This article was updated on the 15th of August 2023 for freshness and clarity.
If you’re wondering what to serve with your bulgogi, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 45 of the most popular side dishes for bulgogi.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best dishes to serve with bulgogi are fresh kimchi, grilled bok choy, kimchi fried rice, braised baby potatoes, and yachaejeon. You can also serve japchae, fish cake stir fry, stuffed peppers, and baked potatoes. Try chilled oi naengguk, scallion salad, or pickled daikon for lighter options.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Also known as bapsang, these are traditional Korean side dishes served with the main course (in this case, bulgogi!).
Kimchi and japchae are some of the most popular banchan, but there are a lot more dishes to choose from like kongmuchim (bean sprouts side dish) and oi naengguk (chilled cucumber soup).
Kimchi is one of the most classic accompaniments to bulgogi. But if you’re intimidated by its tangy flavors, give this fresh kimchi (also known as geotjeori) a try instead.
It’s still made with the same ingredients as regular kimchi, but it lacks the funky, sour notes because it isn’t fermented. Instead, you’ll get a sweet and spicy kick that pairs nicely with your savory bulgogi.
The only downside is it doesn’t have a long shelf life like regular kimchi and only lasts up to seven days in the fridge.
Japchae is a staple noodle dish in Korean cuisine. It features chewy sweet potato noodles, crisp-tender vegetables, and a tasty sweet-but-savory sauce that will leave you wanting more.
Its vibrant colors and flavors make it a great base for bulgogi. Plus, it’s a quick and easy dish that only takes about 15 minutes to make.
Psst… want some heat with your japchae? Try adding a pinch of red pepper flakes to the japchae sauce for a mildly spicy kick.
Looking for a refreshing side dish for your bulgogi? Try oi naengguk, also known as chilled cucumber soup.
It’s made with crunchy cucumbers and slippery seaweed, giving the soup a super unique texture and flavor. But what makes this a great side dish is the broth, made with soup soy sauce, vinegar, and seasoning. It gives you a tangy flavor that perfectly contrasts with the sweet-savory flavors of your bulgogi.
This salad, also called pa muchim, is another classic Korean side for meat dishes.
It features julienned scallions that have been soaked in cold water to remove their slime and make them look fresh and curly. In terms of flavor, there are many ways you can dress them up.
Korean Bapsang shows two options: the first is a simple combination of gochugaru and sesame oil. While the second is more complex, with other additions like soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar.
Pro-tip: stuff this scallion salad with your bulgogi in a lettuce leaf for an easy yet light meal.
Danmuji is a pickled daikon radish that’s usually found alongside dishes like kimbap (or Korean rice rolls).
It has a distinct sourness right out of the package, making it an ideal palate cleanser for the greasiness of your bulgogi. But Ahnest Kitchen jazzes it up further by adding sesame oil, Korean red pepper flakes, garlic, and sesame seeds for a bit of a savory twist.
Enjoy this seasoned danmuji over a bed of rice with your bulgogi.
Fish cake stir fry
Add a fun surf and turf twist to your Korean feast by pairing bulgogi with this fish cake stir fry.
It has lots of variations, but the main types are spicy or non-spicy. This recipe is for the spicy version, which uses gochujang (spicy pepper paste) and gochugaru (hot chili pepper flakes). These give the fish cakes their heat and are also responsible for the fiery-red color of the dish.
Braised baby potatoes
Potato sides are a fantastic accompaniment for any dish — and these braised baby potatoes are no exception.
Also known as gamja jorim, this dish involves cooking baby potatoes in a soy sauce and honey mixture. This sauce turns into a sweet-savory glaze as the spuds cook, making them highly irresistible.
Enjoy these deliciously sticky spuds with your bulgogi for the ultimate Korean feast.
A meaty bulgogi meal isn’t complete without a starchy side dish. Even plain steamed rice works well, but why not think outside of the box with a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes?
And if you’re feeling indulgent, go all out with mac and cheese.
