Did you know that, every time you dine-in in a restaurant, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner meal, in South Korea, your order always comes out with a bunch of side dishes? During my first days in Korea, I was really overwhelmed with the diverse and rare side dishes they served me. As a matter of fact, kimchi is the only one I knew before. But as time passed by, I eventually became familiar with these lot of Korean side dishes. In Korea, they call side dishes – ‘banchan’. You can check this out, I include here a long list of the side dishes in South Korea.
Korean Side Dishes You Need to Know and Try:
Kimchi is fermented vegetables, usually cabbage, radish, or cucumber seasoned with salt and chili peppers. It is an essential side dish that is always served in every meal. Also, it is the regular kimchi and the standard side dish for Koreans. Did you know that kimchi has also hundreds of varieties with various vegetables as the main ingredients? In addition, not all kimchi is spicy. There are also other varieties are not spicy at all.
Ggakdugi is a variety of kimchi made with Korean radish that is cut into cubes or dice shaped. It also has all the ingredients of kimchi. However, the only difference is, the cabbage used in kimchi is replaced with radish.
Baek Kimchi (백김치)
Baek Kimchi is another variety of kimchi. It is also called white kimchi since it is made without adding chili pepper to the dish.
Nabak Kimchi (나박김치)
Nabak kimchi is also a variety of kimchi. It is watery kimchi, with thinly sliced napa cabbage, Korean radish, other vegetables, and spices. Also, it is less spicy compare to the regular kimchi. Another watery kimchi is the Dongchimi, usually consume during the winter season.
Kongnamul is a cold boiled soybean sprout with sesame oil. Did you know that soybean sprouts are widely grown and consumed in Korea? Also, It is considered one of the most basic and common ingredients in making Korean dishes.
Ojingeochae Bokkeum (오징어채볶음)
It is a stir-fried dried shredded squid (Ojingeochae) mixed in a chili pepper paste and other condiments.
Nakji Bokkeum (낙지볶음)
Another stir-fried dish. It is a stir-fried baby octopus in a spicy chili pepper paste-based sauce.
Beoseot Bokkeum (버섯볶음)
It is also a stir-fried dish made with mushrooms such as oyster mushrooms or pine mushrooms.
Gyeran Jjim (계란찜)
I loved this dish because it’s so soft and fluffy. It is a seasoned eggs steamed in a hot pot and also topped with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.
Danmuji is a yellow pickled radish. It is a common side dish in Korea usually served with Korean Chinese dishes such as Jjampong and Jjajangmyeon.
Gyeran Mari (계란말이)
Gyeran-Mari is another side dish made from eggs. It is a rolled omelet made primarily with eggs. The basic ingredients also include onions, carrots, scallions, zucchini, imitation crab meat, ham, bacon, salt, and cheese. When you go to restaurants, they usually served this already cut into small slices.
This dish is very popular in South Korea. It is a stir-fried sweet potato noodle (glass noodles) with thinly sliced vegetables such as spinach, carrots, onions, scallions, mushrooms, eggs, and beef/pork. It is also seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar, making it a slightly sweet and savory dish. Japchae can be a main dish or a side dish.
Most restaurants in Korea have this self-service style in getting your side dishes. Furthermore, side dishes are commonly offered free and unlimited. You can just go back and forth from the service station to get the side dish.
I hope you will enjoy your every meal in Korea with this bunch of side dishes. You can also check other Korean dishes such as grilled dishes, meat-based dishes, soup and stews, noodle or guksu dishes, as well as snacks and desserts here: