Joon Ma

Joon Ma Spicy Korean Bulgogi Beef Taco

My husband and son share an insatiable appetite for Korean barbeque—as well as an equally strong dislike of the lettuce leaves traditionally used to wrap the beef. Inspired by Korean food trucks, we decided to experiment with our own version, wrapping marinated Korean bulgogi in hot corn tortillas—they were an instant hit! Crisp, spicy sweet cucumber, creamy avocado, crunchy scallion and a punch of gochuchang (a savory Korean hot pepper paste) make these unbelievably good.

Joon Ma Spicy Korean Bulgogi Beef Taco Joon Ma
  • 15-20 minutes
  • 5 Servings
  • 285 cals


  • 2 pounds rib-eye steak
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 Asian pear, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Canola oil
  • 5 mini or Kirby cucumbers
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons gochugaru
  • 5 scallions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • Twelve 6-inch white corn tortillas


  1. Trim excess fat from steak and slice very thinly across the grain.
  2. Put onion, pear, garlic, ginger and sake into a blender (or food processor). Blend until smooth and creamy. Then add soy sauce, dark brown sugar, sesame oil and black pepper. Pulse until well mixed.
  3. Pour marinade over beef. Gently massage the beef with the marinade for a minute or two. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before cooking.
  4. Wash the cucumber and slice 1/8 inch thick. Wash the green onion and chop finely.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Then add the cucumber and green onion
  6. Very thinly slice the scallions on a sharp diagonal, chop the cilantro and slice the avocado. Put each in a separate serving bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a cast-iron pan over high heat. Add the marinated bulgogi to the pan and cook the beef in batches, each in a single layer. Stir the beef until cooked through and nicely browned and caramelized (about 3 minutes). Be sure not to crowd the beef in the pan or it will end up steaming versus browning. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  8. Heat the tortillas on a hot skillet, turning occasionally, for about 1 minute, or until hot. Transfer to a serving platter and cover to keep warm.
  9. Serve the bulgogi with the tortillas, cucumber salad and garnishes. Let each guest make their own tacos by adding bulgogi to a tortilla and topping it with cucumber, scallions, avocado, cilantro and a drizzle of gochujang.
  10. Enjoy Joon Ma's Korean Bulgogi Beef Tacos
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