Serious Eats: Recipes

Serious Heat: Kogi-Inspired Bulgogi Tacos with Spicy Slaw

Note: On Wednesdays, Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, drops by with Serious Heat.

I admit it. I'm not a recipe repeater.

As a constant food experimenter for both a magazine and personal chef clients, almost every meal is different. So it'll be a while before I come back to a recipe. "Remember that rhubarb-strawberry compote I made?" I asked my boyfriend recently, when I had thoughts of making it again to use up the excess fruit in our CSA share. He gave a blank stare. "More than two years ago...I made lemon shrimp pasta for dinner that night. We watched the Sopranos." Still a blank stare. I can't blame him for not being able to keep up with the massive recipe inventory in my head.

Even with the personal cheffing I do on the side through The Dish's Dish, I rarely repeat a meal for a client, unless requested. Well, I've finally found a repeat-worthy recipe with these Bulgogi Tacos with Spicy Slaw. Our former editorial assistant, Lillian Cho, came up with the recipe for the July 2009 issue of Chile Pepper with inspiration from the Los Angeles Asian taco truck, Kogi. And I've made the recipe about half a dozen times in the past couple months, practically a record for me.

Bulgogi is a Korean dish of thin slices of steak marinated in a soy sauce and sesame oil mixture. To speed up the marinating process, Lillian used ground beef in place of steak.


For the slaw, a quick salting of the cabbage removes some of its excess liquid, and infuses it with flavor. As a Southerner, I can't make a slaw without a scoop of mayo, so I added that. Between the red chile flakes, the fish sauce, and the spoonful of sugar, there's an incredible spicy-sweet-tangy combo that plays around in the mouth with the slaw and works nicely with the sweetness of the bulgogi.

The concept of Asian tacos is such a refreshing play when you're in a Mexican rut.

Bulgogi Tacos with Spicy Slaw

by Lillian Cho, Chile Pepper magazine July 2009

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