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Seven Popular Korean Side Dishes


Every Korean meal includes anywhere from 2 to 12 side dishes (banchan). The most important and well-known is kimchi, of which there are 100+ varieties, but there are also hundreds of other types of side dishes from stewed crab to egg custard.

This list of popular non-kimchi banchan includes vegetarian, meat and fish side dishes for your table.

1. Korean Rolled Egg Omelette (Gaeran Mari) Recipe

Eggs for Gaeran Mari
Riou/Digital Vision/Getty Images
This Korean rolled egg omelette (Gaeran Mari) recipe is as easy as any American omelette, but looks beautiful on the table and an easy side dish for any meal. Healthy, delicious, and full of protein, Gaeran mari is a complete breakfast and an easy addition to a bento lunch or a Korean dinner.

2. Korean Scallion Pancake (Pa Jun)

Korean Scallion Pancake (Pa Jun)
Naomi Imatome
This Korean scallion pancake recipe is easy to make and is always a big crowd-pleaser. It works as a hearty snack, an appetizer, or a side dish to a Korean or Asian meal. As with most Korean recipes and dishes, you can tweak it to your own tastes.

3. Recipe for Korean Tofu and Meat Patties (Wanja Jun)

Korean Beef and Tofu Patties (Wanja Jun)
Naomi Imatome
Wanja Jun belong to the Korean group of food called jun-ya, or any vegetables, meat, or seafood that are covered in flour and egg and then pan-fried. These Korean mini "hamburger" patties have many names in both Korean and English- you can call them meat fritters, kogi jun, beef patties, dhon jeon, and the list goes on. Whatever you call them, Wanja jun look deceptively simple; the well-seasoned meat, tofu, and vegetable patties are bursting with flavor.

4. Korean Pickled Cucumber (Oi Jee) Recipe

Naomi Imatome
These crisp Korean cucumber pickles are delicious and easy to make. To serve, slice the pickles and serve plain or garnish with scallions or chives. You can also adjust the salt level by rinsing the pickle slices with water or letting them sit in a bowl of water.

5. Seasoned Korean Kaenip (Perilla Leaves)

Naomi Imatome
Kaenip kimchi is one of my favorite summertime side dishes since we always grew kaenip in our garden at home. Kkaenip (kkaennip, Korean perilla leaves) translates from the Korean as “sesame leaf” but it’s actually a misnomer because it is not related to the sesame plant. This kaenip kimchi recipe is easy, ready to eat in a few hours, and perks up any Korean meal.

6. Korean Pickled Garlic (Manul Changachi) Recipe

Korean Manul Changachi
Naomi Imatome
Manul Changachi (Korean pickled garlic) is crunchy, salty, and a little bit spicy. It's not the flashiest banchan (side dish), but it can get addictive. I like garlic in almost any form, but if you are new to popping whole cloves of garlic in your mouth, then it's best to start with the youngest garlic cloves for pickling.

7. Spicy Pickled Squid (Ojinguh Jut)

Korean Seasoned Squid (OjinguhJut)
Naomi Imatome
This spicy Korean pickled squid (ojinguh jut) packs a lot of flavor, so it's the perfect accompaniment to a traditional Korean meal with rice and soup or stew.
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