“Cooking well doesn’t mean cooking fancy” -Julia Child
This week’s recipe is… Korean Beef Bulgogi Tacos!
Bulgogi is a classic Korean dish that translates to “fire-meat”. It’s a marinated beef that is thinly sliced and is very common in Korean households. Some have made comparisons to spaghetti and meatballs being to Italians as Bulgogi is to Koreans. Bulgogi is usually eaten over rice or as a wrap, completely wrapped in lettuce. According to Korea Journal, Bulgogi’s origins stretch back to the Goguryeo (that’s a mouthful!) era (37 B.C. to 668 A.D.). In the Goguryeo era it began as a kabob-like dish of skewered meat called maekjeok. With time, the maekjeok transformed into a dish known as seoryamyeok, which was a more brothy meal of marinated beef soaked in cold water, which finally became neobiani, which is a luxury dish preffered by Korean royalty.
Phew! That’s one long history for a beef dish! But this isn’t just any beef dish, this is Bulgogi! And it doesn’t even end there. neobiani became bulgogi after the invasion of the Japanese, and later, Korea’s fight for independence. As beef became widespread and experienced shortages, beef’s prominence went up and down. But finally by the 19902 bulgogi had solidified it’s place as the most popular food in Korea.
BULGOGI IN AMERICA HISTORY
As Koreans immigrated to the U.S. they brought bulgogi with them. Some argue that this dish coming to America was the best-known Korean food product to ever come to America. (Although kimchi and bibimbap are arguably close seconds and thirds). Like most foods that eventually come to America, they change and adapt.
Bulgogi in America is less frequently served in its brothy form, and is served frequently in its grilled form. Nowadays, you can see Bulgogi being cooking in front of your eyes at you local Korean barbeque, which are not only found in K-towns, but all across the United States.
Question: What meat is the Bulgogi made from?
Answer: The meat comes from cattle known as Hanwoo, a small and highly-prized animal found near the resort mountains near Pyeongchang, which has a lot of marbled fat. Hanwoo beef is rarely exported and therefore quite expensive.
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Which historical fact was the most surprising to you? Have you tried Bulgogi both brothy and grilled? Let us know in the comments section below!