Whenever I am in the mood for a quick yet savory meal, I run off to Costco and grab a package of their beef bulgogi. Containing thin slices of marinated beef, bulgogi is perfect for pan-frying or grilling and takes no longer than 40 minutes to prepare. And I absolutely love the taste!
Aside from this, Costco’s version of the famous Korean BBQ can also be an exciting meal. And one of the things that excite me the most every time I prepare this meal is its versatility — it pairs well with various condiments and side dishes. To help you choose the best combination, here are 10 ideas on what to serve with beef bulgogi.
Steamed rice is one of the basic side dishes for beef bulgogi. This side dish makes a great combination with savory meat due to its neutral taste. All you have to do is place the rice into a rice cooker and choose the function that suits you.
In case you don’t own a rice cooker, you can also cook the rice in the microwave or stovetop. You can use any rice of your choosing, from jasmine, arborio, and sushi, to basmati and brown rice.
If you wish to kick it up a notch, add some spices to rice, such as soy sauce, paprika, or cayenne pepper.
If you are looking for a dish that will turn beef bulgogi into a well-rounded meal, try adding steamed vegetables. The flavorful, tender beef matches perfectly with a wide range of vegetables — from potato, carrots, celery, and lettuce, to broccoli, zucchini, snow peas, and bell peppers.
To give some contrast to the soft, juicy meat, I like to combine some crunchier vegetables. Make sure to avoid overcooking. Vegetables will add a refreshing and somewhat neutral note to the meal, creating a satisfying contrast of textures and flavors and offering a nutritious and delicious dining experience.
With large portions of meat, it is always nice to see something green on the plate. If you feel the same way about bulgogi, then blanched spinach might be the best choice for you. This healthy and nutritious side dish is easy to make and, together with beef infused with marinade, creates a delightful balance of flavors.
To make the most of its nutrients, it is best to use fresh spinach leaves. Just cook for about two minutes, then place it into cold water for a few minutes to preserve its color, and stir fry it for a few minutes with a couple of garlic cloves. This combination offers a nutritious and satisfying meal.
Korean bulgogi wrapped in lettuce leaves creates a delightful explosion of flavors and textures. The soft beef bulgogi offers a savory and slightly sweet taste, and if you are looking for something to make a contrast to that, try wrapping the meat in lettuce leaves.
This is my absolute favorite — the lettuce acts as a refreshing and crisp vessel for the meal. Combined, the juicy beef melds with the freshness of the lettuce, creating a unique blend of tastes. You will enjoy a satisfying crunch followed by the rich flavor of beef with every bite.
Another great side dish for beef bulgogi is spicy noodles. The spicy kick of the noodles balances the richness of the beef, creating a harmonious contrast. It is a fiery and bold flavor combination you will enjoy with every bite.
Although you can use egg or ramen noodles, which are available in almost any store, try replacing them with rice or shirataki noodles. Their elastic, slightly rubbery structure compliments the softness of the meat.
Tangy vegetables such as pickled onions or cucumbers are always a welcome addition to tasty beef bulgogi. This combination of flavors creates an interesting interplay of sour, salty, and slightly sweet flavors.
Pickled onions are the most common side dish for this meal, yet I prefer serving thinly sliced pickled cucumbers or cornichons, and sometimes I even get a craving for some pickled ginger. Their crunchiness makes a lovely contrast to soft, marinated meat, and the ginger gives a kick that perfectly complements the taste.
However, if you are not a fan of pickles, onions, or ginger, consider serving it with pickled carrots or radishes.
Egg rolls are yet another lovely, flavorful addition to this meal. Golden and crispy on the outside with savory vegetables on the inside, this side dish is one of my favorite Asian meals.
Egg rolls and the bulgogi make a rich meal perfect for a late lunch or dinner with friends. Still, if you find it to be a bit over the top and you wish to make an interesting twist, consider using the bulgogi meat with some veggies as a filling for the rolls.
Kimchi and beef bulgogi are a combination that cannot go wrong. It creates a harmonious explosion of flavors that perfectly represents Korean cuisine. The spicy, tangy, and fermented kimchi notes match the savory, tender beef perfectly.
The vibrant dish containing lettuce, carrots, and scallions provides a refreshing contrast to the meat. Each bite is a delightful blend of textures and flavors, especially with the spicy kick that enhances the rich, umami flavors of the beef. Together, they create a mouthwatering symphony I love and adore, and there’s no doubt that you will, too.
Mung Bean Sprout Salad
Mung bean sprout salad is a refreshing side dish, perfect for grilled beef bulgogi. These two meals make a vibrant and nutritious combination. The mung bean sprouts absorb the flavors of the beef and provide a vibrant and earthy backdrop.
Colorful salad made of mung bean sprouts, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro, carrots, green chili, roasted peanuts, and seasonings, and lime juice has an exciting texture and flavor that makes it a great side dish for almost every Korean meal.
Garlic Butter and Soy Sauce Mushrooms
This side dish with a garlic aroma will take your beef bulgogi to another level. It tastes outstanding and takes no longer than 20 minutes to prepare.
All you need is to slice up some garlic and stir fry it with butter and some olive oil, then add mushrooms and continue frying for several minutes. To complete it, I like to pour in some light or dark soy sauce and leave it on the heat for another couple of minutes.
The result will be an aromatic and juicy dish that blends with the bulgogi meat so well that it will become a part of your weekly menu.