I don’t tend to do a lot of recipe reviews, but this one over at Food Network was so highly reviewed that I wanted to offer a counterpoint. The recipe is for bibimbap (which I adore), but I wanted to just examine the bulgogi component today ( bulgogi is basically the cornerstone of a delicious bibimbap experience, in my opinion – that and the chili paste that I’ll link to below).
In case you’ve never had bibimbap – it’s a Korean dish with marinated beef (usually), a variety of seasoned vegetables, rice, egg, and a special paste called, “Gochuchang.” It’s hearty, filling, and most importantly, yummy as all get out.
This particular recipe called for a huge number of ingredients in which to marinate the beef – I was hoping this was indicative of a really nuanced, subtle, wonderful and impactful flavor experience.
Unfortunately – it fell flat. I added in the “optional” Sprite the marinade called for. I think this actually watered down the marinade and the meat ended up lacking flavor. It was lightly sweet, blandly flavored and really missing character. To be fair, I was expecting a very particular experience and as far as bulgogi goes – this wasn’t bulgogi. Brie, who has never had bulgogi, liked it.
The ingredients were pricey and included a lot of things you wouldn’t typically have on hand: Rib eye steak, Asian pear, sesame oil and sesame seeds, the Gochuchang paste, etc. It doesn’t come together easily and also needs to marinate a long time (preferably overnight).
With so much invested, I ended up pretty disappointed.
I am open to re-approaching the dish in the future, if I can’t find something better – either cutting the Sprite down to a single cup (8 oz) or forgoing it entirely. In the meantime, I’m still on the search for a bulgogi recipe that’s just as good as what you’ll find at a restaurant. Any suggestions?
She lives in the Bay Area and cites her diverse background as her biggest influence: her visual artist mom is half-Chinese, half-Greek, and from Hawai’i; her film-loving, world-music curating dad is from Montana; and she lived in both California and Montana while growing up. She loves at least a little bit about virtually everything (Pokémon Snap included) and aims to be a Jane of all trades. By day Cat is a multiple-hat-wearing media person.
She is also allergic to felines.