Bulgogi: Everything You Need to Know About This Classic Korean Dish

A tasty Korean dish that’s simple to prepare and even simpler to consume.

Those of you who enjoy Korean food are certainly familiar with bulgogi.

Bulgogi, Korean grilled marinated beef

This well-known dish is a mainstay in Korean restaurants and is gaining popularity elsewhere in the world.

We’ll go into detail about what bulgogi is, how it’s cooked, and what makes it so tasty in this article.

What is Bulgogi?

In the Korean delicacy known as bulgogi, thin slices of marinated beef are grilled or fried.

Korean Beef Bulgogi with White Rice

The terms “bul” and “gogi,” which both imply meat in Korean, are combined to form the phrase “bulgogi.” Hence, bulgogi literally translates to “fire meat”.

Soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and other items including pear, apple, and onions are frequently used in the marinade for bulgogi.

These ingredients give the meat a delightful sweet and savory flavor while also helping to tenderize it.

Bulgogi can be enjoyed on its own or wrapped in lettuce leaves, and it is typically served with a side of rice and vegetables.

It’s a dish that is adaptable and may be eaten as a main course, in a sandwich, or as a garnish for bibimbap (a Korean rice dish).

How is Bulgogi Made?

You’ll need finely sliced meat to prepare bulgogi. The best cuts are brisket, ribeye, and sirloin.

Fried pork with spicy korean sauce (bulgogi)

The beef is then marinated for several hours or overnight in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and other spices.

The beef will become more tasty and tender as it marinates for a longer period of time.

After marinating, the beef is cooked through on the grill or in a skillet. Some individuals like to pan-fry their bulgogi for a crispy texture, while others like to grill it for a smoky flavor.

In either case, the outcome is a tantalizing dish that is sure to impress.

What Makes Bulgogi So Delicious?

Bulgogi is a wonderful and well-liked dish due to a few factors.

Traditional Korean Bulgogi dish

The marinade is important first. The beef has a sweet and delicious flavor that is difficult to resist because to the mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and other components.

The method of cooking bulgogi is another element that enhances its flavor. High heat results in a flavorful caramelized crust on the steak, whether you grill it or pan-fry it.

Last but not least, one of the main reasons bulgogi is so tasty is because the beef is so soft.

The meat becomes exceptionally soft and juicy thanks to the marinade’s assistance in breaking down the proteins.

Bulgogi FAQ

Korean traditional food beef bulgogi

What kind of beef is used for bulgogi?

Sirloin, ribeye, or brisket are all good choices for bulgogi. The key is to slice the beef thinly, so it cooks quickly and evenly.

Can you make bulgogi with chicken or pork?

While beef is the most traditional meat used in bulgogi, you can certainly make it with chicken or pork if you prefer.

Is bulgogi spicy?

Bulgogi isn’t typically spicy, but some recipes may include gochujang (Korean chili paste) or red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.

What’s the best way to serve bulgogi?

Bulgogi is typically served with a side of rice and vegetables. You can also serve it on its own or wrapped in lettuce leaves. It’s a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

Is bulgogi healthy?

Like most meat dishes, bulgogi is a good source of protein. However, the marinade used in bulgogi can be high in sodium and sugar, so it’s not the healthiest option if you’re watching your salt or sugar intake.

What other dishes can you make with bulgogi?

Bulgogi can be used as a filling for sandwiches or wraps, as a topping for bibimbap, or as a filling for dumplings.

Can you freeze bulgogi?

Yes, you can freeze marinated bulgogi for up to 3 months. To thaw, simply transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight.


To sum up, bulgogi is a tasty Korean dish that’s simple to prepare and even simpler to consume. Bulgogi has become a favorite all over the world thanks to its sweet and delicious flavor, tender meat, and numerous serving possibilities.

Bulgogi is a dish you must eat, whether you’ve enjoyed Korean food for a long time or are only now learning about it.

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.