Bulgogi is a delicious Korean grill dish, but it becomes even better served in a bao. Just make sure to buy good-quality meat, which you slice really thinly. Yes, you could even ask your butcher to slice it for you in their super-cool slicing machine. The kimchi you can make yourself or buy from the fridge in an Asian food store.






Skill level

Average: 3.7 (39 votes)


  • 1 batch Steamed buns
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) rib eye steak
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp Japanese soy
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds oil for deep-frying


Quick pickled cucumber

  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar 
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz/scant ½ cup) water
  • tbsp distilled vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


To serve

  • kimchi
  • ssamjang or Sriracha sauce
  • toasted sesame seeds

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Freezing time 1 hour

Marinating time 1 hour


To make the rib eye easier to slice, put it in the freezer for 1 hour and then slice it as thinly as you possibly can against the meat grain, preferably about 3mm/⅛ in thick.

Start with the marinade. Mix together the garlic, spring onions, soy sauce, sugar, mirin, sesame oil, pepper and sesame seeds. Mix the meat together with the marinade and leave to stand in the fridge for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, quickly pickle the cucumber by julienning it nicely, dissolving sugar in water and vinegar, seasoning to taste with salt and black pepper and pouring over.

Fry the kimchi in a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Hot and quick are the key things when frying bulgogi, so heat a cast-iron pan with a little oil in it to maximum temperature. Shake off the marinade as best as you can and place the meat in one layer on the pan. Fry quickly in batches until it gets beautifully caramelised and smells heavenly.

Assemble the bao by squirting the bread with ssamjang or Sriracha sauce, add some kimchi, pickled cucumber and loads of bulgogi and garnish with extra sesame seeds.


Recipe and image from The Ultimate Sandwich by Jonas Cramby (Pavilion Books, $34.99, hbk).


View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.