What to Serve With Korean Short Ribs (Galbi)?

What to Serve with Korean Short Ribs
Image credit: Serious Eats

Korean short ribs, also known as galbi, are the perfect main dish to serve at your next gathering or party.

They’re spicy but not too spicy, and they’re tender and juicy, unlike traditional BBQ ribs. This recipe makes enough marinade to serve 4-5 people, so you can feed a crowd without worrying about leftovers or making multiple batches of marinade! 

With this recipe, you can use whatever meat you want—the marinade would go great with chicken thighs, pork shoulder, salmon… the list goes on! Here is what to serve with Korean short ribs.

1. Cold Noodles with Sesame Oil

These simple noodles are usually served in Korea as a banchan (side dish), but it’s great easy party food. What to serve with Korean short ribs can be as easy as it seems, and this cold noodle with sesame oil is one too.

To make this soak, cook dried udon or buckwheat noodles according to package directions. Then drain, rinse under cold water and let dry for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat about canola or other neutral oil in a small saucepan until it shimmers. Add garlic clove (crushed), thinly sliced scallions, and finely minced fresh ginger root. 

Finally, cook, constantly stirring, until just golden brown. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 tbsp each of the toasted sesame seeds and soy sauce; set aside.

2. Glazed Carrots

In a medium saucepan, combine peeled carrots,  honey, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain and return the carrots to the pan over low heat. Add fresh orange juice concentrate,  vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.

Finally, toss until glazed and serve hot or at room temperature. Serve warm with kalbi or cold as an accompaniment for barbecued pork ribs or Asian-style noodle dishes.

3. Sautéed Spinach

Spinach is fantastic for you and even better for your waistline. It’s a member of what’s known as the brassica family, which includes green cabbage, kale, bok choy, and mustard greens. All brassicas are known to add taste to dishes. 

4. Grilled Pineapple

You don’t have to wait for summertime to enjoy a refreshing grilled pineapple. Even in cold weather, there’s nothing like bringing out that grill and infusing your house with barbecue aromas. 

Here, we give you three simple recipes that work wonderfully well as appetizers or desserts: glazed pineapple spears, spicy Hawaiian pineapple kebabs, and an innovative grilled banana ice cream sundae.

All these recipes require only two ingredients—pineapple and your favorite marinade or rub. They’re sure to impress friends and family at your next party.

5. Fried Onions

You’ll need about a cup of oil for frying (vegetable, peanut, or canola are all acceptable) and a large mixing bowl.

Coat your onions in cornstarch and put them in individual freezer bags. Place them inside to thaw before using them. 

You’ll only need two or three per serving, so don’t overwhelm yourself with excess onion prep. Fry at 350 degrees for five minutes or until they begin to turn golden brown and crispy around their edges.

6. Sweet Soy Sauce

Kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) is a key ingredient in many traditional Asian dishes. It lends an addictively sweet, salty flavor to foods and is sometimes used as a dipping sauce for meat dishes. 

Kecap manis is readily available at most grocery stores, but if you can’t find it where you live, try making your own sweet soy sauce by mixing equal parts soy sauce and honey together. Serve steamed white rice alongside these short ribs for a quick side dish.

7. Stir-Fried Vegetables

There’s a reason stir-fried vegetables are so popular as a side for grilled or roasted meats. It is one of the best options for what to serve with Korean short ribs. They’re delicious and easy to prepare. In fact, any vegetable will work in these dishes. 

Just choose your favorite variety, cut it into bite-size pieces, and sauté in a pan with some olive oil or butter over medium heat until they start to brown and soften about five minutes. Serve them over rice or on their own.

8. Korean spinach (sigeumchi namul)

Sigeumchi namul is a simple and light side dish that goes perfectly with barbecued meat or kalbi. A popular spicy bean paste called gochujang adds a nice kick to spinach.

It’s also very easy to make, so you can serve it right away as soon as you finish grilling your meat or even prepare it ahead of time and quickly cook it on an open flame until it’s wilted.

It may not be familiar to all of your guests, but they will surely love how good it tastes!

