Kalbi is a unique Korean dish based on ribs.
Whether marinated or not, these ribs taste differently from what you might be used to.
Now, while Koreans tend to stick to beef ribs, the truth is you can also find recipes based on pork ribs.
Whichever your option is, grilling is the best way to prepare this delicious dish.
Again, there are variations of the recipe that involve preparing ribs in a different way.
Now, just like for any other type of meat dish, you probably ask yourself what to serve with kalbi.
Fortunately, there are plenty of good options.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Kalbi?
Kalbi is a delicious dish that can be eaten alone too.
While in theory, meaty dishes are quite heavy, these delicious ribs will need something else for a more fulfilling purpose.
Furthermore, meaty dishes tend to feel heavy, so you need something to compensate for this aspect.
On a different note, if you have some guests over, chances are they will expect more than just plain kalbi.
Whether it is bread, a salad, or a more sophisticated side dish, your guests will want more.
Different side dishes come with different effects over kalbi and its unique flavors.
What to Serve with Kalbi? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some interesting choices when not sure what to serve with kalbi.
1. Baked Beans
You can find baked beans in a tin or a jar, but you can also prepare them yourself.
They are usually mixed into tomato sauce, which is refreshing, yet heavy and fulfilling – excellent for ribs.
Baked beans come with a hearty aroma.
They are rich in protein and flavor, so they will add to the overall taste of kalbi.
Overall, despite being a bit heavy, this dish combo is fulfilling and delicious.
Plus, the hearty baked beans are excellent with smoky meat like kalbi.
2. Fried Green Tomatoes
This side dish is different from what you might expect close to kalbi, but there are a few good reasons wherefore it makes such a suitable choice.
Green tomatoes are a bit firmer and feature a sour aroma.
They need to be cooked and fried to become perfect.
They are still a bit crispy – just like kalbi.
Plus, they have a refreshing flavor that will make the kalbi feel lighter.
While more difficult to find, you can prepare the same recipe with red cherry tomatoes, yet you will not have that sour aroma.
Preparing this side dish takes minutes only.
3. Crispy Cornbread
No matter how tasty and appreciated they are, ribs tend to feel heavy because of all the fat juices coming out of them – you need something to prevent this effect.
This is when cornbread kicks in – once mixed in, it will act like a sponge.
On the same note, you can also use cornbread to gather all the juices left behind on the plate.
Despite looking plain and dull, the hearty flavor of cornbread is delicious with kalbi – you can go the extra mile and make it even better by enhancing the batter with some pickles.
4. Crispy Corn Fritters
Crispy corn fritters are similar to cornbread and act like a sponge.
The best part is they come in with a mix of textures.
They are crispy on the outside, but slightly tender and fluffy on the inside.
Their aroma is hearty, but they also have some sweet hints.
You can make crispy corn fritters yourself, but make sure they are not drenched in oil.
Kalbi is a bit oily, and adding an oily side dish will make the combo feel very heavy.
If you do go for it, consider a secondary side dish, such as a salad.
5. Crunchy Green Salad
This is one of the simplest and most common options when not sure what to serve with kalbi.
In fact, salads are often associated with meaty meals for some obvious reasons.
Meat is heavy, while salads are light and refreshing – you can eat more then.
In this particular case, a basic salad will add to the taste and make your barbecue dinner more savory.
It is light and healthy, but it also adds a bit of crunch to your kalbi.
On a negative note, a salad is less likely to impress with its sophistication, but the taste combo will compensate for this minus.
6. Sweet Potato Fries
Can you ever go wrong with a meaty dish and potatoes? Exactly… Fried potatoes make the perfect addition to any meat-based dish.
Kalbi makes no exception either – delicious, well-seasoned, and grilled.
Now, how about making the difference with sweet potatoes instead? They have the same crispiness on the outside, but they are soft and tender on the inside.
They are healthier and will give you meal a sweetish aroma, despite the hearty profile.
Plus, you can get this side dish ready in no time.
7. Crunchy Broccoli Salad
This is another good idea when not sure how to make kalbi lighter.
Broccoli is light and aromatic, but it also features a crunchy texture – even when overcooked.
It is a top side dish from all points of view.
Compared to classic salads based on tomatoes and cucumbers, this one feels healthier and more sophisticated.
Also, it has the same refreshing texture.
Although broccoli is the main ingredient, you can also enhance it with a few extras, such as tiny pieces of bacon or a nice dressing.
What truly makes the difference here is keeping it light – kalbi is heavy enough, so you do not want to overwhelm your guests.
In conclusion, deciding what to serve with kalbi is a matter of personal preferences.
As you can see, there are plenty of options out there.
Each of the above-mentioned side dishes will complement your kalbi or perhaps contrast it in a pleasant and delicious manner.
Furthermore, they will not require too much time in the kitchen either.
The taste of a combo is what makes the difference, yet some of these dishes are also meant to look good and fancy.