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Galbi or kalbi generally refers to a variety of gui or grilled dishes in Korean cuisine that is made with marinated beef (or pork) short ribs in a ganjang-based sauce (Korean soy sauce).

Left: Galbi.

In the Korean language, galbi literally means "rib" and can often indicate uncooked ribs. In addition, the dish's full name is galbi gui, although "gui" (grilling) is commonly omitted to refer to it.

Since galbi is generally made with beef ribs, it may be called "sogalbi" or "soegalbi" in Korean, whose prefix, "so" or "soe" (beef) is often omitted as well. However, just like the literal meaning, galbi dish also can be made with pork ribs or chicken. In such cases, the dish is called "dwaeji galbi" or "dak galbi" to emphasize the main ingredient.

The ingredients (often, ribs or meats) are marinated in a sauce made primarily from Korean soy sauce, garlic, and sugar. However, several variations on the marinade exist including recipes that utilize sesame oil, rice wine or hot pepper paste. Fruit juice, lemon-lime soda and honey has become a more common addition to Korean marinades in recent years, and is present in some incarnations of the dish.

When cooked on a griddle or grill, the meat is usually cut in thin slices across the bones and called L.A. Galbi. This permits the marinade to penetrate the meat faster, allows the meat to cook more quickly, creates a more tender cut, and makes it easier to eat the finished dish with chopsticks. Pre-cut galbi is available from many meat markets in Korea and elsewhere.

Galbi is generally served in restaurants known as "galbi houses", and the meat is cooked right at customers' tables on grills set in the tables (usually by the customers themselves). It is typically served with lettuce, perilla, or other leafy vegetables used to wrap the meat, which is then dipped in ssamjang, a sauce made of fermented bean curd and red pepper paste. It is often accompanied by side dishes known as banchan.

In Korea, galbi is also a popular picnic food, and many people have portable gas or charcoal stoves for cooking it outside.


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