Korean Beef Tacos




My copycat of the Kogi Tacos from their famous taco trucks!  You can make it at home and you don't have to run to the truck!

Step 1: Flank Steak Marinade

3-4 lbs meat (I usually buy a package of two flanks at Costco - which is between 3-4.5 lbs this is enough marinade for that.)

1/2 cup soy
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup sake
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (or more if you like it more garlicky)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper

1 bunch of scallions, washed and rinsed well. (This will be simply added in between the beef later for the final layer of flavor. I used to chop scallions into the marinade, but would end up with too many charred bits of scallion which just wasn't that appetizing. If you have no scallion, feel free to throw in some white onion wedges in with the beef after marinating.)

Set aside scallions and meat. Mix everything else together in a large bowl (marinade ingredients.)

Quickly rinse the meat (this is a Korean thing as my mother always insist that it all needs to be rinsed JUST IN CASE...of what I'm unclear.  I do believe in rinsing kalbi for sure because shards of bone often end up on the meat and washing that away is a good thing.)

Lay the flank down on a cutting board. It is a pretty wide flap of meat, and it will be hard to maneuver on the bbq in this form. Cut in half ALONG the grain - down the center, and you will have two halves.
Dunk each piece of steak into the marinade, making sure to submerge it and coat all sides of it. (I wear a disposable glove because sesame oil and soy sauce makes your hand smell forever.) Remove from marinade and place into storage container.

Layer in green onions as you place in the flank. Continue until all flank is marinated. Pour remaining marinade on top.

Marinate at least 8 hours or overnight if possible. I personally have found that a 24 hour soak yields the best flavor. If you are planning to freeze, you can allow it to soak and then portion off what you want into ziploc bags OR immediately put into bags and freeze. Try and put a bit of marinade into each bag when freezing. I generally freeze after I've cooked a batch only because people eat more than I expect them to - and I always end up freezing less than I would have.

You can grill it in the bbq (our family favorite) or broil it in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, depending on your preference for rare, medium or well.

Step 2: Ginger Cabbage Slaw

6 cups of cabbage, shredded. (about 1/2 a head of a good sized cabbage)
1/4 cup of red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of scallions chopped

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Pepper to taste

Whisk ingredients of dressing all together. Place the cabbage, onions and scallions in a bowl. 15 minutes before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss.

Step 3: Cucumber Cilantro Relish

2 cups chopped cucumber (I used the Persian cucumbers but an English/hothouse/kirby cucumber with the seeds removed would be just fine)
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro (do not be afraid to use some of the stem for this - the stem is YUMMY)

Dressing (optional for those with kids. I just topped Daughters' tacos with the cucumber and cilantro with no dressing)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Korean chili powder (gochu gahloo) or chili pepper flakes
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

In a small bowl whisk the ingredients for the dressing together. In another bowl place cucumber and cilantro. Pour dressing over and toss gently to coat.

Step 4: Sesame Chili Sauce

1/4 cup Sambal Oelek with garlic (or ground red chilis - available at your chinese market - super HOT)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients together. Set aside.

Step 5: Assembly

Put all the components - the beef, the cabbage slaw, the cilantro cucumber relish, sesame chili sauce and warm corn tortillas on your table. Place a couple of slices of beef in the center of the tortilla. Top with the cabbage slaw, the cucumber relish and the sesame chili sauce (use SPARINGLY it's HOT!). Fold it up and enjoy!



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    17 Discussions


    3 years ago

    So good! I've made this 4 times now. Everyone loves it. I even made a vegan version using crumbled tofu instead of meat for a vegan friend and they loved it!


    5 years ago

    Nice! I never heard of these, but they sure look good. Can't wait to make them.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't know there ever was a Korean Taco craze. These look unbelievably fantastic, thank you for sharing.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I'm glad! The Korean taco craze is quite big in CA - especially southern California, but even Bay Area folks are getting into them.


    5 years ago on Step 5

    Nice instructable...and excellent photos. They made my mouth water. I will definitely try this! Thanks

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Brilliant instructions! You got my vote! As I'm in Japan, the most difficult to procure ingredient is good soft taco shells. I'll have to make some from scratch for this.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    hmmm....I'm wondering if you could make your own corn tortillas...can you find corn meal?


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    if you look at the rest of the instructable there are quite a few toppings....a ginger slaw, a cucumber relish, and a chili sesame sauce. The first step is marinating the meat...and the rest is a piece of cake.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I know some people favor pear in the marinade, but my family is not one of them. Oftentimes it is there to help tenderize a less tender piece of meat - flank is by nature, fairly tender, and you still want to have a bit of chew and bite while eating your taco, so I opt not to have pear in the marinade.

    You can always put it in if that is your preferred marinade.