What To Serve With Bulgogi Beef: 15 Delicious Side Dishes That Pair Perfectly

Bulgogi beef is a popular Korean dish made with thinly sliced, marinated beef that is grilled or pan-fried. With its sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavors, bulgogi makes for a tasty main course. However, no bulgogi meal is complete without some delicious side dishes, known as banchan in Korean.

The key to great banchan is finding sides that complement and balance the robust taste of the bulgogi. You want options that add crunch, refreshing crispness, heat, and other textures and flavors to create a well-rounded Korean barbecue feast.

After researching traditional Korean side dishes, we’ve compiled this list of 15 fantastic options to serve alongside your flavorful bulgogi beef. With this guide, you’ll be able to create the perfect Korean meal for family or friends. Let’s get started!

1. Kimchi

No Korean meal is complete without the quintessential fermented cabbage, kimchi. As the most popular banchan, kimchi adds a tangy, spicy kick that perfectly balances the sweet soy flavor of bulgogi. Crunchy and packed with gut-healthy probiotics, kimchi is a must-have side. Keep a jar on hand to serve as a condiment or cook it into fried rice or soups.

Frequency: 7

2. Steamed Rice

Fluffy steamed rice serves as the perfect neutral base for richly sauced meats like bulgogi. The mild flavor soaks up the marinade beautifully. For added flavor and nutrition, try brown rice or mixed grain varieties. Steamed rice also helps temper the heat of spicy kimchi and other banchan.

Frequency: 6

3. Japchae

These sweet potato glass noodles, japchae, provide an essential contrasting texture to tender grilled beef. Translucent and slightly chewy, the noodles marry flavors of sesame, soy sauce, garlic, and vegetables. Beef bulgogi served atop japchae is a match made in Korean barbecue heaven.

Frequency: 5

4. Pickled Radish

Quick-pickled radish, or danmuji, serves as a light, crunchy banchan perfect with bulgogi’s intensity. The radishes are julienned and brined in a mix of rice vinegar, chili, garlic, and sweetener. Tart and refreshing, pickled radish helps cleanse the palate between bites of rich beef.

Frequency: 5

5. Fried Tofu

Golden fried tofu cubes make for a satisfying protein-packed side. Their crispy outer shell surrounds a soft, creamy center – providing an irresistible contrast to sliced beef. Season simply with a dipping sauce, or toss in a sweet and spicy bulgogi marinade before frying for added flavor.

Frequency: 4

6. Brown Rice

In place of white rice, try nutty, fiber-rich brown rice. Its hearty taste and chewy texture stands up well to flavorful meats and sauces. Brown rice makes a superfood alternative to white and provides balanced whole grains to complement bulgogi’s richness.

Frequency: 4

7. Stir-Fried Zucchini

For a quick and easy veggie side, stir-fry thinly sliced zucchini with sesame oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt. The zucchini cooks to a tender-crisp in minutes for an accompaniment with fresh flavors and crunch. It also helps balance the richer taste of marinated bulgogi.

Frequency: 3

8. Korean Potato Salad

This is not your typical mayo-laden potato salad. Korean-style is made with chunks of boiled potato, carrot, pickled radish, and a sweet rice vinegar dressing. Creamy potatoes, crunchy vegetables, and zesty dressing pair excellently with savory, filling bulgogi beef.

Frequency: 3

9. Soybean Sprout Salad

Blanched and seasoned soybean sprouts add protein and crunch to the side dish assortment. Their fresh, earthy taste balances the intensity of the beef. They’re tossed simply with sesame oil, garlic, and green onion for a light salad-style banchan.

Frequency: 3

10. Grilled Vegetables

For hearty vegetable banchan, try quick grilled zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and peppers. Large slices or halves are brushed with oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, then grilled until tender with beautiful char lines. Their smoky flavor complements bulgogi wonderfully.

Frequency: 3

11. Seaweed Salad

A seaweed salad offers salty ocean flavors and fun textures to contrast rich meats. The seaweed is seasoned with sesame oil and vinegar for a tangy, umami side dish. Seaweed’s chewy, slippery texture and briny taste balances bulgogi’s intensity beautifully.

Frequency: 2

12. Spicy Cucumber Salad

For a refreshing, palate-cleansing banchan, try this spicy cucumber salad. Thin sliced cucumbers are tossed in a blend of rice vinegar, chili paste, garlic, and sugar for a pleasant kick. It cools the tongue between bites of savory bulgogi and adds a serving of vegetables.

Frequency: 2

13. Korean Pancakes

For an interactive side, whip up Korean seafood pancakes, pajeon. The savory pancakes are packed with onion, celery, carrots, and seafood like shrimp or baby octopus. Fry in batches and serve alongside bulgogi so guests can wrap meat and banchan in the warm pancakes.

Frequency: 1

14. Marinated Bean Sprouts

Nutty soybean sprouts are often marinated in a tangy blend of soy sauce, garlic, and toasted sesame seeds. Their fresh crunch and salty-sour flavor serves as a cooling contrast to fatty beef. Bean sprout banchan is simple, nutritious, and adds great texture.

Frequency: 1

15. Radish Chips

For a crispy, salty side, thinly slice Korean radish or mooli into rounds and deep fry until golden brown. The chips make a fun finger food paired with bulgogi wraps. Fry and season them with salt for a light, crunchy banchan.

Frequency: 1

Create the Perfect Bulgogi Meal

With a platter of banchan covering all tastes and textures, you’re sure create the ultimate Korean barbecue meal starring succulent bulgogi beef. Aim for a mix of cool and refreshing sides along with warm, savory, and crispy ones.

Balance out the beef’s richness with light pickled vegetables, chili heat, and plenty of greens. Don’t forget a pot of steamed rice and of course, the essential kimchi for authentic flavors. With this guide, you have all the fixings to transport your dinner table to Korea.

How a Korean Chef Makes Beef BULGOGI in 15 Minutes!


What do you eat with beef bulgogi?

In many Korean restaurants, tables are outfitted with grills in the center so customers can cook the bulgogi meat themselves and eat it straight from the grill. Bulgogi is typically served with steamed rice, lettuce wraps, chili sauce, and other traditional Korean accompaniments.

What to serve with Costco beef bulgogi?

Let’s go to Costco and get beef bulgogi. The easiest way to cook this is saute it in a pan. till it’s all cooked. You serve it with rice and a side of kimchi.

What is a good side dish for Korean beef?

The best side dishes to serve with Korean beef are fried rice, cilantro lime rice, quinoa salad, macaroni salad, Brussels sprouts, charro beans, broccoli, stuffed peppers, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, spicy cucumber salad, kimchi fried rice, Korean green salad, bao buns, and radish salad.

How do Koreans eat bulgogi?

Korean beef bulgogi takes very little time to throw together and you can serve it over rice, on top of a salad, rolled up in lettuce leaves or in my Korean Bulgogi Sandwich with Spicy Cucumbers & Cheddar. There are a lot of common ingredients included in this recipe and you probably already have at least half on hand.

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