“I Tried Trader Joe’s New Vegan Beefless Bulgogi. Here’s What I Thought”
Fans of Korean cuisine who go plant-based or vegan may assume that they need to give up their favorite traditional Korean dishes – even Kimchi, which is vegan, often has fish paste as an ingredient.
Luckily, Trader Joe's is providing an easy solution with its brand new Korean Beefless Bulgogi. The frozen product is "plant-based Bulgogi style strips marinated in a sweet and savory soy sauce" that is completely vegan and rings in at a reasonable $4.49 for a 10-ounce package, which contains three servings.
You can find this new meatless item in the frozen aisle of your local Trader Joe's, which debuted the new product this week nationwide.
What is Trader Joe's Beefless Bulgogi Made from?
Traditional Korean Bulgogi – or fire meat in Korean – is thin, sweet, and savory marinated slices of beef that are often cooked over a barbeque. The cooked meat slices are typically served alongside rice and topped with green onion.
Trader Joe's Korean Beefless Bulgogi contains just the frozen meat alternative, so you'll need to provide your own sides and toppings. The base is made from soy, and the meat alternative contains wheat, so take note that although it's vegan, it's not gluten-free.
One serving contains 230 calories, 11 grams of fat, 580 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of fiber, and 16 grams of protein. The vegan meat ingredients contain soy sauce, pear puree, onion, garlic, apple puree, sugar, cornstarch, guar gum, soy protein, rice flour, wheat gluten, and soybean oil.
How do you prepare Trader Joe's Korean Beefless Bulgogi?
To prepare, you can heat the frozen vegan meat in the microwave, on the stovetop, in an oven, or in an air fryer. I oped for the stove top, and the Bulgogi took just a few minutes until it was tender and had a nice sear on it.
What Does Trader Joe's Beefless Bulgogi Taste Like?
When cooked, Trader Joe's Korean Beefless Bulgogi has a pleasant, smokey, mild flavor with a hint of sweetness. The meat alternative provides a nice, realistic, chewy beef texture, heats up well, and holds sauce nicely. Personally, I think the Bulgogi tastes best when you give the strips enough time to get a sear on them, which only adds to how well the product stacks up to real beef.
Although I cannot speak to its authenticity as I haven't had traditional Bulgogi in years, this Beefless Bulgogi is delicious, well-seasoned, and harmoniously balances sweet and savory flavors. The one thing I believe this product would benefit from is coming with a pre-made Bulgogi sauce, as the item only contains the frozen meat alternative.
When paired alongside rice and topped with green onions, this new Trader Joe's vegan item is a great quick lunch or dinner option, and because it contains three servings, it's an awesome, affordable option for families at just $1.50 per serving, just be sure to make a pot of rice for the side.
I would recommend picking this item up during your next trip to Trader Joe's. Be sure to also grab some of our all-time top vegan product picks at the cult-favorite grocer.
For more plant-based taste tests, visit The Beet's Product Reviews.