What are Banchan – Korean Side Dishes?

by | Apr 4, 2024 | Blog, Events | 0 comments

A plate full of banchan

At every Korean meal, there are side dishes or banchan that are served along with the meal. These are often made in advance, and many Korean homes will always have them on hand in the refrigerator, ready to eat. There are a few different categories that actually help when trying to figure out how to identify and cook these types of dishes.

Namul: This refers to blanched or steamed vegetables that have been seasoned and are often coated in sesame oil.

Kimchi: This is probably the best-known banchan. Kimchi can refer to many vegetables, not just cabbage. It’s fermented and seasoned.

Bokkeum: These side dishes have been stir-fried. For example, myeolchi bokkeum are stir-fried anchovies.

Jorim: A dish that has been simmered or braised for a long period of time.

Jjim: A dish that has been steamed or boiled and then marinated.

Jeon: This is one of my favorites! These are savory pancakes. Fresh seafood pancakes and mung bean pancakes are fried in oil and served with a dipping sauce.

Banchan comes in all different varieties. As a country, Korea is very seasonal and very local, so you can imagine these side dishes are a peek into what’s fresh at the moment. A country that is surrounded by water and full of mountains and forests, the bounty of the land provides a lot of variety.

Join us for the Kimchi Harvest demo to try a variety of Banchan and see what you like best!

Our Kimchi Harvest event will be a mixture of a cooking class and dinner featuring kimchi, banchan, and pork belly. We’ll be making Kimchi Jjigae and assorted banchan (Korean side dishes), as well as doing some Korean pantry education and tasting. There will also be soju! I look forward to seeing you there.

Written by David Salerno

Originally from the Northeast, David (he/him) has been in Seattle since 2016. He studied classic culinary arts at the French Culinary Institute in NYC and currently works as the Senior Meal Program Coordinator at HIP. He can completely nerd out over culinary anthropology and can talk about food and food science for hours with anyone who is willing to listen. When not in the kitchen, you can find him playing hockey or running in different neighborhoods of Seattle.

April 4, 2024

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