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May 07, 2021 3 min read

Choosing between Asian and Mexican cuisine is tough, as they both offer a load of depth and flavor. Make your choice an easy one with this Mexican-Asian taco recipe that brings you the best of both worlds - flavorful umami Bulgogi beef paired with fresh lime, Korean coleslaw, and spicy Mexican crema. 

This Korean beef taco recipe is one of our weeknight go-to's because it combines two of the best international cuisines in one seriously easy-to-prepare recipe. 

The hardest part of these Asian fusion tacos is preparing the marinade ahead of time to give your Bulgogi beef plenty of time to mingle with the rich flavors of fresh ginger, garlic, and soy. 

Usually, I slice my beef in the morning and then toss it into the marinade in the fridge until dinner time. Once you pull the marinated meat out of the refrigerator, the whole meal comes together in under 30 minutes between chopping your purple cabbage, avocado, and cilantro and frying up the flank steak strips. 
Follow our recipe below to make some delicious Korean beef tacos with spicy lime crema and serve them up in a mess-free taco holder!

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Korean Bulgogi tacos recipe - FAQ

What is Korean Bulgogi?

Bulgogi translates to "fire meat" and refers to a famous Korean BBQ preparation, in which thin marinated meat slices grill on a BBQ, stovetop griddle, or a pan, like in our recipe. Although you can use any type of pan to make Bulgogi, we recommend using a cast-iron skillet if you can. 

Why? Cast iron's high-temperature retention allows it to give your meat a nice sear that's more similar to the crispy results you'd get on a traditional grill. 

You'll see Bulgogi made with beef most often, but pork and chicken are other popular alternatives, too. 

Which type of meat is best for this recipe?

The best type of meat to use for a Korean BBQ taco is flank steak. You can also use hanger steak, top sirloin, or flat-iron, but these cuts tend to be quite expensive. 

Though flank is a little leaner and firmer than these other options, marinating it and cutting against the grain helps to make your Bulgogi beef strips tender and flavorful without breaking your grocery budget. 

Is this recipe gluten-free?

This Bulgogi taco recipe isn't completely gluten-free, but you can easily adjust it as needed. 

Instead of wheat-based tortillas, choose a gluten-free option instead, like corn tortillas or certified gluten-free wraps. You can also eat these tacos unwrapped on a bed of greens or steamed rice instead. 

The soy sauce is another ingredient to check if you're dealing with gluten allergies - read your soy sauce label carefully, as some brands contain wheat-based ingredients. 

What to serve with Korean tacos

The beauty of fusion recipes like this one is you have plenty of side dishes to choose from that all blend equally well with the dish. 

You can lean into the Mexican flavors in the dish and pair them with citrus beans and rice, nachos, fresh guacamole, salsa, or bean dip. 

If you want to enjoy some Korean side dishes with these beef tacos, we have a few favorites - spicy cucumber salad, Doenjang soup, radish salad, or flash-boiled spinach with sesame oil. 

If you want a taco topping with a little more zing than the fresh purple cabbage in our dish, turn it into an Asian slaw for tacos instead. You can enjoy this simple addition on top of your Korean beef tacos or the side!

Easy Asian Slaw

Ingredients
  • 6-7 c. shredded purple cabbage or cruciferous veggies of choice
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
Soy Dressing
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ c. rice wine vinegar
  •  3 Tbsp raw honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, or agave
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp chili flakes or chili paste 
Optional Toppings
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Crushed peanuts or cashews

Directions

  1. Shred your veggies, then toss them into a large-sized mixing bowl. Add in the fresh cilantro and green onions.
  2. In a small-sized mixing bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.
  3. Once thoroughly combined, pour the dressing over the chopped veggies and use a large wooden spoon to toss well. 
  4. Serve and enjoy, garnishing each serving with sesame seeds and crushed, toasted nuts. 

Final notes & storage tips

Once cooked, these Korean beef tacos can last up to 3 days in the fridge in a sealed airtight container. Keep the ingredients separate until serving to keep your tortilla and toppings from getting soggy. We don't recommend freezing your leftover meat, as it can get too firm and rubbery when it thaws. 

Enjoy your leftovers reheated or make cold tacos the next day - both are delicious!


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