I’ve had Korean food before, but mostly in the form of delicious pickled vegetables, noodles, and kimchi (a famously fermented, spicy cabbage). Hearing that I’d never had a very popular dish called, Bibimbap that consists of an extremely hot stone pot filled with rice, vegetables, meat, and topped with an egg, my girlfriend insisted that I try it at Sun and Moon in East Providence, RI. The meal did not disappoint and I have a new “go-to” dish when I find myself lucky enough to eat some Korean food.
Sun and Moon
95 Warren Avenue
East Providence, RI 02914
Atmosphere and Service:
From the outside, Sun and Moon looks a little divey and it isn’t on a very well populated street. As I’ve come to discover though when it comes to a lot of ethnic food, the outside appearance of a restaurant doesn’t have much to do with the actual quality of the food.
As we entered, the main entrance portion of the restaurant was a little cramped and not easy to stand around while waiting a few minutes for a table. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for the restaurant, they were pretty full that night so we had to sit in the “outer room” next to the kitchen instead of the main dining room. That was fine with me although the seating felt a little cramped. It was fun watching the chefs cook and to get first crack at all of the delicious smells coming from the kitchen.
The service wasn’t especially notable because it wasn’t good or bad. Just pretty standard and solid service. Our food came out at a decent pace and we didn’t feel rushed, so everything felt pretty comfortable.
We didn’t really get much to drink, but we did try a Korean beer called Hite. I’d had it before at a party, so I knew what I was getting into. It is a light beer with a striking similarity to Bud Light in both look and taste although with a bit more beer flavor, which made it like a better Bud Light. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m all for Bud Light now and then, so I’m not knocking it. Sometimes it’s just what you want for a quick, cool taste of beer on a hot day. After a little bit of research, it seems that even thought Hite tastes a bit like a Bud Light, it packs a few more calories. It’s about 155 cal per 12 oz. or 355 ml. instead of Bud Light’s 110 calories.
As a start to our meal we were provided with a bevy of pickled vegetables that were absolutely wonderful. I love pickled vegetables in general, but many of these had very distinct flavors that weren’t like common dill pickles. Some of the pickled vegetables were sweet, while others were spicy, and some were just simply pickled without much fanfare. In the picture below we had from left to right: pickled celery (plain), pickled cucumbers (sweet), and kimchi cabbage (spicy). They were also accompanied by a soy-based sesame dipping sauce.
Since Sun and Moon was new to me, I wanted to try an appetizer. In hindsight, the pickled vegetables and a main dish were plenty, but I didn’t regret the appetizer. We ordered a Korean Pancake with vegeatbles, which is really mostly egg, but mixed with a bit of flour to form a giant, thick omelet, and it tastes exactly like that. The vegetables (mushrooms, onions, etc) were cooked, but still somewhat crunchy/firm and the egg batter tasted spongy in texture, but full of flavor. It was a very nice, but very filling appetizer (as you can see below, we couldn’t even really dent it).
Finally, the course I’d been waiting for all night: Bibimbap (Carrot, Zucchini, White Radish, Bean sprout, Fern, and Spinach, all over rice served with a spicy homemade sauce then topped with an egg). I ordered the Bibimbap in the optional sizzling stone pot (highly recommended for the ultimate experience) with Bulgogi (marinated rib eye beef). When the dish came out and the bowl was audibly sizzling up a storm, I knew I was in for a treat.
The first thing my girlfriend told me was to break the egg yolk and to mix everything up. However, I was not to scoop too deep because it’s desirable to let the rice at the bottom cook against the stone pot to get really crispy. I followed her instructions and began my descent into deliciousness.
The dish ends up looking like a mess, but all of the ingredients meld wonderfully to instill a variety of textures linked by a uniform flavor created by the sauce and egg. I had to be careful while eating though because the bowl was absurdly hot and therefore the food was also really hot. I burned my mouth a couple of times, but it was worth it. As anticipated, as I neared the bottom of the bowl, I set aside my chopsticks (I was a trooper until that point), grabbed a spoon and started to scrape down the sides of the bowl to get at all of the wonderfully crispy rice. This was like finding a prize at the bottom of a cereal box when the cereal is already amazing.
If you don’t mind traveling to East Providence and sitting at a somewhat cramped table, then I highly recommend Sun and Moon for your Korean food needs. Delicious food at an affordable price. I would stop in just for the pickles alone, but go ahead and get your stone pot action on for the full effect.
A montage of the Korean training scenes from the first “Best of the Best” movies (jump to 2:21 for where it gets really intense!).