These Korean tacos are a medley of explosive flavors and textures in each mouthwatering bite!
These Korean Tacos are insanely delicious loaded with juicy, caramelized Beef Bulgogi, topped with vibrant, refreshing Asian Pear Mango Slaw and drizzled with silky, cool Gochujang Crema. The Beef marinade, Slaw and Crema can be made ahead of time for a dinner that comes together in under 15 minutes when it’s “go” time!
Just when you thought Beef Bulgogi couldn’t get any more delicious, it becomes exponentially delectable as Beef Bulgogi Korean Tacos! These Korean Tacos are born out of my love of Asian fusion, especially when it comes to tacos. Pairing rich savory flavorings with refreshing, crunchy salsas or slaws and topping them all with silky cremas creates a symphony of flavors and textures that simply can’t be topped, in my humble opinion. Mouthfuls of savory, sweet, tangy, fresh, creamy, crunchy all in one bite after bite after bite…
Some of my favorite Asian tacos include these new Korean Tacos, my Thai Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Lime Broccoli Slaw (terrible pics but SO good!), Teriyaki Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Pear Slaw, and Asian Caramel Pork Tacos with Pineapple Snow Pea Salsa.
As you can see below, I assembled the Korean tacos for the pics but try as I might, I couldn’t eat all of them in one sitting. I placed the assembled tacos in the refrigerator without deconstructing them, then microwaved the leftovers as cravings truck. They were still heavenly. So I guess I’m saying is, please make these Korean Tacos. They will make you and your mouth happy. Even the leftovers.
So let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.
The star of our Korean Tacos is melt-in-your-mouth garlicky, gingery, Beef Bulgogi, because after all, a taco is only as good as the meat it’s loaded with. If you aren’t familiar with Beef Bulgogi (Korean Beef BBQ), it is one of the most popular Korean dishes. (I’ve detailed more than you ever wanted to know with lots of tips and tricks in my Beef Bulgogi post).
Beef Bulgogi is juicy, thinly sliced, marinated, caramelized beef that is slightly sweet, savory and characteristically seasoned with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame and scallions as well as a freshly grated ripe pear to tenderize the meat. It is intensely flavorful, and it’s tender, thin slices are just begging to be piled in Korean Tacos with our bright, refreshing Asian Pear Mango Slaw.
Topping for Korean Tacos
Some Korean Tacos are stuffed with Kimchi, but I found our Beef Bulgogi needed a sweet and fresh crunch vs a pickled fermented one. Enter Asian Pear Mango Slaw. This Slaw was made for these Korean Tacos. Literally.
I had all sorts of ideas about what I would top my Korean tacos with, but as I savored the caramelized beef, I knew the rich beef needed the fresh, bright, sweet, crunch of this Asian Pear Mango Slaw. The Slaw is stand alone delicious and really could be served as a salad, so just imagine how crazy delectable it is in these Korean Tacos. Or better yet, don’t imagine, make them!
The Asian Pear Mango Slaw is a quick tossing together of thinly sliced red cabbage, chopped Asian pear, mangoes, cilantro, green onions and lime juice. We are already using an Asian pear in the Bulgogi marinade, so I thought it was perfect to use in the slaw (and because they are one of my favorite fruits ever).
If you aren’t familiar with Asian pears, they are round and pale yellow. Essentially, they look like a yellow-ish apple. To me, they taste like a cross between an apple and pear and are wonderfully sweet and juicy with the firm texture of an apple. I am excited for you to try this gem of a fruit if you haven’t already!
Korean Taco Sauce
All tacos need a smooth and silky component to marry all the components together. For these Korean Tacos, we are going to create a simple Gochujang Crema that is luxuriously silky, slightly tangy with a splash of heat. To make, simply whisk together gochujang, mayo, sour cream, and lime juice – that’s it! You can control the heat of the Crema by adding more or less gochujang to taste.
If you aren’t familiar with gochujang, it is a delightful flavor bomb. Gochujang is a Korean BBQ Sauce that’s the perfect blend of savory, sweet and spicy. I have detailed where to find it below and because we are already using it in our Bulgogi, you will have it on hand for this Crema – winning!
More Korean dishes with Gochujang:
- 30 Minute Korean Beef Bowls
- Spicy Korean Noodles
- Korean BBQ Burgers with Miso Candied Bacons
- Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs
- Saucy Korean Beef Stir Fry
How to Make Korean Tacos
When dishes have a few components to them, it is super helpful to be able to make some or part of the dish in advance. For these Korean Tacos, you can make your Slaw and Crema 100% in advance and refrigerate them while your Beef Bulgogi marinates.
- Marinate Beef Bulgogi: Add soy sauce, Asian pear, brown sugar, rice wine, sesame oil Gochujang, garlic, ginger, pepper and scallions to a shallow bowl or freezer bag (whatever you are going to marinate your steak in) and whisk to combine. Add steak and turn to coat. Cover and marinate 30 minutes at room temperature (only an option if using rib eye or top sirloin) or refrigerate up to overnight.
- Mango Pear Slaw: Towards the end of the Beef marinating time, prepare the Asian Pear Mango Slaw. Add red cabbage, Asian pear, mango, cilantro, green onions and lime juice to a bowl then toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Gochujang Crema: Whisk together mayonnais, sour cream, lime juice and Gochujang in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Cook Beef Bulgogi: Heat sesame oil in a large pan until sizzling hot. Working in 4 batches, add meat (grabbing meat with tongs so excess marinade drips off) in a single layer and let sear 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook and addition 1-2 minutes or until browned but barely cooked through.. Transfer to a plate and cover tightly with foil. Repeat.
- Assemble Korean Tacos: Fill each tortilla with the desired amount of beef then top with Slaw and Crema. Garnish with additional lime and Gochuchang if desired.
Tips and Tricks for Korean Tacos
- Use flour tortillas. I love corn tortillas but they are too strong for this Korean Taco recipe.
- Char tortillas. This is totally optional but readers often ask how I char my tortillas, so here you go! I simply place my tortillas directly over the flame of my gas stovetop for a few seconds and flip using tongs.
- Asian pear substitute. Asian pears are more readily available in the fall and winter months (sometimes even Costco carries them), but I easily found mine at Sprouts in July. If you aren’t sure if your store carries them, just ask! If you can’t find Asian pears, you can substitute a sweet apple like Fuji or Bosc pear.
- Where to Find Gochujang. I use Annie Chun’s Sweet and Spicy Gochujang Sauce located in the Asian section of my grocery store, but you can also easily buy it on Amazon.
- How Cut a Mango. If you’re intimidated by selecting or cutting mangos, check out this post for everything you ever wanted to know!
- Prep ahead. Make your Crema and Slaw while your beef is marinating so your Korean tacos can come together in a flash. Your pears will absorb some of the coloring of the purple cabbage, just FYI.
Looking for More Asian Recipes?
- Beef and Broccoli
- General Tso’s Chicken
- Cashew Chicken
- Caramel Pulled Pork
- Mongolian Chicken
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Ginger Chicken with Honey Lemon Glaze
Want to try this Korean Tacos Recipe?
Pin it to your ASIAN, DINNER or BEEF Board to SAVE for later!
Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes! I am always pinning :)!
©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com
Carlsbad Cravings Original