9. Lo Mein

Why serve rice with Korean short ribs? Lo mein noodles work fine—and better if you ask us. This Asian-style noodle dish is quick to make and pairs perfectly with BBQ beef or spicy marinated pork. 

You’ll want to get enough lo mein for everyone at your table—serve it on its own as a side, or pile it on top of a pile of kalbi (beef ribs). If you like spicy food, add in some sliced jalapeño for added flavor and kick.

10. Garlic Chili Spicy Edamame

Looking for what to serve with Korean short ribs can be stressful if you’re new to the cooking world. Try garlic chili spicy edamame if you want something new to accompany your dish.

To make spicy edamame, cook edamame pods in a large pot of boiling water for about five minutes until tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Mix some minced garlic, chili sauce, and soy sauce in a small bowl. 

Finally, pour over cooked edamame and mix well to coat; serve immediately. To make it extra spicy, add siracha sauce or hot sauce on top!

11. Creamy Cucumber Salad

This recipe will help get your party started and your taste buds moving. One of my favorite sides for short ribs is a simple cucumber salad that goes well as a light lunch by itself.

It’s great to eat as you cook because it cuts through some of those heavier flavors and helps cleanse your palate in between bites. 

Make sure to cut your cucumbers into thick matchsticks (so they are easy to chew) and toss them with lime juice, soy sauce, and white sugar for a side dish that is both sweet and salty.

For an even more intense flavor, add some gochujang or chili paste at the end—just be careful. It’s hot stuff!

12. Ssamjang

This one’s pretty easy because you’ll probably already have some ssamjang in your fridge. It’s a traditional Korean dipping sauce made from fermented soybean paste, onion, and chili powder. Use it to dip your ribs or spread it over crackers as an appetizer. 

Just don’t fill up on too many snacks. Remember to save room for dinner! This is another best option for what to serve with Korean short ribs.

13. Spicy Scallion Salad

This simple salad pairs well with bold dishes such as Bulgogi and Spicy Pork Tacos. Combine chopped scallions (white and green parts) for a quick version of a classic salad. Add soy sauce to a small bowl. Sprinkle in minced garlic and toasted sesame seeds. 

Finally, stir in sesame oil until dressing is thoroughly combined, then season with salt to taste before serving over your meal for a simple, flavorful side dish that everyone at your table will surely enjoy! This dish goes well served cold over warm rice or on its own as a side appetizer or snack.

14. Steamed Broccoli

Broccoli is a fantastic vegetable as an option for what to serve with Korean short ribs. Not only does it pair well with many different types of food, but it also has impressive health benefits. 

For example, broccoli is loaded with phytochemicals that have been found to have anti-carcinogenic properties and will help boost your immune system while helping you to feel fuller longer, and more satiated after eating it.

Steamed broccoli is great when served on its own as a side dish, or you can spice things up by serving it over some rice as an alternative to potatoes.

15. Korean Bean Sprouts (kong namul)

Bean sprouts are common accompaniments to barbecue in Korea, but they don’t usually make it into your typical American BBQ spread.

However, you can use bean sprouts to make kong namul, or seasoned bean sprout salad, and they’ll add a touch of freshness that goes well with barbecued meats. 

Simply blanch them in boiling water until just tender and serve warm as an appetizer. You can also toss them into salads or stir-fries later on down the line.

Bean sprouts are available at most grocery stores these days but are particularly abundant during Asian holidays like Chinese New Year, which is coming up next month.

16. Sauteed Mushroom

The trick to a good sautéed mushroom is all in how you prepare them. Make sure to cut out as much extra liquid and dirt from your mushrooms as possible, or you’ll end up steaming them rather than sautéing them.

Don’t throw away those stems. They actually lend an earthy flavor to meat dishes like these ribs. Another thing that makes a difference when sautéing mushrooms is using clarified butter.

It cooks evenly, leaving your mushrooms soft and supple instead of burnt on one side. To clarify butter, melt butter in a pot over low heat until it becomes clear; remove from heat before it burns.

