I absolutely love Korean food. I love the spiciness of so many of their dishes and the wide variety of condiments you get with dishes like Bibimbap. As a kid, my father used to drive to a Korean market outside of Washington DC to buy kimchee because back in those days you couldn’t buy it at Safeway. He used to make Bulgogi at home all the time. We just ate it with rice and kimchee.
Not being Korean we didn’t have a clue how to eat it. It wasn’t until much later that Korean restaurants were more numerous that I finally had a real version of this dish and my father’s version wasn’t too far off! Then for work he got to move to Korea when I was an adult and when he came back he really had learned how to cook it properly. So, needless to say as a white kid from the suburbs of DC, we had learned to appreciate Korean food.
We all know that Trader Joe’s loves Asian foods and we all know they love vegan foods, so what could be better than combining them both? Most Koreans are avid meat eaters but along with the modernization of food preferences, there are probably many vegans throughout Korea now. This dish is a product of Korea so I expected it to be high quality. You don’t make something like this in the home country and not do it right.
This is a frozen dish and it comes in a clear plastic bag. It really doesn’t look very appetizing when you pull the bag out of the box. It looks like a big blob of brown liquid in a bag, almost like dog food but don’t let that turn you off. But I went on. Frozen food like this can be great or awful, you just never know. Just dive in at least once or come to Club Trader Joe’s where I do the heavy lifting for you!
You are supposed to microwave it as the preferred method. I had problems getting the blob out of the clear bag so I hit the whole thing with about a minute of high in the bag to loosen it up. Then I stuck it in a bowl and resumed the heating for about 3 more minutes.
Before we go any further, I wanted to mention that these pieces of “meat” textured soy protein so tread with caution if you have a soy allergy. But when I pulled it out of the microwave, it smelled delicious. But the one thing I noticed was the lack of sauce. Considering how much seemed to be in the blob when first started heating it up, I expected a lot more. It was almost dry.
Usually, when I make dishes like this, I won’t doctor them up or add anything because I want to taste them straight up and this was the case here. I just put it in a bowl and started eating it.
I have to admit I was quite shocked at how good it was. Between the flavor and mostly the texture, I almost couldn’t tell that I wasn’t eating beef. The dish had the texture you would expect of decent meat. Chewy but too much. I expected it too mushy. The marinade, I thought was well done. It didn’t have that fresh marinade flavor you would get when you make it yourself, but it wasn’t half bad. As I ate more, I was just blown away by the texture! I honestly think you could serve this to meat eaters and they wouldn’t have a clue.
I think whether you are a vegan or not and you wanted some Bulgogi, you shouldn’t be afraid to try this. The only thing I would do is either get a bottle of Bulgogi sauce or make your own to give this a little bit of something more. That is the only thing I would say negatively about this.
Because I am so impressed with this vegan fake beef Korean bulgogi, I am going to give it 9 Bells! If they had a sauce pack or to make it a little more saucier, it would be a perfect 10.
INGREDIENTS: WATER, SAUCE (SUGAR,.
WATER, SOY SAUCE (WATER, DEFATTED
SOYBEAN FLAKES, WHEAT, SALT], PEAR
PUREE, ONION, GARLIC, APPLE PUREE,
CARAMELIZED SUGAR SYRUP [SUGAR,
WATER], MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, GINGER,
GREEN ONION EXTRACT WATER, GREEN
ONIONS, MALTODEXTRIN, SALT, PECTINASE],
DEXTRIN, BLACK PEPPER, GUAR GUM,
XANTHAN GUM), TEXTURED SOY PROTEIN
(SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, RICE FLOUR, WHEAT
GLUTEN, COCOA POWDER), SOYBEAN OIL.
CONTAINS SOY, AND WHEAT.
PRODUCT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA
HEAT FROM FROZEN
MICROWAVE (1200 WATT): MICROWAVE HEAT TIMES MAY
VARY DEPENDING ON OVEN WATTAGE. REMOVE ALL PACKAGING
AND PLACE FROZEN STRIPS IN A MICROWAVE SAFE DISH.
HEAT FOR 3 TO 4 MINUTES, OR UNTIL HEATED THROUGH.
CONVENTIONAL OVEN: PREHEAT OVEN TO 400°F. REMOVE ALL
PACKAGING AND PLACE FROZEN STRIPS IN A SINGLE LAYER ON
A BAKING SHEET. BAKE FOR 5 TO 7 MINUTES, OR UNTIL
STOVE TOP: REMOVE ALL PACKAGING. USING A NON-STICK
PAN AND MEDIUM HEAT, PLACE FROZEN STRIPS IN PAN AND
HEAT FOR 3 TO 5 MINUTES, OR UNTIL HEATED THROUGH.
FLIP PRODUCT FREQUENTLY
AIR FRYER: REMOVE ALL PACKAGING. PLACE FROZEN
STRIPS IN A SINGLE LAYER IN AIR FRYER BASKET
HEAT AT 375°F FOR 4 TO 6 MINUTES, OR UNTIL HEATED