You may have heard of bibimbap, a Korean dish of rice, vegetables, and more. Perhaps your ideas were formed during a visit to Koreatowns in New York or California, cities abundant in tasty traditional Korean cuisine. Maybe you've even tried it in the motherland with an extra side of gochujang (chili pepper paste).
But odds are you have never tried anything like the bibimbap way out in West Kendall at Finka Table and Tap. A reinvented take on this “Seoulful” dish, the Cuban bibimbap bowl pays homage to its origins and its new home, Miami.
White rice sets the foundation to this massive bowl filled with vaca frita, black beans and maduros—all traditional Cuban staples—plus the signature ingredients in Korean bibimbap: zucchini, carrots, bean sprouts and kimchee, made in-house. Top it off with a fried sunny-side up egg and lo and behold this champion creation of Eileen Andrade, the mastermind behind Finka’s mission to fuse Cuban, Peruvian, and Korean cuisines.
The menu boasts other creative concoctions like kimchee shoestring fries, lomo saltado fried rice, and Islas Canarias ham croquetas pizza, an homage to the famed croquetas from Miami’s highly revered classic Cuban restaurant, Islas Canarias, which was started by Andrade’s grandparents and later owned by her parents.
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After closing CubanCube, a food truck that specialized in modern interpretations of traditional Cuban cuisine, she and her brother, Jonathan, decided to take the same concept of classic-turned-modernized dishes but with ingredients from three other countries (not just one) and open Finka, the Spanish word for “farm” spelled in a unique way. According to restaurant manager Leo Osorio, the concept, first inspired by Andrade’s trip to Northeast Asia, has been a hit.
“She traveled to South Korea and just fell in love with the cuisine,” Osorio said. “She came back and being from Cuban descent, her parents being the owners of Islas Canarias, she wanted a fusion of that: her love of Korean — or ‘Seoul’ food as she calls it — and her love of Cuban food.”
The cozy setting of a rustic Spanish hacienda, featuring brick walls, wooden tables and draped light bulbs also plays a part in this Cuban-Korean-Peruvian gastropub experience. So the next time you find yourself in the western part of Magic City, try the Cuban bibimbap bowl, or any other dish for that matter, for a multi-country adventure on a farm. And just like on a farm, everything is prepared using the freshest ingredients, Osorio says.
Plus, the bibimbap is big enough for two — or three. “It’s an amazing place to have a craft cocktail, craft beer, or to have a completely different food experience that people are not used to in this city,” he says. “[It's] something that many people know and love in Miami, like Cuban food, with a great twist.”