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Kalbi and LA Kalbi

Kalbi, written as “galbi” by some restaurants, is the Korean word for ribs. The word can describe a wide variety of foods, but when you order a dish labeled “kalbi” in your favorite Seattle Korean restaurant, you’re likely to receive either beef or pork roasted short ribs marinated in a mixture of garlic, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and rice wine. This dish is a popular snack or entree among Koreans, as it’s a simple and hearty treat that agrees with most American appetites.

In some places, you may see the Korean short rib dish identified as “LA kalbi.” As the name suggests, this is a version of kalbi that was originally introduced in Los Angeles. An immigrant Korean chef realized that he could cut rib meat more efficiently by slicing across the bone, instead of with the bone as kalbi meat is usually sliced. It’s generally easy to recognize the difference, as LA kalbi will frequently feature slices of rib bone along with the meat. Aside from this minor distinction, the dish should be identical to conventional kalbi.

In whatever form it takes, kalbi is a hearty and flavorful dish for the barbecue lover in you. Look for it at your local Seattle Korean restaurant!

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