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.

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.

Korean BBQ Beef

Korean BBQ Beef

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).


Name Korean name Description
Nabak kimchi 나박김치 Watery kimchi with less spicy baechu and mu
Dongchimi 동치미 Various vegetables in white brine. Nabak kimchi and dongchimi are referred to as mul kimchi (물김치),  literally “water kimchi.”
Geotjeori 겉절이 Freshly made kimchi to be eaten crisp without fermenting. Usually made with baechu and lettuce.
Kkakdugi 깍두기 A kimchi made with cubed mu (white radish)
Oi sobagi 오이 소박이 Stuffed cucumbers kimchi, stuffed with chilli, spring onions and buchu
Chonggak kimchi 총각김치 Whole mu with chilli pepper seasoning. It is made with dallangmu, about the same size as sausages.
Yeolmu kimchi 열무김치 Thin and small young summer radish kimchi, which can be prepared either with or without fermented jeotgal.
Pa kimchi 파김치 Hot and salty spring onion kimchi, seasoned with lots of myeolchijeot, the Korean version of salted anchovies.
Gat kimchi 갓김치 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.


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


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


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


Jorim is a dish simmered in a seasoned broth.


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


Jjim is a steamed dish.


Name Korean name Description
Gyeran jjim 계란찜 Mixed and seasoned eggs steamed in a hot pot.
Saengseon jjim 생선찜 Steamed fish.


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


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


Name Korean name Description
Japchae 잡채 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 감자 샐러드 with apples and carrots.

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