Bulgogi is a Korean dish consisting of marinated, grilled beef or pork. The word Bulgogi means fire meat in Korean.
There are many variations of Bulgogi, but the most popular dish is made by mixing sliced beef sirloin or pork belly with soy sauce, sugar, Asian pear, and onion.
Other ingredients can include garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and mushrooms.
The mixture is then left to marinate for hours to allow the flavors to soak through.
The beef or pork is then placed on skewers and grilled over an open flame.
The flavor and taste of Bulgogi are sweet in a savory way with a smoky edge.
But, Bulgogi is best enjoyed without being too conscious of the fine details.
Bulgogi is often served with steamed white rice but can also be paired with lettuce or other leafy vegetables to make it a wrap.
In this article, we will list the seven best side dishes that will complement the Bulgogi.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Bulgogi?
There are many ways to enjoy Bulgogi. You can make a salad, grill it or even lay it on top of rice.
But, what’s the best way to eat Bulgogi? The answer is “Yes”.
There are no rules when it comes to enjoying the fantastic meat that is Bulgogi.
That being said, we believe that Bulgogi tastes best when you pair it with great side dishes.
The best thing about Korean cuisine is the wide variety of tasty and spicy dishes often served to complement main courses such as rice, noodles, and soups.
The perfect side dish will turn your meal into a full course meal.
So, consider pairing your Bulgogi with one of the side dishes below for a delightful dinner that will have your guests coming back for more.
Some side dishes take a long time to make, but it is worth the wait.
There are many types of side dishes ranging from greens to egg, seafood, and meat dishes.
Some side dishes are great for a summer night, and others smell so delicious they will have your guests coming back for seconds.
What to Serve with Bulgogi – 7 BEST Side Dishes
So, what is the best dish to accompany Bulgogi?
Well, we have compiled a list of 7 side dishes that will complement your Bulgogi perfectly.
1 – Kimchi
Kimchi dates back centuries in Korea, and today it is one of the most popular side dishes served with Bulgogi.
It’s a fermented spicy cabbage dish, which tastes sour and spicy.
Kimchi can be made from many different ingredients such as rice, salt, spices, and vegetables.
Kimchi is not only delicious with Bulgogi but it is also known to improve digestion.
The perfect side dish for Bulgogi.
Pairing your Bulgogi with Kimchi will give you a fantastic experience that you can’t get enough of.
One bite into this combination, and you won’t want to eat Bulgogi without it again.
Kimchi is very easy to make and will last for a long time in your fridge.
So, why not try making some today and leave it in the fridge to turn it into a side dish for your Bulgogi tomorrow?
2 – Bean Sprout Salad
This salad is made by boiling soybean sprouts and then mixing them with sesame seeds.
The result is a tasty bean sprout dish that tastes both tangy and nutty.
Bean sprout salads are refreshing side dishes often consumed during the summer months.
Pairing Bulgogi with this side dish will give you a taste of the Korean summertime.
The slight tangy taste is perfect for your Bulgogi, and it even adds some crunch to the meal.
Serve this side dish during your next get-together and see how much your guests love it.
They will keep asking for more servings of the salad long after their main course has gone.
3 – Cold Noodle Salad (Naengmyeon)
Naengmyeon is a cold noodle dish served with boiled beef broth.
It is said to have originated in North Korea, and today it’s one of the most popular Korean side dishes.
Naengmyeon is usually served on hot days when the weather is just too warm to have a piping hot meal.
It’s refreshing and pairs well with the spicy Bulgogi.
The perfect summertime dish, Naengmyeon, can be customized with different ingredients to suit your taste buds, making it a fantastic compliment for your Bulgogi.
There are different Naengmyeon noodles, such as buckwheat and arrowroot, but we recommend using the chewy version for best results.
The flavor is delicious, and it will be sure to satisfy your palate.
4 – Bean Sprout Soup (Kongnamulguk)
Kongnamulguk is a bean sprout soup that’s made of boiled soybean sprouts and beef broth.
It can be seasoned with salt, sesame oil, or both.
It is usually served as a hot soup on cold days of winter.
Pairing this dish with Bulgogi will give you the perfect bowl of warm hearty soup on a chilly winter evening.
The unique taste of this dish is popular in Korean households, where it’s often used with only rice and kimchi to make an entire meal.
This is the perfect home-cooked Korean meal that will keep your guests coming back for more.
The warm, savory broth with the nutty sprouts will have your guests licking their bowls clean.
Make this dish at home today and see how it changes how you look at Korean food forever.
5 – Radish Soup (Mu Guk)
Radish soup is a traditional Korean dish served in most households before big feasts such as weddings and family reunions.
Depending on the weather, the soup can be made into a hot or cold broth, and it’s usually flavored with salt and sesame seeds.
Pairing Bulgogi with this side dish will give your taste buds a wake-up call.
It’s one of the spiciest Korean dishes and is often enjoyed with only rice and kimchi.
Radish soup is not only spicy, but it’s also packed full of nutrients that are beneficial for your digestive health.
There are other common Korean soups, such as Miso Soup and Spicy Soft Tofu Soup, but we recommend starting with a simple one before making your way to them.
The best part is that it’s straightforward to prepare and will only take about 20 minutes of your time from start to finish.
6 – Korean Ssamjang
Ssamjang is a delicious sauce consisting of red pepper paste, soybean paste, and other ingredients.
It’s used as a dipping sauce for vegetables or meat wrapped in ssam (lettuce).
The combination is then eaten with rice and other banchan dishes.
Pairing Bulgogi with this side dish will give you an authentic taste of Korean cuisine.
Ssamjang is usually served with lettuce wraps containing rice, grilled beef slices, and fresh vegetables.
The combination of the juicy meat with the spices in ssamjang will undoubtedly blow your mind.
You can serve other dipping sauces with Bulgogi, such as mustard, soy sauce, or even ranch dressing, but we recommend giving this sauce a try because it’s the best one yet.
Ssamjang is easy to make and can be found in most Asian supermarkets or online stores.
7 – Steamed Rice or Kimchi Fried Rice
Kimchi fried rice, also known as kimchi bokkeumbap, is a fantastic side dish that pairs well with Bulgogi.
It’s made of various ingredients, such as kimchi and vegetables, but we recommend using rice as the main ingredient instead.
Pairing this delicious dish with Bulgogi will give you a flavorful combination that your taste buds won’t forget.
Kimchi fried rice is usually served as an appetizer at restaurants, but it can also be made into a complete meal by adding beef.
The best part about this dish is that it’s very easy to make and will only take around 30 minutes of your time.
The secret to making great-tasting fried rice is to add a lot of oil during cooking.
It will give the dish a fantastic flavor that no one has ever tasted before.
Adding vegetables such as onion or carrots are optional, but it’s recommended that you also use them when you cook this dish at home.
In conclusion, Bulgogi is a delicious dish that can be enjoyed with virtually any side dish of your choice.
Regardless of whether it’s eaten as a complete meal or appetizer, the combination will undoubtedly blow your taste buds away.
That said, we recommend starting with one of our seven favorite side dishes and feeling the flavors explode in your mouth.
We hope you enjoyed this list and have found a dish that will put the cherry on top of your Bulgogi.