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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Of rice and ramen: Bulgogi tacos – traditional Korean cuisine with marinated beef

This dish is a good one to try with your foodie friends this weekend. The meat needs to marinate for a few hours at least, but the cook time is extremely quick. The thin-slices of beef cook almost immediately as they are placed in the pan. You can cook them a few seconds longer, though, to get a caramelized sear on the meat that will juxtapose with the creaminess of sliced avocado or sour cream in the constructed taco.

Bulgogi is a traditional Korean food that is made by cooking thin sliced of marinated beef on a barbecue “grill”. Many restaurants have table-top grills resembling Western griddles that allow a social atmosphere while preparing your own food. My favorite thing about this is I usually eat it with my family while I home over the holidays – my mom, grandma, and I will all be in the kitchen together cooking up a Korean feast. I took this dish and created a new use for its leftovers!

Bulgogi Tacos


For the Bulgogi:

1 lb. thinly sliced ribeye or sirloin*

1 medium white or yellow onion, julienned

1 bunch green onions, chopped on the diagonal

½ C. sliced button mushrooms (optional)

½ C. soy sauce

1 C. (about) water

¼ C. sugar

¼ C. light brown sugar, packed

1 Tsp. rice vinegar

2 Tsp. sesame oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

For the tacos:
(choose your toppings)

8 – 6” flour tortillas**

chopped romaine

shredded cheddar cheese

kimchi, chopped


sour cream


leftover chopped green onions

sliced avocado

toasted sesame seeds

bulgogi, prepared – above

  • Can be purchased at most Asian grocers and is often found in the frozen section.

** You can substitute with ground beef, turkey or tofu. Scale the marinade ingredients down to flavor the ground protein filling. Bulgogi meat itself is also delicious over rice or in lettuce wraps.

*** Lazy chef’s version: put in enough beef to layer it around the bottom of the pan. This won’t give the same caramelization, but it will cook much faster.


Combine all of the bulgogi ingredients except for the beef, white onion and mushrooms in a bowl and whisk together until you have a uniform marinade.
Place the onions, mushrooms and beef in the bowl, making sure that the slices are not stuck together.

Let the beef marinate for at least 3 hours – overnight is best.

When the beef is flavored-up, heat a large non-stick skillet (I use a wok) over medium-high heat. You should be able to feel the heat over the pan if you hover you hand over the center.

When the pan is ready, place the slices of beef in one at a time*** and cook for maybe 30-40 seconds per side, turning when just the top of the slice is light pink. Put them on a plate when they are done cooking and set aside.

Use a slotted spoon to put those marinated onions, mushrooms and garlic slices in the pan with a little bit of the leftover marinade. Cooking the sauce with the vegetables will kill any bacteria.

Sautée the vegetables until the onions are turning clear and the mushrooms start to caramelize. Cook at least long enough for the sauce to be simmering.

Spoon the vegetables and sauce from the pan over the meat on the plate – now you’re ready to construct your tacos!

For my tacos, I like to use sour cream, Trader Joe’s salsa verde, shredded cheddar, and chopped romaine as toppings. Get creative and try different things – maybe you’ll think of something you like and I didn’t list here. Enjoy!

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  • Z

    Zoe EdmundsSep 10, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing the information with us.

  • J

    Jasmine GreeneSep 8, 2019 at 9:07 am

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