Beef bulgogi

Ever since I came back from Korea, I’ve been missing the classic beef bulgogi.

This dish shows that the Korean cuisine, that I would usually describe as bold (strong fermented tastes, spicy dishes), can also be delicate yet still as flavourful. The dominant flavour would be soy sauce, but here it becomes quite sweet thanks to the fruit juices and the sugar. The garlic and ginger bring a bit of punch. Just add some spring onions by the end and it becomes everything you want ; salty, smoky, sweet, perfumed and fresh.

Beef bulgogi is at its best when barbecued, but you can pan-fry it (use a cast-iron pan if you can) as well.

Bon appétit !

Beef bulgogi – Recipe

Ingredients – Advice & key points

  • Be careful to account for the marinade time ! It’s best to prep this dish the day before you cook it.
  • Beef :
    • You can buy it pre-sliced at the frozen section of your Asian grocery store, if the store is large enough.
    • If you cannot find it, it’s ok ; you can easily slice the meat paper-thin at home ! You will only need to freeze your cut around 1 hour (maybe more, depending on its size) to make it easier to cut. It should be quite solid, but not rock-solid. I often do this even if I can get frozen pre-sliced meat, simply because it is easier for me to check the meat’s quality when I buy it from by butcher.
    • If choosing from a butcher, I recommend using a good cut of beef, like ribeye or tenderloin, but you can also use flank steak ; the marinade will help tenderizing it. It is important to choose a cut that is not too lean so that the meat remains tender.
    • Also, remember to cut against the grain to get a tender texture.
  • Nashi pear : You might find it at your Asian store if they have a fruits and vegetables section. Otherwise, replace it with red apple.
  • The remaining ingredients are either basic Asian pantry items or produce you can easily find at the grocery store.

How to eat bulgogi

  • You can eat it like me, wrapping your bulgogi in lettuce leaves, with some rice, Ssamjang and a bit of kimchi !
  • You can also make simple bulgogi rice bowls, which is what I do most of the time. Simply cook some Korean rice and pour over your bulgogi. This is easy to make and reheat for lunch or later use.

Let’s dig into it !

Beef bulgogi

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 20 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 40 mins
Servings: 3
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Sweet and savoury beef packed with flavour thanks to a garlicky and gingery marinade. 

The Koreans love it. I love it. I know you will, too. 



  1. Prepare your veggies & marinade !

    If not using pre-sliced beef, 45mn before you start prepping, put your beef in the freezer.

    Peel and cut in 2-3 chunks your pear, your white onion, your garlic and ginger.

    Peel and cut into thin strips your carrot. Thinly slice your green onion ; reserve.

    Add to a blender your pear, white onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar. Blend. 

    Add your sesame oil, mix. Add your carrot slices. Your marinade is ready ! 

    You can use a peeling knife to easily make thin strips out of carrots.
  2. Marinade your beef

    If not using pre-cut beef, cut your beef into paper-thin slices. 

    Add your beef to your marinade bowl. Mix well with your hands. 

    Let it rest, ideally overnight, but 1h will do. 

  3. Sizzle that beef !

    Heat up a pan to medium-high heat (ideally a cast-iron or stainless steel one), with your neutral oil (the oil should coat the bottom of your pan).

    Cook your beef, about 2-3 minutes per side. Don't overcrowd the pan if you want that nice sizzle ! I usually make 2 to 3 batches to get a nicely brown, caramelized beef. 

    Remove from heat, add your chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds if using.

    Serve with some hot white rice. If you want to, you can also serve with lettuce leaves, ssamjang and kimchi ! Yum ! 

    Et voilà !! You're done !

    You can use perilla leaves instead of lettuce leaves if you want.
Keywords: home made, beef, grilled, meat, comforting

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