kalbi tang

Right when I think I have tasted all of the most popular Korean soups and stews out there, I discover a new dish. Kalbi tang is a Korean beef short rib soup that I am very familiar with but have never actually had it. Whenever I go to a Korean restaurant that offers this dish, I spot another item on the menu that is just too hard to resist. I always think, “I can order that next time!”, and that next time just never happened. Well, I’m making a change to that habit and just darn making it myself. Tummy, get ready for a hot bowl of kalbi tang!

kalbi tang
kalbi tang


Serves 6


Kalbi tang

2 hr, 45 Total Time

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  • 2 Persian cucumbers
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced
  • 1/2 daikon radish
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Soup
  • 3 lb beef short ribs, bone-in, cut into 2 inch sections
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 oz glass noodles
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 6 green onions, chopped


  1. Prepare the jangahjji. Scrub the cucumbers until clean. Slice cucumbers, jalapeno, and radish into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place into a glass jar.
  2. Heat sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour soy sauce mixture in the jar onto the cucumber mix. Let cool to room temperature. Cover the jar and let sit overnight.
  3. To make the soup, soak the beef short ribs in cold water in a large bowl. Let sit for 20 minutes.
  4. Drain ribs and rinse. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover and let boil rapidly for 10 minutes to remove any impurities. Remove from heat, drain and rinse the ribs. Thoroughly wash the pot.
  5. Place ribs back into the pot and fill with 12 cups water. Add whole onion, garlic, and ginger into the pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes or until the ribs are tender. The meat should easily fall apart from the bone.
  6. Strain the broth, discarding the onion, garlic, and ginger. Set aside the short ribs. Bring the strained broth back to a boil. Add the radish and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Return the short ribs to the broth and season the soup with salt and pepper.
  7. Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.
  8. Heat 1 tsp oil in a nonstick saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the whisked eggs and spread in an even layer to create an egg crepe. Cook for one minute. Flip and cook on the other side until the eggs have set. Remove from heat and slice into thin strips. Set aside.
  9. Portion the glass noodles into 6 bowls. Ladle soup on top with short ribs and radish. Garnish with egg strips and chopped green onions. Serve with rice on the side and jangahjji.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

If you never had Kalbi tang before, think of it as a version of seolleongtang, another great Korean soup. If you had neither, well, what are you waiting for? Both are easy to prepare with minimal ingredients and will warm you during this chilly winter.

Since the jangahjji needs to pickle overnight, start by preparing this component. If you’re wondering, “What the heck is jangahjji?”, it refers to Korean pickled vegetables. It is often served as a side dish and can consist of just cucumbers, green beans and cucumbers, garlic cucumbers and chili peppers or cucumbers, radish and jalapenos. In this case, the jangahjji is used as a sauce for the short ribs instead of just a side dish. The technique is similar to any other pickling recipe with just different ingredients.

When purchasing the beef short ribs, make sure to pick the English-cut. There are three types of short ribs: boneless, English-cut and flanken style. You want the bone-in short rib to add the heartiness to the broth. The flanken style is when the bones are cut across the bones, a cut used when preparing marinated kalbi for Korean bbq; this cut is ideal for grilling. The English-cut is most often used for braising because of the large cuts of meat. Ask your butcher to cut the ribs crosswise into 2-inch pieces rather than in long slabs.

short ribs

Soaking the ribs in cold water is the first step in removing impurities and draining the blood from the meat and bones.

soak the short ribs

Blanching the bones is the second assurance of removing the impurities. Taking these steps will achieve a pure, clean broth.

Many kalbi tang recipes do not add onion, garlic, and ginger to the broth but I prefer adding these aromatics to help not only impart flavor but also to remove any unpleasant odors.

preparing the soup

I find that chilling the soup overnight makes it easier to skim the fat. The fat hardens and creates a shell, making it easier to scoop out as opposed to when the soup is hot.

skim the fat

The glass noodles, also known as potato starch noodles, are optional and the soup can be served with just rice. Garnish with egg strips and green onions and you have a complete meal!

The jangahjji is optional as well, but I find that using it as a sauce is optimal. The soup itself is clean and light in flavor; therefore, dipping the meat in the jangahjji adds another flavor element that excites the palate. I served the kalbi tang to first-timers like myself and to my parents who had this dish many times before, both parties very much enjoyed it. Another great Korean soup to add to my list!


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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