What I Got: KOBA Bowl with pan fried tofu and multigrain rice base – Mixins: carrot, shiitake mushroom, bean sprout, eggplant, bellflower root/doraji, fernbrake root/gosari, edamame, egg strips, cucumber, kimchi   Toppings: sunny side up egg, furikake   Sauce: sesame oil, sriracha   Dessert: Sweet Rice Punch

Price: $ (considering the portion)

Location: NYC


KOBA Bowl – The KOBA bowl is a customizable rice or salad bowl.  You get to choose the base, mix-ins, a main, extra protein (extra cost), toppings, and sauce.  The multigrain rice base has a nuttier, earthier taste than white rice that perfectly compliments the other ingredients in the bowl.  The tofu is perfectly crisp on the outside with a more neutral flavor that blends with the explosion of flavor from the mix-ins and sauce.  

The mix-ins are the most exciting part.  There are twenty options, and you can pick an unlimited number.  I recommend getting no more than eight mix-ins, so you get a nice amount of each ingredient.  My favorite combination of mix-ins so far has been cucumber, doraji, gosari, egg strips, eggplant, shiitake mushroom, kimchi, and edamame.  The eggplant and mushroom are cooked to tender perfection.  The edamame and cucumber add freshness to the warm bowl. The kimchi is quite spicy.  I prefer not to add sriracha if I order kimchi as a mix-in.  And let’s not forget about the doraji and gosari.  These are roots used in traditional Korean food, and they add incredible texture and flavor to the bowl.  My favorite is the gosari which is a darker brown color.  It adds an earthy, subtly salty flavor.  The gosari is soft, without being chewy, and has a wonderful, interesting texture that enhances the experience of the bowl. I can’t do it justice simply describing it. If you haven’t yet, you must try gosari for yourself.  The doraji has a similar texture to a cooked carrot and a slightly bitter flavor.  It adds another texture to the dish while the subtle bitterness gives a depth to the flavors.

The toppings make the bowl even more special.  The sunny side up egg is cooked perfectly and rests on top of the bowl in yolky glory.  It makes the bowl. The furikake is the perfect salty seasoning to top it all off.  I love adding sesame oil for its nutty flavor and sriracha for some spice.

Overall, the KOBA bowl is a fun explosion of flavors and textures.  The portion size is quite large, and the price for the amount of food is great.  There is no extra cost for the mix-ins no matter how many you choose (except for the avocado of course).  I’ve yet to find another customizable bowl with as many “free” add-in options.  I highly recommend getting a KOBA bowl and exploring the many mix-ins (and enjoying that gorgeous egg).

Sweet Rice Punch – The punch was different than anything I’ve ever had.  It is very sweet, but it really does taste like rice.  It contains real and artificial sweetener, so I found there was a very slight artificial sweetener aftertaste.  The punch was a very fun, interesting treat. There was even actual rice at the bottom!  If you like rice pudding or horchata, I would definitely give it a try.

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