Korean short ribs are a popular dish made with beef short ribs, typically either flanken cut or English cut.
They are marinated in a blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and sugar before being grilled or braised.
Korean short ribs are well flavored – they have the perfect amount of saltiness.
The flavor is a mixture of a slight citrus flavor from the sesame oil and garlic and the savoriness from the soy sauce.
Grilling or braising brings out even more flavor, making for tender meat with minimal spices to draw out bold flavors.
In terms of taste, Korean short ribs are delicious.
The meat is extremely tender and melts in your mouth.
Unlike some other meats, Korean short ribs are very simple – sometimes, they are prepared with salt or pepper.
To serve with Korean short ribs, you can make a variety of Korean side dishes.
In this article, we will go over eight Korean dishes that pair perfectly with Korean short ribs.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Korean Short Ribs?
Korean short ribs, also known as kalbi 갈비, are a staple of Korean cuisine.
However, these meaty delicacies can be a little fattier than most meats, making them a less ideal cut for those on a diet.
To make up for the lack of leanness in this dish, it is often accompanied by other sides such as vegetables, salad, or other lean meats.
This way, the other sides can help supplement the plate and keep it at a healthy caloric intake overall.
The other benefit to this strategy is that having other options on the plate spreads out the flavor.
This allows you to have more than one entree working together to create a whole, which can be quite satisfying.
Side dishes allow you to create the perfect meal for different occasions.
If you are having guests over, there is no need to make them wait while you finish cooking your main dish.
Additionally, side dishes are flexible in that they can be taken to go.
What to Serve with Korean Short Ribs? 8 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some options to help you perfect your Korean short ribs plate.
1 – Stir-Fried Vegetables
If you want something tasty and crunchy, then stir-fried vegetables are the way to go.
They provide a quick and easy side dish with little fuss on your end.
Also, they can be very colorful and appealing if the presentation is important to you.
The best part about stir-fried vegetables is that there are countless combinations of vegetables that you can choose from.
Since there is no definitive recipe for this dish, it is good to buy different vegetables and mix and match them together to see what works best.
Potatoes are a classic side dish choice for Korean short ribs, especially if they have been cubed, fried, and then boiled in broth.
Be sure to season with salt and pepper for extra flavor.
2 – Cold Noodles with Sesame Oil
Another fairly easy dish to make, especially if you already have noodles on hand.
It is best if the noodles are pre-made fresh since cold leftovers can be less than palatable.
Once they are cooked, you can place them in a bowl and add some sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, and sesame seeds.
The chill from the noodles will go well with the fatty meat of the short ribs and add a crunchy element.
This dish can be prepped ahead of time and tastes better when it is left to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
It’s perfect for summertime meals when you want something light and nourishing but not too heavy on the stomach.
3 – Steamed White Rice
The classic standby for steamed white rice is what most people think of when they are asked to name Korean side dishes.
It is easy to make, convenient to store, and can be eaten by itself or with most other options on this list.
It makes an excellent accompaniment to the meaty flavor of Korean short ribs and also goes well with most other side dishes (except perhaps stir-fried vegetables or cold noodles).
It is the perfect way to round out your main dish into a complete meal.
4 – Kimchi
If you are not already aware, kimchi 김치 is traditional Korean fermented cabbage served as a side dish in practically every cuisine since it goes well with so many other things.
It is also incredibly healthy for you, so it should be included in many of your meals whether you are trying to lose weight or not.
Kimchi provides an excellent flavor to the other dishes on this list, especially if they are bland.
The spiciness can cut through some of the fattier flavors while complimenting the beef in a short Korean rib dish.
If you are not familiar with the taste of kimchi, try to find a milder version so that it can be paired with other side dishes.
A fermented cabbage dish might sound weird at first, but the flavors are surprisingly pleasant and delicious.
5 – Glazed Carrots
A simple yet elegant side dish choice for anyone looking for something more than white rice to serve with their Korean short ribs.
These carrots can be done in just minutes and provide a great contrast in flavors between the meat, starch, and vegetables.
The best part about glazed carrots is that there are so many ways you can prepare them.
You can use just regular diced carrots or go all out with baby carrots, scallions, and various other ingredients.
It’s important to make sure that you use the right kind of glaze, as sugar-free versions are available at most supermarkets.
If no options are available or if they aren’t sweet enough for your taste buds, try making the glaze from scratch with lemon juice, honey, and some other surprises.
6 – Fried Onions
Most people are familiar with fried onions as a topping on various dishes, but these crunchy gems also serve as an excellent side dish to any meal.
They are easy to cook up in minutes and can be used on their own or mixed into other dishes for some added flavor.
Give them a try next time you’re making Korean short ribs or even at breakfast time with some scrambled eggs.
Since they are available pre-made in most grocery stores, it is easy to keep a few cans of fried onions for those days when you have nothing else on hand.
7 – Grilled Pineapple
A perfect side dish if you’re planning a barbecue, grilled pineapple adds a sweet and tangy element like no other.
It has the potential to work with most meats, especially if you’re having trouble coming up with side dish ideas that stand out.
This is another dish that takes only minutes to prepare before it’s ready to be placed on the grill or in an oven (or even microwave).
Grilled pineapple goes great with various meals and is also easy to make as an appetizer to serve with drinks (especially fruity types like mojitos or ciders).
8 – Sautéed Spinach
A wonderful side dish to prepare if you’re looking for something that will complement the flavors of Korean short ribs without overpowering anything else.
The nice thing about sautéed spinach is that it comes out slightly crispy thanks to some oil and garlic, making an excellent contrasting texture.
Serve it up with your Korean short ribs in a bowl, along with some rice, kimchi, and other side dishes.
It’s also easy to prepare; just make sure that you have enough oil in the pan so that the leaves are thoroughly coated while they are being fried up.
Korean short ribs are delicious, but you might get tired of eating them on their own if there isn’t anything to go with it.
This list of side dishes was designed to give your meal a little extra while also complementing the flavors in the beef dish.
The key to finding an excellent side dish is to find one that compliments the flavor combination of Korean short ribs.
This list combined various styles, from spicy kimchi to grilled pineapple, to demonstrate just how versatile this dish can be when it comes to pairing with other food items.
Whether you’re looking for something that will add contrast in texture or another layer of flavor, these eight side dishes are excellent choices for any Korean short ribs meal.