Whether it’s for Korean BBQ or any old meal, these are the best Korean side dishes to have.
The popularity of Korean food has exploded in the last few years. Be it from the many Korean BBQ restaurants popping up or your local Korean Grocery, Korean food has never been this accessible. Want to incorporate more Korean food into your diet? Or are you looking for a guide to which side dishes should you choose when eating out? Here is a list of the 5 best Korean Side dishes (Banchan) perfect for any meal:
Probably the most popular Korean Side dish, Kimchi is an essential side dish. It is made from fermented vegetables like cabbage or radish. Kimchi is spicy and tangy because of the chili and ginger. Kimchi comes in all forms and all levels of spiciness but it is generally just a mild spice. Kimichi is a great side dish as it adds spicy to any dish it’s paired with and you can even make kimchi fried rice if you have any leftovers!
2. Gamja Jorim
Gamja Jorim is a braised baby potato side dish. It is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and it is one of the very few side dishes that are on the sweet side. The baby potatoes are braised in soy sauce and sweet syrup. The syrup can be rice syrup, honey, corn syrup, or even brown sugar, and some sesame oil. The dish is topped with roasted sesame seeds for garnish. Gamja Jorim is a great palette cleanser especially when the spice levels are getting too high but they also make a great alternative to classic roasted potatoes.
Japchae is a popular side dish and the savory and sweet taste makes it a full meal on its own. It is a glass noodle stir-fry dish typically made with an assortment of vegetables like carrots, spinach, and onions. It is fairly easy to make and it’s a great carb replacement if you don’t want to have rice with your Korean BBQ.
4. Pa Jun / Pajeon
Pa Jun or Pajeon is a savory Korean pancake. Pajeon is usually served as sliced triangles rather than the typical round pancake. The savory flavor comes from the main ingredient which is scallions or green onion and an assortment of seafood. It’s very light and tasty making it a great side dish as it doesn’t have an overpowering flavor and pairs well with anything.
5. Hobak Bokkeum
Hobak Bokkeum is stir-fried zucchinis. This dish is typical made with Korean zucchinis because they are thicker and more tender. But the dish can be made with whatever zucchini is available. The dish is also very salty because of the fermented shrimp paste making it also extra savory.