Korean steak tartare differs from Western versions in that the beef is flavoured with sesame oil, pine nuts and Asian pear, which lends crispness, sweetness, and freshness. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The beef is also usually cut into ribbons, but I like to dice mine. As with any meat that is to be served raw, use the best quality and freshest available.



  • 1 small Asian pear or other firm but ripe pear, peeled, cored and julienned
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 280 g (10 oz) fillet steak (preferably prime), trimmed and diced
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced spring onions (sliced on an angle)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp fi nely chopped shallots
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tsp fi nely grated lemon zest
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve

  • 4 quail egg yolks (optional)
  • Spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle
  • Handful of pine nuts, toasted
  • Dried chilli threads (silgochu)
  • Lotus Root Chips (optional)


Put the pear in a small bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice to prevent it from turning brown. Leave to stand for 5–10 minutes and then drain well.

In a medium bowl, toss together the beef, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, spring onions, sesame oil, shallots, pine nuts, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Gently stir 115 g (4 oz) of the julienned pears into the tartare.

To serve, mound the tartare in the centre of four plates. If liked, make a small well in each mound of beef and put an egg yolk in each. Top with the remaining pear and garnish with spring onions, pine nuts and chilli threads. Serve immediately,

with lotus root chips, if liked.


If not serving the tartare immediately, feel free to serve with lemon wedges on the side instead of mixing in the juice. This will help keep the beef’s red colour intact as the lemon juice will ‘cook’ the meat slightly.

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My father was born in 1939 in Chongju, a city in what is now in North Korea. He and his family (8 brothers and sisters) fled south during the war and he grew up as a refugee on Jeju island.  He still remembers asking American soldiers for “bonbons” as a child. Somehow he made it to Seoul National University medical school through hard work and determination. He immigrated to the USA to do his internship and residency and practiced as a psychiatrist, until retiring at 75. 
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I love you daddy so much!  Happy happy birthday!  Xx❤️❤️ I’ll always be your little girl! ❤️❤️

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