Global Comfort Food: Korean Beef Tacos

By Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD | January 27, 2021 | Rally Health


Serves 6

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Beef bulgogi is a classic Korean dish made by grilling or searing thin slices of beef that have been marinated in a savory, slightly sweet sauce. The dish is typically eaten over steamed rice or used as a filling for lettuce wraps, but it’s also become a flavorful taco filing made popular by fusion cuisine enthusiasts and food trucks. (And most of the marinade ingredients are ones you probably already have in your kitchen — bonus!)

In making these tacos for my family, I discovered a few tips to get the best results and keep things simple. First, stick the beef in the freezer for 20 minutes before slicing into thin strips that cook quickly and evenly. Second, marinate the beef in the refrigerator a day in advance, if possible. Not only will this maximize the meat’s flavor when cooked, but it also means that you can have tacos ready in less than 15 minutes the next day.


  • 1 lb lean flank or top sirloin steak, trimmed
  • 5 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger (or ½ tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • ½ cup scallions
  • ¾ cup kimchi
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped cilantro


1. Going against the grain, cut steak into thin strips (½-inch-thick). Place steak in a shallow dish or sealable plastic bag.

2. Whisk together 4 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 ½ Tbsp vinegar, brown sugar, 2 tsp sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in a small bowl. Pour mixture over beef. Cover dish or seal bag; marinate beef in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

3. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage, and saute 3 minutes or until cabbage is beginning to soften but still crisp. Stir in scallions, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1 ½ Tbsp vinegar, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add kimchi, tossing to combine. Place slaw mixture in a bowl and set aside.

4. Wipe skillet clean. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Remove beef from marinade and discard marinade. Add beef to skillet and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, stirring frequently.

5. Warm tortillas in oven or on stovetop in a skillet. Divide steak evenly among warm tortillas. Top with slaw mixture, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 2 tacos): Calories 280; Total Fat 10g (Saturated Fat 2g); Cholesterol 45mg; Sodium 430mg; Total Carbs 27g (Dietary Fiber 3g, Total Sugars 3g, Added Sugars 2g); Protein 19g.

This recipe is from Comfort Foods From Around the World.


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