy -- in a word: perfect. 

I opted for their signature dish, the Happy Bibimbap. I was enjoying the veggie vibes, so stayed with that theme, although meat options are available as well. The condiment which came with it had a nice mild heat with a little sweet/sour action going on. From the picture below you can see the julienned carrots and zucchini, as well as the broccoli, some other greens, and a couple different types of sprouts. All the veggies were cooked just right (enough body, but not underdone and not soggy). What you can't see is the generous portion of rice in the bottom of the bowl under the veggies.

While we enjoyed our meal, the owner came and checked on us, refilling some of our pickled veggies. When my wife commented the kimchi is the best she's ever had, we were gifted with not only another small dish, but a small to-go container of kimchi as well as a new small dish of savory pickled potatoes!

I had enough food left over from my Happy Bibimbap bowl to take home so it made a wonderful breakfast before my Saturday morning run!

As our plates were cleared and water glasses filled one last time, we rested and reflected on how wonderful our meal had been, thinking it could not get any better. Then this happened:

Delicious and refreshing, juicy orange sections deftly peeled and beautifully presented with large grapes and a fun umbrella.

And, as an added bonus we somehow received 10% off our bill -- I guess they were having some sort of Friday night special!

We can't wait to go back and sample some of their other wonderful offerings!

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