Sunday special bulgogi

Sunday evenings were always something to look forward to when I was growing up because my mum would cook a dish that was simply known to my sisters and me as ‘Sunday special’. It was a delicious dish of sliced beef in a garlicky, sweet soy marinade and served with rice. Even though we ate it pretty much every Sunday we never got tired of it. I later found out that the dish was none other than the classic Korean classic, Bulgogi, and it’s still a staple of my diet today. This recipe that I’m posting is slightly different to my mum’s (she would add mirin and grated ginger and just have it over steamed rice), but there are many ways to get inventive with this.



  • 300g scotch fillet, sliced very thin
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • 60 ml of water
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ nashi pear
  • 1 onion
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Pinch pepper
  • Pinch salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1-2 shallots, sliced
  • Sesame seeds
  • Red chilli
  • Cooked rice
  • Lettuce

Mix the soy, water, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowel with the thinly sliced beef. Puree the nashi pear and half the onion in a blender and add this to the beef and marinade mix. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to start cooking, mix the sesame oil in with the beef and marinade. Heat the pan or wok on high and coat with a splash of vegetable oil. Put all the beef into the pan along with the marinade for 3 minutes or until cooked. Slice up the remaining onion and add this to the pan along with the sliced shallots to cook for another minute or so. Take it off the heat and put the bulgogi in a bowl to take to the table to serve immediately.

At the table, take individual lettuce leaves and fill them with a little cooked rice, bulgogi and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced red chilli. For a bit of extra kick, top it off with some chilli sauce (I like to use sriracha sauce) or add some kimchi. Wrap it all up and pop the lettuce parcel into your mouth in one bite. It’s not a particularly elegant way to eat, but it’s so damn tasty that you won’t care.

Serves 2 with leftovers


Shin Joong-hyun

Shin Joong-hyun

For a classic Korean dish, you need a classic Korean song. This one comes from the granddaddy of Korean rock, Shin Joong-hyun from his band Shin Joong-hyun and The Men and is called Beautiful River and Mountains. It’s a deep, spiritual psychedelic rock record of the highest order that could easily sit among the best US and UK bands.  Listen here:

Light in the Attic recently reissued this record in a compilation of the same name along with other classic jams that range from folky pop to bluesy rock that he produced from 1958-74.  It should be easy enough to find in your local record store, but if you’re out of luck you can buy it online here or here.

If you’re after a full mix of Korean jazz, funk and psych to accompany your meal in full, then check out this great mix that DJ Soulscape did for Turntable Lab below:

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Sukiyaki is one of my favourite Japanese meals. It’s a dish my mum would occasionally cook for the family on cold nights and something my uncle would cook when I visit my family in Japan, so it’s a meal that I hold close to my heart. Like a Japanese version of Chinese hotpot, Sukiyaki a mix of thinly sliced beef, tofu, vegetables and noodles cooked in a sweet and salty broth. It’s very much a family and friends type of meal and a dish that encourages conversation around the hotpot as people swoop out the ingredients before dipping it in a raw beaten egg and slurping it down. Yum.


Note: I used spinach in this image. Cabbage works better as it doesn't wilt as easily in the heat.

It’s super easy to prepare and you don’t have to worry about lengthy cooking times in the kitchen beforehand because you cook everything on the dining room table as everyone eats. You can do this by buying one of those cheap portable stoves that you’d take when you go camping and it shouldn’t set you back more than $20.


  • 750g of flank steak, sliced paper thin
  • 5 Japanese naga-negi onions (or a couple big bunches of think shallots), cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 2 bunches of enoki mushrooms
  • 2 packets of konnyaku noodles, rinsed
  • 300 g of firm tofu, cut into decent sized cubes ½ Chinese cabbage, rinsed and sliced
  • Oil
  • An egg per person Rice (optional)


  • 1 – ½ cups of dashi broth
  • 3-4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of mirin
  • 2 tablespoons of sake

Pour all the broth ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil and set aside.

Find a large plate and arrange the meat, onions, mushrooms, noodles, tofu and cabbage on the plate like a colourful pie chart. You’ll probably need at least two or three depending on the size of your plates, and then take them to the dinner table. Crack an egg into small individual serving bowls for all your guests and lightly whisk. This is about all the prepping you need to do beforehand. Seriously.

On your table, get your portable gas stove going at a medium heat with a nice large cast iron pot – one that’s wide enough to fit the ingredients, but not tall enough to make it difficult to reach the food within. Pour a little oil in and when it’s hot you can start throwing in a small portion of your sliced meat, onions, mushrooms, noodles, tofu and cabbage to sauté. After a minute or so, add a third of the broth and let everything cook for another few minutes. Diners can now tuck in and fish out whatever ingredients they wish! Insist that your guests dip the food into the whisked egg before eating. This adds a delicious flavour and texture and slides easily down your throat.

Essential egg for dipping

Essential egg for dipping

As the meal goes on, add more meat, tofu, noodles, veggies and broth to the pot. Make sure you have a little extra soy, sugar, sake, and dashi on hand as you may need to adjust the flavours as the meal goes on. But trust me, it just gets better and better. If you want, serve with some rice, but you probably won’t need too much to be honest.

Serves 4-6


Sukiyaki also happens to be the name of the first Japanese language record to break into the top 100 in the states in the early 60s. Written by Kyu Sakamoto and originally titled Ue o Muite Arukō, it was renamed Sukiyaki for international releases despite the song having nothing to do with the dish. Lyrically it’s quite a sad song, but it carries such a sweet, happy-go-lucky swing to it, that you can’t help but smile.

Don’t know the original but it sounds familiar? The song has been covered countless times by musicians all over the world, but it re-entered the charts in the early 80s with an English language version from A Taste of Honey:

This song eventually made its way through numerous RnB and hip hop records (including Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony) thanks to Slick Rick singing a verse in his seminal track La Di Da Di. Listen out for the verse at 2.49:

Buy Kyu Sakamoto’s Sukiyaki here.

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You can’t have your steak and eat it too

Brilliant example of food and music together from Public Release records in the form of vinyl.  On one side of the picture disc vinyl is a delicious plate of steak of chips, and the other a very familiar looking satisfying empty plate.  If you don’t know, Blackjoy is a great and underrated French producer responsible for the brilliant La Stache on Art of Disco and well worth checking out if you’re into the more recent rendition of disco. On one side Blackjoy slips into his familiar (but no less groovy) slow disco persona with an extended version of ‘Games’, while on the flip with Secret he’s gone all Dr Jekyll and is in after dinner deep acid house mode.  Good tasty stuff.

Blackjoy - The Jekyll - Side A

Blackjoy - The Jekyll - Side B

Buy it here or here.  And if steak isn’t your thing, maybe you’d prefer a burrito?

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I’ve started this blog purely because food and music are my two biggest passions in life and I want to explore their relationship. Both cooking and music have the ability to calm, excite, intrigue and satisfy me. One enhances the other, both in the cooking process and when you sit down with friends to enjoy. At dinner parties, I try to put thought into not just the food I’m making, but the soundtrack it’s accompanying. Music has the ability to alter your mood and take you to another state – a state where I’m sure you’d like to try the local produce. I hope you enjoy.