Kimchi fried rice
Kimchi fried rice is a classic side dish that pairs well with any Korean main – including bulgogi.
The combination of kimchi juice and gochujang gives the humble fried rice a flavor boost that any spice lover will enjoy. Just pop a generous helping of bulgogi on top of your kimchi fried rice, and you’ve got a classic Korean comfort meal.
Want to take things up a notch?
Finish off your kimchi fried rice with a fried egg and nori strips. Delish!
If you’re looking for a more familiar dish to go with your bulgogi, baked potatoes are a great choice.
They’re like steamed rice – the ideal base for a saucy dish like bulgogi. Plus, their fluffy interiors have a neutral flavor that’ll let your bulgogi’s sweet-savory flavors shine.
Psst… don’t skimp on the butter when you’re making these.
Add a fun Mexican twist to your bulgogi dish by making these stuffed peppers.
They’re filled with rice, black beans, and Mexican spices.
Pairing it with bulgogi is unconventional, but it works when you think about the flavor combinations. The spices provide you with a tasty contrast to your bulgogi’s sweet and savory notes.
Plus, these black bean stuffed peppers have everything you need for a complete meal.
Or you can skip the traditional stuffed pepper fillings and opt to make bulgogi beef stuffed peppers instead. So good!
Another fun fusion meal you could make is bulgogi-topped pizza.
No one is going to be disappointed when they’re presented with a pizza, especially not one topped with nuggets of delicious bulgogi beef. And to take things further up a notch, My Korean Kitchen’s recipe ditches the tomato sauce and uses bulgogi sauce instead.
This gives the pizza even more sweet-savory goodness.
Keep your bulgogi meal low-carb with a side of nourishing veggies. Go with a classic vegetable stir-fry for a delicious Chinese twist or roast some broccoli florets for an effortless, hands-off option.
Yachaejeon, also known as Korean vegetable pancakes, is a fun way to sneak some vegetables into your meal.
Naturally Nidhi’s recipe uses a medley of potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers for their pancakes. But you can also try leeks, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms.
The pancakes are delightfully crisp and golden brown, making each bite satisfying. They’re also sturdy enough that you can use them as a wrap for your bulgogi!
Pro-tip: make a gochujang dipping sauce to go alongside these pancakes.
Grilled bok choy
Keep your bulgogi meal light and healthy with a serving of grilled bok choy.
Grilling isn’t a common method for cooking this leafy veg, but it’s a must-try. The high heat adds a light char to the veg, infusing it with a distinct smokiness. And if that’s not enough, My Spice Trunk’s recipe first marinates the bok choy leaves with a citrusy soy sauce mixture for more flavor.
And the best part? You can whip this up in 10 minutes, making it ideal if you’re in a rush.
Vegetable stir-fry is one of my favorite takeout dishes to replicate.
It’s super easy and you can use any veggie combination you want – a great way to use those odd bits of veg you have left in your fridge.
And since the veggies are stir-fried, they have a perfect crisp-tender texture and fresh color that makes them look oh-so-scrumptious.
I usually steam asparagus over the stovetop, but using the microwave has been a game-changer. It’s quick, easy, and produces perfectly crisp-tender asparagus spears every time. Plus, there are fewer dishes to clean after. Now that’s a win-win.
Just remember to cover the spears with damp (not wet) paper towels to make sure they don’t dry out.
Pro-tip: toss the steamed spears in melted butter before serving them with your bulgogi.
What To Serve With Bulgogi [45 Ideas]
- 1 portion Scallion salad
- 1 portion Kimchi fried rice
- 1 portion Grilled bok choy
- 1 portion Baked potatoes
- 1 portion Japchae
- 1 portion Bulgogi pizza … and more
- Prepare your bulgogi according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: fresh kimchi, grilled bok choy, kimchi fried rice, fish cake stir fry, braised baby potatoes, yachaejeon, japchae, oi naengguk, scallion salad, seasoned danmuji, baked potatoes, and korean stuffed peppers.
- Serve immediately and enjoy.