Banchan refers to small dishes of food served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine. This word is used both in the singular and plural. The word Banchan translated into English means side dish.

Korean BBQ Beef

Korean BBQ Beef

The basic table setting for a meal called ‘bansang’ (반상) usually consists of bap (밥, cooked rice), guk or tang (soup), gochujang or ganjang, jjigae, and kimchi. According to the number of banchan added, the table setting is called 3 cheop (삼첩), 5 cheop (오첩), 7 cheop (칠첩), 9 cheop (구첩), 12 cheop (십이첩) bansang, with the 12 cheop used in Korean royal cuisine.

Banchan are set in the middle of the table to be shared. At the centre of the table is the secondary main course, such as galbi or bulgogi, and a shared pot of jjigae. Bowls of cooked rice and guk (soup) are set individually. Banchan are served in small portions, meant to be finished at each meal and are replenished during the meal if not enough. Usually, the more formal the meals are, the more banchan there will be. Jeolla province is particularly famous for serving many different varieties of banchan in a single meal.


See also: Kimchi
Kimchi is fermented vegetables, usually baechu (Napa cabbage), seasoned with chilli peppers and salt. This is the essential banchan of a standard Korean meal. Some Koreans do not consider a meal complete without kimchi. Kimchi can be made with other vegetables as well, including spring onions, gat (갓), and radish (무; mu).

Nabak kimchi Watery kimchi with less spicy baechu and mu
Dongchimi Various vegetables in white brine. Nabak kimchi and dongchimi are referred to as mul kimchi (물김치),  literally “water kimchi.”
Geotjeori Freshly made kimchi to be eaten crisp without fermenting. Usually made with baechu and lettuce.
Kkakdugi A kimchi made with cubed mu (white radish)
Oi sobagi Stuffed cucumbers kimchi, stuffed with chilli, spring onions and buchu
Chonggak kimchi Whole mu with chilli pepper seasoning. It is made with dallangmu, about the same size as sausages.
Yeolmu kimchi Thin and small young summer radish kimchi, which can be prepared either with or without fermented jeotgal.
Pa kimchi Hot and salty spring onion kimchi, seasoned with lots of myeolchijeot, the Korean version of salted anchovies.
Gat kimchi Indian mustard leaf kimchi with a large amount of red pepper powder and the unique bitter taste and aroma. Strong myeolchijeot and glutinous rice paste are added to reduce the hot and bitter taste.


Namul (나물) refers to steamed, marinated, or stir-fried vegetables usually seasoned with sesame oil, salt, vinegar, minced garlic, chopped spring onions, dried chilli peppers, and soy sauce.

Kongnamul Cold boiled bean sprouts with sesame oil.
Sigeumchi namul Lightly parboiled spinach dressed with sesame oil, garlic, and soy sauce.
Miyeok muchim Miyeok (wakame, a seaweed) with sweet vinegar and salt.
Musaengchae/Muchae Long julienned white radish in a sweet vinegar sauce, sometimes with ground dried chili peppers.
Gosari namul Prepared fern shoots that have been stir-fried.
Chwinamul Stir-fried and seasoned aster scaber.
Bireum namul Parboiled and seasoned amaranthus.
Naengi namul Parboiled and seasoned shepherd’s purse.
Dolnamul Raw Sedum with pepper sauce dressing.
Gogumasun namul Boiled/seasoned sweet potato shoots.
Gaji namul Boiled eggplant.
Doraji namul Boiled Chinese bellflower roots.


Bokkeum (볶음) is a dish stir-fried with sauce.

 Kimchi bokkeum  Stir-fried kimchi, often with pork (similar to jeyook bokkeum).
 Jeyook bokkeum  Stir-fried pork with Gochujang (Korean Chilli Pepper Paste) sauce and onions.
 Ojingeochae bokkeum  Stir-fried dried shredded squid seasoned with a mixture of Gochujang , garlic, and mulyeot (syrup-like condiment).
 Nakji bokkeum  Stir-fried baby octopus in spicy Gochujang sauce
 Buseot bokkeum  Stir-fried mushrooms such as pyogo, oyster mushrooms, pine mushrooms.


Jorim is a dish simmered in a seasoned broth.

Dubu-jorim Tofu simmered in diluted soy sauce, a little bit of sesame oil, minced garlic, and chopped spring onion.
Jang-jorim Beef simmered in soy sauce, optionally with hard-boiled eggs or hard-boiled quail eggs


Jjim is a steamed dish.

Gyeran jjim Mixed and seasoned eggs steamed in a hot pot.
Saengseon jjim Steamed fish.


Jeon denotes a variety of pan-fried, pancake-like dishes. Buchimgae is a near synonym.

Pajeon Thin pancakes with spring onions.
Kimchijeon Thin pancakes with old (ripe) Kimchi.
Gamjajeon Korean-style potato pancakes.
Saengseon jeon Small portions of fish coated with eggs and pan-fried.
Donggeurang ttaeng Patty made with tofu, meat and vegetables, coated with eggs and pan-fried.


Japchae A stand-alone dish in its own right, japchae can also be eaten as banchan. Japchae is glass noodles accompanied with a variety of vegetables and beef in a slightly-sweet garlic sauce.
Korean-style potato salad with apples and carrots.

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