Name the three burnt food smells you hate the most.
Mine are popcorn, broccoli and rice.
Remember before microwaves had the “Popcorn” button and that bag would cook 30 seconds too long and, no matter how hot or cold it was outside, every window and door HAD to be open? Ahh, good times …
Alas, that’s not the kind of burnt they’re going for at Burning Rice. Your nose doesn’t reject the air the instant you walk in. Quite the opposite, actually.
The recently opened Burning Rice in Addison, at 5000 Belt Line Road, is one of six North Texas locations serving sizzling stone bowls of bibimbap.
Bibimbap [BEE-bim-bap] is a staple Korean dish. "Bibim” means hashed or chopped food and “bap” is rice.
Burning Rice is a fast-casual restaurant; you order at the counter, then they bring your food out to your table. Friendly faces greeted me the day I walked in and they were more than happy to guide me through the menu of many choices.
The first step involves choosing a type of bowl: regular or a hot stone setup. The latter costs $1 more but is highly recommended because the concept is based on the very function of the hot stone. It brings the whole dish together. (The stone bowl sits inside a wooden box, so it's not easy to burn yourself.)
Then, you pick your ingredients, starting at the bottom with the type of rice, which includes white, brown, vegetable stirred or kimchi stirred. Next, is a protein layer of beef, pork, chicken, tofu or shrimp. Then you add toppings: a variety of vegetables, fish cake, kimchi or "everything." All of that is topped off with an egg cooked however you like.
After placing my order, I walked around a corner to see a complimentary salad and soup bar. A bit of their creamy sesame dressing over a small bowl of vegetables and a bowl of miso soup meant I took half my bibimbap home for later.
A few minutes later, my stone bowl arrived sizzling, making more racket than a bowl of Rice Krispies. I leaned in to try to decipher a code, but got nothing. The sound is simply the hard work of the hot stone, toasting the rice at the bottom. It also kept the food hot for the entirety of the meal, which was magnificent on a cold day.
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Digging through the mound of food, my spoon eventually found the stone bottom and that was the fun part.
The emanating heat gently sizzled the rice, giving it a slightly crispy texture, but not burnt, like you forgot about the rice on the stove. Nay, the textured rice mixed with the tender meat, kimchi, egg and all the other toppings, plus a little hot sauce, made each bite unique and satisfying.
Burning Rice has gone all-in on their online ordering system, which I haven’t tried, but it seems well-organized. So, there's that option if you want to flaunt your tech game to the lunch line. However, it took only about five minutes to get my food. They have big booths in the back and an overall comfortable dining area.
Burning Rice, 5000 Belt Line Road, Suite 310, Addison. Open daily 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.