Korean cuisine offers delicious and slightly spicy food you want to eat more than once.
Beef bulgogi is one such item. It’s a dish made of thin, marinated slices of meat (beef in this case) and grilled.
It’s one of the most preferred dishes in South Korea but is also gaining plenty of attention from other places.
While it’s a stand-alone dish, it’s served with many Korean delicacies.
Hence, if you’re thinking about what to serve with beef bulgogi, you don’t have to stress a lot.
Steamed Korean rice, kimchi, Korean ssamjang, and radish soup are well-known sides served with bulgogi.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Beef Bulgogi?
Everybody likes to enjoy multiple items, whether at dinner or an event.
Hence, even though beef bulgogi is a delicacy, you need extra items if you consider serving it as a main dish.
Your palate can also get overwhelmed when you consume a rich food like beef bulgogi.
So, light dishes can come in handy to cleanse your palate and keep it fresh.
Last but not least, bulgogi may be amazingly flavorful, but it’s no fun to eat a lone dish.
Besides, your guests will also hesitate to eat if they see a single dish on the table.
What to Serve with Beef Bulgogi? 10 BEST Side Dishes
When it comes to extra items for bulgogi, the list is endless, but here, we’ll mention only the ten best, including the ones mentioned earlier, and here they are:
1 – Grilled Bok Choy
Nothing tastes better than a beef and veggie combo, so how about we start the list with grilled bok choy? It’s a delicious leafy veggie that adds a slight crunch and sweetness to the meal.
Bok choy is a relative of cabbage and other vegetables in the Brassicaceae family, but it doesn’t form a “head”.
It has a slight peppery undertone but becomes milder and even a little sweet when cooked, so you’ll have nice flavors.
Grilled bok choy needs only salt, pepper, butter, garlic powder, and little paprika (optional), but you’ll experience wonderful flavors when it’s cooked.
2 – Braised Baby Potatoes
Today, we’ll be listing plenty of Korean food, so here is a dish called algamja-jorim, or braised baby potatoes.
It’s a yummy sweet dish and a perfect accompaniment to beef bulgogi.
The potatoes are the size of quail eggs, so the dish is called algamja-jorim instead of gamja jorim.
Al means egg, gamja means potatoes, and jorim means braised; these three words make up the dish’s name.
Since it’s part of Korean cuisine, you can expect Asian flavors with soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, rice syrup, and garlic.
You can also use sugar or honey if rice syrup isn’t available.
3 – Korean Ssamjang
Bulgogi and ssamjang? Yes.
If you haven’t tasted the combo before, you should because they make incredible partners.
Ssamjang is a spicy Korean paste made of doenjang (fermented soybeans), gochujang (red chili paste), garlic, green onion, sesame oil, onion, and brown sugar (optional).
It’s one of the most popular pastes that pair with bulgogi so expect your guests to enjoy the combination.
You can also use lettuce leaves to wrap the beef and paste and enjoy it as one whole dish.
4 – Kimchi
When serving beef bulgogi, it’s hard to leave out kimchi because, besides ssamjang, it’s also a typical side dish that goes with the meat dish.
Kimchi comprises napa cabbage, celery cabbage, and other veggies like radish, garlic, spring onion, ginger, and seasonings.
Before serving, you can enjoy freshly-made kimchi or let it age for a while.
Both versions are delicious, but the fermented variety can be slightly stronger in flavor and aroma.
So, you can make kimchi in advance if you want a more pronounced taste before serving it with bulgogi.
5 – Korean Steamed Rice
It’s the most straightforward item on the list but frequently served with beef bulgogi; hence we couldn’t leave it off the list.
It matches nicely with the meat, and you’ll feel full when you finish your meal.
Korean steamed rice needs only two ingredients; short-grain white rice and water.
When cooked right, you’ll have yummy, aromatic, and fluffy rice ready to go with bulgogi.
The rice will become soft and soggy if you add too much water or let it overcook.
Hence, pay attention to the recipe and use the exact water ratio to rice.
6 – Radish Soup
Daikon radish is a popular vegetable in Korean cuisine, and you’ll find it in many recipes.
Radish soup is one of these dishes, and it also makes a nice pairing with beef bulgogi.
Radish soup comes in both vegan and non-veg varieties, so it depends on preference whether you want to make it with meat or not.
But adding a veggie stock is essential as it makes the soup more flavorful.
You’ll need shiitake mushroom, green onion, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, kelp, salt, white pepper, and daikon radish.
All parts of the radish are edible, including the leafy green tops, so you can use them in the soup too.
7 – Cold Noodle Salad
How about a salad but with a twist? A cold noodle salad can also make a great pairing with beef bulgogi.
You can get a complete meal without using many ingredients too.
Cold noodle salad gets its flavors from the yummy and creamy peanut butter sauce that also has soy sauce and rice vinegar.
It also has lime juice, honey, red pepper powder, and garlic; hence, it’s sweet, sour, spicy, and aromatic.
Peanuts, carrots, cilantro, and cucumber add a fresh and crunchy element to the salad, making it light and flavorful.
If the beef overwhelms you, the salad will make you feel refreshed once again.
8 – Korean Fried Rice
If you think steamed rice is too simple, there is an alternative in the form of Korean fried rice.
It’s packed with Asian flavors and also complements beef bulgogi.
You’ll indeed have a full belly when you empty your plate.
Korean fried rice contains meat, but you can omit it and include vegetables.
Carrot, onion, snow peas, shallots, and peas are ideal for the dish as they make the rice more delicious but keep it light.
Don’t forget to add gochujang, which offers multiple flavors even in a single spoonful.
If you’re worried about the heat, choose a milder version with the same taste.
9 – Korean Vegetable Pancakes
It’s called yachaejeon in Korean, and it’s also a popular item served with bulgogi.
It’s crispy, fresh, and delicious and makes your meal complete.
Yachaejeon is versatile, as you can make the dish with various veggies.
So, you can make the item with available veggies instead of wasting time searching for vegetables that aren’t available.
Leek, sweet potato, mushroom, onion, green onion, and zucchini make a nice combo for Korean veggie pancakes.
You can also serve a sauce made with gochujang to make the pancakes even yummier.
10 – Bean Sprouts Salad
We’ll complete the list with a fresh and crunchy salad that’ll complement the bulgogi and also refresh your palate.
Bean sprouts salad is yummy, and you certainly won’t want to stop eating it once you start.
Though incredibly delicious, bean sprouts salad is simple to make and doesn’t need too many ingredients.
Besides the sprouts, scallions, garlic, toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, salt, and soy sauce are the other items required.
It’s, however, necessary to use the freshest bean sprouts, or the salad will not taste good and crunchy.
Sprouts should smell fresh and green and shouldn’t flop or look brownish.
Whenever you make and serve beef bulgogi, the ten items will come in handy, so make a list and save them.
You can choose different items at a time to keep it exciting.
Go with a variety of dishes so that each one feels unique and keeps boredom at bay.
Often people serve similar items at a function, and it can get dull swiftly, so you have to keep this aspect in mind.