Korean Beef Bulgogi with Zesty Ginger Slaw

Not until I moved into my own apartment did I start to love Asian food. It was then that I browsed cookbooks for new recipes. “Borrowed” a couple from the library (don’t ask about my blacklisting). Spent a cool million at the Asian market, loading my pantry with fish sauce, oyster sauce, and toasted sesame oil.

It wasn’t immediate immersion. What is that flavor that I’m missing in my own kitchen attempts? Soy sauce, check. Ginger, check. Sesame oil, check. Sugar, check, check , check (an admitted sweet seeker, here). What I’ve discovered, other than that soy sauce doesn’t rinse out of my favorite white button down, is that these dishes achieve that brilliant balance of sweet and savory with the addition of a few splashes of ingredients like fish sauce, oyster sauce, and chili paste.

This is one of my favorite Asian meals: Korean Beef Bulgogi. It’s outrageously flavorful. I marinated the flank steak in soy, sesame, sugar, and chili, and grilled it until the edges charred. I love pairing it with a zesty ginger slaw, and piling it into soft tortillas to give the meal a fun Asian-Mexican fusion–something I began loving here in Seattle, a city where food trucks reign and plates of hot Korean tacos are gobbled up all the time.

Enjoy, friends!

Korean Beef Bulgogi with Zesty Ginger Slaw



  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili sauce I like Sambal Oelek
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • 1 pound flank steak

Zesty Korean Ginger Slaw

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1- inch piece of ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 head napa cabbage shredded
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 4 radishes sliced and cut into matchsticks
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper cut into matchsticks


  • Marinate the beef: In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, chili sauce, garlic, and scallions. Put the beef in a large resealable plastic bag or shallow bowl and pour the marinade on top. Seal or cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
  • Make the slaw: In a small bowl, whisk the fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, chili sauce, garlic, and ginger.
  • In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, radishes, scallions, and bell peppers. Pour the dressing on top and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Grill the beef: Preheat your gas grill to high. Remove the steak from the marinade and discard the liquid. Once hot, grill the steak for 5 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain.
  • Lay corn tortillas on a work surface, divide the steak among them, and pile a spoonful of zesty ginger slaw on top. Serve immediately.


58 thoughts on “Korean Beef Bulgogi with Zesty Ginger Slaw

  1. Erin

    Absolutely gorgeous! I lived in Korea for a year and while it was by far the most foreign place I’d ever been, it also had an amazing range of comfort foods that appealed across culture. I was a meat-eater at the time and used to love bulgogi — we went to an ‘all-you-can-eat’ Korean BBQ place once a week and ate tons of it for about 5,000 won ($4.50).

  2. Tina

    You deserve to move onto round 3 without a doubt. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you won the whole thing. Your posts are that amazing.

  3. Lu

    I’m no longer intimidated by Bulgogi. I will definitely have to make this very soon. The slaw sounds wonderful. I love your story of heading east, too. It was great.

  4. Megan (Braise The Roof)

    Yum, your recipe looks beautiful and delicious (as per usual!). I haven’t experimented much with Korean cuisine but whenever I see a dish like yours I think I should try my hand! Um, and I also had a pink Barbie Corvette. My parents saved it and my little nephews drive it around now (yes, over 20 years later)…they better not break it or else!

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  6. haya

    awesome! i am definitely going to have to attempt this. looks delish.

    i might be going to korea in the spring to visit my parents, and i’ve been thinking that i should start learning more about the food before i go.

  7. @lickmyspoon

    Your photos make me crave a pre-lunch meal, homemade bulgogi is so ridiculously good. What was your plan as a kid for when you got to Korea? Would you play recorder for tips?

    By the way, thanks for linking me to that toffee bar post. I’m not sure when I’ll make them, but when I do I’ll be sure to tell you how they turn out.

    Just voted for you! Good luck this round.

  8. Joanne Choi

    I’m so glad I happened to see this – great job! It’s so funny for me to see that this recipe is out of your comfort zone since it is totally IN mine. But great work and the photos are gorgeous. You have my vote!

  9. Amy (Sing For Your Supper)

    I was cracking up reading this- I totally used to do the same thing when I was a kid! And I *never* would’ve even considered leaving the house without my Teddy Ruxpin, either! :)
    This was such a great post- I really enjoyed it! You absolutely have my vote!!

  10. KellyAnne

    I made this for dinner last weekend, and it was divine (my boyfriend was quite happy with it as well)! I can’t believe how much flavor the steak had, it had a great kick! Thanks for the recipe :)

  11. Tina Marie

    Woo hoo I just bought the Women’s World Magazine and read your article. I had to get on here and find you. Your a true inspiration, everything you wrote about your experience with food is ME. and I am not a lowfat or a low cal meal buyer they are not filling. I want a diet that I can experiment with foods and still stay low in calorie intake. My problem is I have two kids at home. My husband and son who is 13 years old boy he is an eater…. This makes it very hard on me when shopping. Or making dinner. So I am going to make a regular visit here and get new ideas….

    Are you on Facebook at all?

    1. Can You Stay for Dinner

      Hi Tina! Thank you so very much for your comment! I’m so glad you said hello- it’s wonderful meeting people with a similar background and experience. I know how hard it can be to please all the eaters in your household, especially when you want to cook healthy meals. I did this for my family (mom, dad, sisters) for two years and it could be challenging, but so worth it. I like to makeover a lot of comfort foods in a slightly modified/ lighter way. I hope you’ll stick around and say hello every now and then!! I wish you the best!

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  13. Jennifer

    Ohhhhhhhhh snap. Yesterday I decided to cook a healthy, delicious dinner and this recipe is the project I chose to undertake. Seriously, for all of you who have been eating this with your eyes, try eating it with your mouth!!! The slaw had an amazing texture and the sauce complemented the vegetables perfectly. The bulgogi was mouth-watering, tender, and had the right amount of sweetness and tang. All of this yummy goodness piled on top of a corn tortilla made a fabulous Korean taco! :) It was very easy to cook and left me feeling happy and satisfied, although a bit sad I couldn’t eat more! Best part is, I have leftovers for tonight. Awww, yeah!!

    (I had to broil the beef flanks…no grilling during a downpour! It still came out juicy and flavorful. I also have a jar of minced garlic on hand, so I took some of that and mashed it into a pulp…I’m sure the fresh clove would’ve been better, but this worked well too.)

    Absolutely perfect. This will definitely be something I cook frequently. Thank you, Andrea!!

  14. Pingback: Grilled Steak Bulgogi | Can You Stay For Dinner?

  15. Tricia

    Looks great! I lived in Korea for 2 years and the food there is nothing short of AMAZING! It’s all so simple t make, too. You ever think of experimenting with kimchi? Kimchi fried rice is my absolute favorite Korean dish. Love your site!

  16. Patt

    I just made these for lunch, on a common Monday, because the steak had been marinating in my fridge since Saturday morning (it was a busy weekend). Oh. My. Goodness.!!! Such delightful taste explosions in my mouth! This has turned a normal Monday into a party! Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Amanda

    I just made this for dinner! It was a huge hit with both my husband and I! The only thing I substituted was brown rice instead of tortilla. Can’t wait to have left overs for lunch tomorrow!

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