Watch how kimbap is made

I finally got my hands on the elusive Trader Joe's frozen kimbap that exploded in popularity last fall after folks couldn't stop praising it on social media. Apparently, the hype was so extreme that folks were stocking up and even causing a ruckus at some stores. A few months ago someone who works at Trader Joe's begged people on the Trader Joe's subreddit to please be civil:

Opening the floodgates lol- Please don't fight over it. Stores in my area are on a case limit of two a day. So if you get it you get it, don't buy 12. Like it's good but not sell your firstborn good. Don't ask them to hold you some cuz they won't. Remember to play nice.

I've been looking for it for months, asking the poor Trader Joe's workers at my local store almost every time I visited if it was in stock. I even searched for it recently when I visited my son in Silver Lake, to no avail. I was beginning to think the delectable treat didn't actually exist, and just when I gave up—there it was! I put a couple in my basket and hurried home to try some.

Was it "sell your firstborn good"? Well, no, but I wouldn't sell my firstborn for anything. Was it delicious and totally worth the four-dollar price tag? Absolutely! I loved it. It was totally worth the wait! You just pop it, frozen, into the microwave for a couple of minutes and you get a yummy snack. Plus it's all vegan, and has a delicious sesame flavor that nicely complements the slightly sweet tofu and veggies in the center.

On the Trader Joe's subreddit, a kind user also shared a cool video that they stated was from the production facility in Korea that makes the Trader Joe's kimbap. It's fun to watch! I think my favorite part is when the kimbap gets sliced into even pieces. 

Trader Joe's describes its kimbap and its supplier:

Known in Korea as gimbap, from gim for "seaweed" and bap for "cooked rice," kimbap is similar to—but decidedly distinct from—a mega-sized maki sushi roll. Whereas maki is typically made with vinegar-seasoned rice and focuses on one filling (like a single variety of vegetable or fish), kimbap is made with sesame oil-seasoned rice, and can contain all kinds of combinations of savory fillings. Trader Joe's Kimbap, for example, takes a veggie-forward approach. Our supplier, a kimbap expert in the Republic of Korea, arranges an assortment of sauteed greens, crunchy root vegetables, and crisp pickles around a base of braised tofu, wraps it all in a layer of rice and seaweed, then slices it into two-or-three-bite-sized rounds.

When viewed in cross section, our conveniently quick-cooking Kimbap resembles a marvelous, multi-flavored mosaic. After cooking from frozen for a mere two minutes in the microwave, it can be enjoyed hot or chilled, served as an entrée, side, or snack. While it's flavorful enough to hold its own as a dish, it also accessorizes well with a bit of Sriracha, Gochujang Sauce, or Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce. For an even more satisfying textural dimension, we recommend giving each piece a quick pan-fry: two minutes in hot oil per side ought to do the trick.

If you don't have a Trader Joe's you can also get a variety of fresh and frozen kimbap at your local Asian grocery store. I'm heading there next to see what I can find!

Previously: Sarah and Nam Soon Ahn, of `Ahnest Kitchen,` review Trader Joe`s new ready-to-eat kimbap