Sometimes Korean restaurants serve white rice in hot stone bowls—and sometimes, it’s a more mysterious, purplish mixture of rice and beans. The mixture of rice and beans is pat bap, says SeoulQueen—it’s considered healthier than plain white rice. “More unusual is ogok bap (a.k.a. chapgok bap), which is multi-grain rice,” she says. “I usually eat these types of rice in winter as they are heartier than white rice or brown rice. The ogok bap is traditionally served at the first full moon of the lunar year and consumed toward the end of winter to provide needed nutrients.”

Another Korean custom that is perplexing to outsiders is related by ritabwh: “At some restaurants, the waitress will spoon out the rice from the hot stone pot into a silver container, then pour tea into the hot stone pot. Why? This is “basically an old school way of scrubbing off the stuck-on crispy rice on the bottom of the pot,” says joonjoon. “Think of it like a deglazed rice tea.” This concoction, refreshing in its blandness, is called nurungji bap. “It’s just an extra rice porridge type dish for you to eat as it is supposed to have health benefits including aiding with digestion,” says SeoulQueen. “It is also eaten at breakfast.”

Discuss: Korean restaurants and rice

See more articles