Daeji Bulgogi Tacos

A few weeks back I was having friends over for my birthday. I wanted to try making some Korean tacos LA-Kogi-BBQ-truck-style, which is to say, inspired by them—they ARE the masters. So I sat and read their online menu and then went to the store, where I came up with the below taco. It was a big hit, and afterward, I promised the recipe to people. Here it is.

You will need: Daeji bulgogi, sugar snap peas chopped with the shells on, limes, chopped scallions and chopped cilantro (these I toss together in a dish). And a package of corn tortillas (or, if you are my friend Marisa, you make yours). Also, one banana pepper or some other kind of pepper besides jalapeno, like a lantern pepper, chopped fine. Set these aside in bowls and make your Daeji bulgogi like this:

2-4 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 half-inch piece of ginger, chopped fine
2 scallions, green parts chopped
1 white onion, in half-moon slices
1/2-1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2-4 tablespoons red pepper paste (you must buy this at a Korean food market)
1-2 tablespoons red pepper flake (see above parenthetical)
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon safflower oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon agave nectar (instead of corn syrup)
1-2 tablespoons crushed sesame seeds
1.5 lbs of pork, either pork belly or loin or a mixture of those cuts

To create the marinade, mix the garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, soysauce, oils, red pepper paste and flake, and the sugar and agave. Drop the pork and the rest of the ingredients except sesame seeds into that. Mix and set in fridge for 20-30 minutes. Turn heat on med-high and cook. Cook and stir for about 7-10 minutes, until meat feels firm to the touch.

I stir the crushed sesame seeds in last, near the end of cooking. Also, if you feel you need EVEN MORE spice than this, consider using red pepper sesame oil instead of sesame oil, which has a nicely deep tone to it.

Obviously, you can just eat this as is with rice and never go to the next phase. But…

Toast corn tortillas on stove
Cover tortilla with two tablespoons of the pork
sprinkle sugar snap peas, scallions and cilantro
squeeze lime wedge on it
drop banana pepper (just a few pieces)

And you’re done.

Make a lot as it goes quick. Also, as my friend Melanie and I recently discovered, this recipe goes well with chicken. Also, note that the ginger is not always in Daeji bulgogi, but I like it in mine.


  1. For those purists who are horrified, I’d add that kimchee had no red pepper in it until the discovery of the Americas and the spice trade, so technically, all mixing of Korean food with Mexican and South American flavors is technically a tradition these last, oh, 500 years.

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