Japanese people don't eat sushi and tempura every night for dinner. Chinese moms don't make all types of dim sum each morning to serve their families for breakfast and make kung pao chicken and mushu pork for dinner at night. And when it comes to Korean food, galbee (marinated short ribs) and bulgogi (marinated thinly sliced steak) cooked on a tabletop grill, lots of little tiny bowls and plates of bahn-chan (various marinated or seasoned vegetables and meats), and maybe a jji-gae (hot pot) or naeng-myun (cold buckwheat noodles) to round out the meal isn't an every night dinner. In fact, that kind of meal might not even be eaten once a week. Unless you're the King of Korea, that is.
The food we eat at home doesn't always make it onto the menus at the big Korean restaurants. It's similar to the way tuna casserole doesn't make it onto the menu at American restaurants - it's just home cooking. Well, actually, there is that trend of retro home-style comfort foods, so I wouldn't put it past someone to come up with a $45 "ooh, fancy" tuna casserole - homemade papardalle and seared Ahi tuna in creamy white cheddar sauce.
No, Korean home cooking is just the simple stuff that can be cooked quickly and cheaply, and sometimes it does make it onto the menus at Korean cafés, which serve simpler, much more casual foods. Like an osteria. Like bistro foods. Like a bar. It's not exactly chicken wings and french fries (though both usually are found on Korean cafe menus), but many things with rice, tofu, and kimchee. Like kimchee-dooboo at Bohemian - which I will make someday, but better
Kimchee bok-keum bahp is a home-style and café food. Usually at home, it's a way to use up kimchee before it gets too ripe to eat (at which time, it get dumped into a big pot and turned into kimchee jji-gae). Bok-keum means sauteed or fried and bahp is bahp and that is steamed rice if you're only halfway through Korean 101. ;) So essentially, kimchee bok-keum bahp is fried rice with kimchee, and yes, all those stories about Asian restaurants - today's leftover rice is tomorrow's fried rice - is totally true and totally applies here.
This poor little jar of kimchee in my fridge is really about two days from fermenting into spicy cabbage wine, so thank god for kimchee bok-keum bahp. Here's a nasty little sercret - kimchee bokkeum bahp tastes infinitely better when cooked with *gasp!* chopped Spam, but since I didn't already have Spam on hand and the point of kimchee bokkeum bahp is to use leftovers, I got to use frozen leftover galbee. *phew*
Meat and chopped kimchee sautéed together along with any other vegetables that may be occupying refrigerator real estate (I had none, not even onions, because, well, I haven't been to the market in days!), then some day old (at least) rice added, a dash or more of soy sauce for seasoning, additional kimchee "juice" from the jar - and "kimchee juice" just sounds so nasty but it tastes great :). I always add an egg - I'm not sure why. The egg doesn't do much, but that's what Mom did, so I do it to. Push all the rice to the side of the pan, scramble the egg right there next to the rice, then stir it in. At the very end, it has to be hit with sesame oil and sesame seeds.
Of course, like all foods of that sort of function like fried rice, omelettes, and casseroles, there are infinite variations (like bacon or tofu - don't ask me, that's only what I've heard) but this is the Delicious version!