17. Polenta

Polenta is a good side dish when looking for what to serve with Korean short ribs.  It’s flavorless and adds a nice texture to contrast with meat. It can be served warm or chilled and sliced cold as an appetizer. 

Polenta is also gluten-free if you’re going for that type of menu. To prepare it, boil water or broth and slowly add the cornmeal while whisking.

The result should be thick but soft enough to spread into a pan that has been greased in cooking spray (or butter, if you have it on hand).

Spread thin over a baking sheet and pop in your fridge for at least an hour before slicing into desired sizes for serving.

18. Lightly Pickled Radish

Pickled radish is often served with grilled meat, and you can try to find it in an Asian market or ask your Korean friend.

If you have experience cooking Korean dishes, it will be easy for you to make your own pickled radish. 

But don’t hesitate to buy a jar of store-bought pickled radish if there is no time to make your own. The important thing is that you need pickled radishes for a side dish. This simple yet crunchy side dish enhances any grilled meat, especially ribs.

19. Grilled Spring Onions

Simple and delicious, grilled spring onions make a tasty side dish. They’re also easy to make! Simply chop your spring onion, soak it in cold water for 10 minutes, rinse, pat dry and then drizzle with olive oil.

Toss with salt (kosher works well) and pepper before grilling them over medium heat for about 30 minutes until they have a nice char on both sides. 

In addition, to make it an entrée salad (pictured), simply grill some extra short ribs alongside your onions.

The extra fat from the ribs will drip down and add even more flavor to your grilled onions – bonus points if you use those drippings in a dressing on top of your salad greens, as I did! Enjoy…

20. Creamy Avocado Dip

Just like any other cut of meat, grilled short ribs are best for what to serve with Korean short ribs with a flavorful marinade.

This recipe uses a spicy blend of gochujang paste, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Gochujang is a traditional Korean hot pepper paste that is readily available in most grocery stores in North America.

However, if you cannot find it or do not enjoy spicy food, feel free to omit it. Once you’ve grilled your short ribs and they’re just about ready to serve, drizzle them with some creamy avocado dip for an extra flavor burst and try not to groan audibly. Enjoy!

21. Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

There’s a good chance you already have these ingredients in your kitchen. If not, grab a bag of potatoes and pick up some prepared horseradish.

While you’re at it, grab one of those really nice forks that grandma used to use because you’ll want it to scoop out every last bit of flavorful sauce from that slow cooker. 

Horseradish mashed potatoes are simple to make. Boil peeled red or white potatoes (do not add any butter or milk), drain them, and then mash them with a fork. Add prepared horseradish until your desired flavor is reached (start slowly—it can be pretty spicy).

22. Asian Chopped Salad

Next on our list of what to serve with Korean short ribs is an Asian chopped salad. An appetizer with a little bit of everything is a great way to get your guests started.

For an Asian-inspired twist on an old favorite, serve up bowls of chopped romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, cucumber rounds, sliced cherry tomatoes, and fried wonton strips drizzled in a low-fat dressing. 

You can also add grilled shrimp or chicken to amp up the protein. Be sure to have plenty of napkins handy for these finger foods!

23. Kimchi

Also known as kimchi jjigae, kimchi stew is a popular Korean dish in which vegetables and spices are simmered together in a broth.

On its own, kimchi has a sweet taste—which may explain why it’s served alongside many types of food at banquets and celebrations.

Combined with short ribs (or any other braised meat), you have an easy dish that’s full of flavor. You won’t leave your guests feeling lethargic afterward!


There are so many great ways to prepare Korean short ribs that it can be hard to know where to start! Let this Korean short ribs recipe give you some ideas, and don’t stop there.

Koreans use short ribs in stews, soups, stir-fries, sandwiches, and more! Korean short ribs are one of the most popular dishes served at Korean restaurants, and they are easy to make if you have a slow cooker.

This dish can be served as an appetizer or as the meal’s main course. A good selection of side dishes will complete your Korean short rib feast. 

They’re delicious, no matter how they’re prepared! In this list of what to serve with Korean short ribs, what’s your favorite way to eat it? Serve them with your favorite wine and enjoy an evening of good food and drink with family and friends!

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