Bulgogi Bao with Spicy Cucumbers and Kimchi Slaw
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 12 bao
Adapted from my Aunt Tracie's recipe.
  • 1 Asian pear, roughly chopped
  • 1 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1" fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (Kikkoman)
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp rice wine (note: *not rice vinegar, can substitute red wine)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2lbs ribeye or sirloin, thinly sliced (Asian grocers will carry this sliced, or ask your butcher)
  • to serve
  • 12 bao buns / steamed buns (store-bought or homemade)
  • sesame leaves (sometimes called perilla or shiso, can substitute lettuce)
  • spicy cucumbers (recipe below)
  • Asian pear and kimchi slaw (recipe below)
  • quail egg (optional)
  • chopped green onion
  1. In a food processor, combine pear, onion, garlic and ginger and puree until smooth. Alternately, you can grate the onion and the pear, reserving juices. In a medium bowl, stir to combine the pureed mixture with soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, rice or red wine, green onion and sesame oil. Add in meat and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 4 hours. Any longer than that and it may get too salty.
  2. To cook on a grill: Line grill grate with foil and grill meat until the edges brown and meat is no longer pink. Since the cut is thin, it takes about 30-60 seconds per side.
  3. To cook in a grill pan: Let marinade drop off of meat before adding to a very very hot grill pan. You want the meat to sizzle and for it to brown when it hits the pan. Cook in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan or it will steam instead of brown.  The meat is thin, so it'll take about 1 minute on each side, until no longer pink. Clean out grill pan between batches as needed.
  4. to assemble the bao
  5. Gently open the bao, taking care not to rip it in half. Place a sesame leave in the bun, followed by a few slices of spicy cucumber and bulgogi. Top with Asian pear and kimchi slaw, a quail egg if using, and a sprinkle of chopped green onion.
Recipe by FMITK: From My Impossibly Tiny Kitchen at https://www.fmitk.com/bulgogi-bao/