The evolution of bulgogi over the past 100 years

Kyou Jin Lee, Mi Sook Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this research is to examine the history of bulgogi's transition and development over the past century. While bulgogi carries on the legacy of Korean traditional roasted meat, it is simultaneously a very unique cuisine, of which the recipe and meaning have changed over time according to shifting economic and social conditions. As a result, bulgogi is not merely a simple dish; rather, the term embodies numerous symbolic meanings of Korean food culture. The origin of this seasoned roast meat can be traced back to the Goguryeo dynasty (37 BC-AD 668). In different historical periods and social contexts, bulgogi has gone through unusual and dynamic transitions of cooking methods, such as roasting and boiling. One of its first transitional periods (1920s-1960s) is marked by the use of grilled beef that originates from neobiani and the commercialized cooking process of roasting. During the developmental phase of bulgogi (1960s-1990s), bulgogi boiled in meat broth appeared, quickly gaining popularity. The phase of decline in bulgogi consumption and popularity was followed by the revival of bulgogi (after the 1990s), when it was adapted through various cooking methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-194
Number of pages27
JournalKorea Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • Beef broth bulgogi
  • Grilled bulgogi
  • Korean food culture
  • Neobiani
  • Roast meat


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