I have some small reputation among friends for trying new foods and enjoying different tastes. One of my favorite dishes is a type of Korean barbecue called bulgogi — very thinly sliced beef in a sweet soy and sesame sauce that has a flavor all of its own. Koreans have a very different idea of what constitutes barbecue, but bulgogi is terrific.

Unfortunately, there are zero Korean restaurants in my neighborhood. There are some in Raleigh and Durham, but when going out to the theater or symphony, “let’s try Korean barbecue” is not an auspicious way to begin a date.

So, this weekend I decided to try making it myself. I sorted through several online recipes and discovered the dish wasn’t as complicated or filled with exotic ingredients as I had thought it would be: the hardest part was toasting the sesame seeds without burning them and slicing the beef very thinly — and it doesn’t really have to be “paper thin,” as the recipe calls for — the main thing is to cut across the grain.

My son liked the dish so well that he asked for it twice in two days, and both times it disappeared before I could take a picture of it.

Trying something new, especially with some modicum of success, is always rewarding.

Bulgogi days are here again!

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