Below, a full meal of Beef Bulgogi, kimchi, ramyun, donkatsu and fried dumplings from K-Bop. Daily Record photo by Celeste Holliser
Foodie Friday: K-BOP
Bon Gu and his wife opened their cozy Korean restaurant, K-Bop, on Feb. 28, 2020. Situated in the tree-lined center along with Torchy’s Tacos and Smoothie King, the close-to-campus location is an ideal spot for college students wanting to swing in for light, high-quality Korean-style cuisine that is many miles healthier than the standard fast-food fare. In addition to the college crowd, K-Bop’s menu of large-portion bowls and kimbop rolls appeal to a broader dinner crowd as well.
Two weeks after opening, the quarantine hit. With limited indoor seating and no drive-through, Mr. and Ms. Gu worried about how they would survive the lockdown. A San Marcos-based engineering firm, Freese and Nichols stepped in to build the open-air patio on the broad sidewalk out front, giving K-Bop another resource for serving their customers.
Six months later, K-Bop is still thriving. The bright and comfy dining room has re-opened, the patio is still shady and cool, and the little Korean restaurant is a great spot for a quick lunch, a dinner date, or a study group complete with dumplings and frozen bubble tea.
What to order:
Kimbop is a Korean-style roll much like sushi, with rice and vegetables rolled up inside a salty sheet of seaweed. Served in Korean school lunches and available in Seoul convenience stores, kimbop is a delicious and healthy finger food you can take anywhere. K-Bop has several options, from tofu and house kimbop rolls — excellent for hikes and picnics — to the tonkatsu kimbop, which is topped with mayo, eel sauce, and shredded cabbage. While eel sauce may not be traditional Texas fare, give it a try. It is savory and tangy, and when combined with the mayo, a perfect counterpoint to the crispy-fried pork inside.
According to Mr. Gu, the beef bulgogi is their most popular menu item, and it’s not difficult to see why. “The best seller is beef bulgogi,” Mr. Gu said. “It is totally on top of sales and the other food cannot compare sales-wise.” Beef bulgogi is steak sliced super thin then marinated in a lightly sweet but savory sauce. This is then layered over rice and stir-fried glass noodles, with a pan fried egg on top, with a drizzle of mayo and eel sauce.
Mr. Gu recommends his favorite menu item, the peppery-spicy ddukboki bowl. K-Bop’s ddukboki features thick, chewy rice cake noodles, ramyun noodles, fish cake, egg, cabbage, and dumplings tossed with a spicy house sauce. This bowl is perfect as an appetizer or for sharing with friends.
Every soup on K-Bop’s menu is a rich, warm comfort food. From the hearty Kimchi Jjigae — which is a hot, spicy stew with kimchi, tuna, Spam and sausage topped with a fried egg and seaweed — to the Make Your Own Ramyun option which allows for a variety of toppings including seafood, jalapeno, or cheese, you’ll definitely find something to satisfy any craving.
K-Bop also features a full menu of green, milk and frozen bubble teas in case you’re in the mood for something sweet.
When you go:
K-Bop is located at 301 N. Guadalupe St., Ste 164
•Phone is 512-749-9007
•Hours are Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Closed on Sunday
•For online orders: kbopstx.com
•Dine-in, takeout and patio seating available.
•This was a to-go order. Due to the coronavirus, please check ahead of time for availability and hours of service.