Nowadays, kimchi bokkeumbap, or kimchi fried rice, has become everyone’s regular order at their KBBQ joint. It’s spicy, packed with flavor, and has the perfect amount of acidity thanks to its star ingredient, kimchi.
Like many Asian fried rice recipes, Koreans make this dish when they’re in need of a quick meal and are working with what’s in the fridge. Rice and kimchi are staples in every Korean kitchen—and today, the same can be said for most Filipino foodie homes. With the infinite rise of K-Pop and Korean dramas, it was only a matter of time before SoKo cuisine seared itself into the palates of countless Pinoys.
But we’re going to let you in on a little secret. Making kimchi bokkeumbap doesn’t mean you have to hoard Korean ingredients—besides kimchi, of course, and maybe some chili paste. Beyond the namesake fermented cabbage, this dish can be mixed with Filipino favorites you already have at home. Keep reading to find out how to make your own kimchi fried rice recipe with local flair.
Spam a.k.a Luncheon Meat
Loved by Filipinos and Koreans alike, Spam adds a savory kick to any meal. Naturally, Spam kimchi fried rice caters to those who crave strong seasonings. The luncheon meat gives the rice a salty nuance but is balanced out by the sour freshness of the kimchi, so no element is overpowering. Combing diced Spam, gochujang (sweet and spicy chili paste), and a sunny-side-up egg results in a holy trinity of flavors. And if you’re feeling extra inspired, crush some dried seaweed and sprinkle generously.
The best thing about this fried rice recipe is the accessibility of all its ingredients. They’re in any Korean grocery, if not already in your pantry.
Every Pinoy knows that adobo tastes better the day after. Grab any leftovers and pan-fry them quickly to activate the flavors and crisp up the pork. Add in the kimchi and spoonfuls of gochujang, then toss in your rice. To complete your stir-fry, season with more kimchi juice, sesame oil, and spring onions. Optionally, you can garnish with sesame seeds and nori, but only if you have them on hand. The result: a sizzling, umami-packed fusion dish even your lola will love.
Crispy Chicharon and Garlic Bits
The ultimate toppings of our beloved arroz caldo make incredible add-ons for kimchi fried rice. Crushed chicharron delivers satisfying crunch and meatiness, while toasted garlic brings devilishly good zing. However simple you may find these ingredients, they instantly level up your stir-fry.
Another great addition to this recipe is a touch of mayo. Mix Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise with gochujang and add to the rice while still in the pan. This will separate the rice grains and provide a creamy element, made even more decadent with the ooze of a runny egg.
Longganisa is, for many of us, the epitome of Filipino breakfast. A staple in every Pinoy household, these juicy sausages fill the air with their fragrance and our bellies with their heartiness.
Adding longganisa to your kimchi fried rice makes the dish sing with salty-sweet notes. And since there are so many varieties, from de recadoto hamonado, this recipe will taste new and exciting every time. Not to mention, garlicky—whatever your favorite longganisa is, it’s guaranteed to be allium-packed. Just fry up the sausages, slice and dice, and then pile them high over the fried rice.
As you can see, kimchi fried rice is a playful recipe at its core. Easy and oh-so-versatile, it adjusts to whatever you have on hand and makes cooking pretty much effortless. Try it and tell us which of these toppings win the game!