Sometimes people ask what is the difference between the Korean beef bar-b-q dishes: kalbi / galbi (갈비) and the more popular bulgogi (불고기).
Before answering that question, first note that there are difference styles of both kalbi and bul-go-gi, and sometimes kalbi is not seasoned at all (which makes it, well, plain barbeque beef). Then it’s the side dishes – pan chan – that make it distinctly Korean. Panchan will be different from restaurant to restaurant, more than they will vary from dish-to-dish within a restaurant.
Bulgogi is beef, usually loin, and kalbi is beef short ribs. Both can be made marinaded, in similar sauces. And a side sauce can be served with both. However, the side dishes (panchan) – things such as potato, or seaweed, and kimchi – are not related to the dish itself.
Both dishes can be grilled at the table, or perhaps better for some, as prepared by a professional Korean chef in the restaurant’s kitchen.