If you know anything about Korean cuisine, it's that the stuff is ~amaze~. Bibimbab, japchae, kimchi-everything—and bulgogi. One of the most recognized Korean foods, bulgogi is sure to pop up on the menu at your local Korean joint. But, what is bulgogi? I'm here to get to the meat of the matter, dishing out all I can on this classic meal.

History of Bulgogi

Pronounced "buul-GOH-ghee", Bulgogi comes from bul ("fire") and gogi ("meat"). It originated in the Goguryeo era (37 BCE – 668 CE, aka hella long ago) in Korea and stuck around because it's literally just that good. Because beef was generally expensive back then, it was served for the wealthy noble class. So dine like kings and queens, fam.

So, It's Just Beef?

You're still probably wondering, what is bulgogi actually? Well, it's marinated grilled beef of the highest quality, generally using sirloin, tenderloin, or ribeye with good marbling. It's generally prepared in a sweet and savory sauce made of soy sauce, sugar, and Korean pear juice, then grilled on a barbecue or stove-top griddle, making for some freakin' flavorful meat. It's best to let it marinate overnight so all the flavor has time to settle in and get comfy.

So, you ready to try your hand at this traditional dish? Listed below are some saucy recipes to get you started.

Bulgogi Spring Rolls

Spring rolls are like, health wrapped up in a bundle of tasty glory. These bulgogi spring rolls have all that sweet-and-savory flavor, plus the recipe includes ssamjang sauce, a killer dipping sauce that usually accompanies Korean BBQ. Honestly, if you stuff a few of these in your face, I totally support all that you are.

Bulgogi Pizza

I know the current food scene is all about mashups, some of which go just a touch overboard. Doesn't mean we're not gunna try it though, amirite? This bulgogi pizza is kind of like a Korean take on a supreme pie, loaded with meat and veggies. If you're bored with typical pizza, this recipe is for you.

Chicken Bulgogi

In general, bulgogi implies a beef-based dish. It's just one of those unspoken rules, like how hot chocolate just has to come with marshmallows, or how party chips always come with salsa or guac. It's just a thing—we don't question it. But what is life without questioning? And that's why we have this chicken bulgogi recipe. Because not all things have to be what you expect them to be.

Bulgogi Kimbap

Basically a Korean twist on sushi, kimbap is typically filled with beef or egg rather than raw fish, then packed with a ton of filling veggies to make the perfect snack or meal add-on. This bulgogi kimbap uses that succulent beef to create a dish that's salty, sweet, and savory, all wrapped in convenient little bites that are super easy to take wherever life throws you.

Bulgogi Bowls

I feel like every food has been turned into a bowl. But I'm here for it—there's just something about the circular orb of goodness that's oddly comforting, and bowls are usually filled with healthy ingredients. The same goes for this bulgogi bowl; it's filled with protein, veggies, and happiness, and the best part is you can totally customize it to your liking. Who needs plates anyway?

Bulgogi Jeongol

Traditional bulgogi is made over a fiery grill, but we're gunna simmer down just a bit and use it for this jeongol recipe. Jeongol is a kind of Korean stew that uses a ton of veggies and meat, and is super simple to throw together. Perfect for warming you up on a cold night, bulgogi jeongol will be sure to please a crowd for when you want to cuddle up with a bunch of your pals this winter.

But I'm Lazy and I Don't Want to Cook

I feel ya. Sometimes, going out to eat is a way more appealing option. While I can't vouch for every state in the US, I can recommend some pretty great bulgogi places in NYC. Hit up Her Name is Han (super adorable with elegantly cultivated dishes), Madangu (some of the best bulgogi around), or, if you want to really experience everything, head to Woorijip Authentic Korean Food—seriously, this place is a foodie dream.

Bulgogi is a sweet and savory Korean beef dish that will send a wave of joy over your tastebuds. Check out your local Korean joint and see if they serve some.