menu planning and banchan matching please!!

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  EvilGrin 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Annyeong-hasaeyo everyone,

    great to be on this forum of Korean food lovers!

    I was wondering if anyone could please point me in the right direction of putting together a proper Korean meal, especially in terms of what recipe goes well with what banchan and what other recipes so as to plan a meal that “makes sense”, if that makes sense ;)

    With so many banchan and recipes and my very limited experience of Korean food I’m finding it hard to figure out, and am curious to know how Korean people would match their food on the table.

    Thanks for your help!




    I’m not very good at banchan planning either. My family always just made what they were wanting/craving. I pretty much can eat whatever banchan with whatever main dish and soup. With that being said, I do know that we Koreans are all about balance. Meaning, have sweet banchan as well as a salty. Spicy and non spicy….also balance your colors….green, red, yellow, brown/black, etc….hope this helps



    This is a difficult subject. Because the combinations are endless.

    Also since korean culture and food are quickly changing it may be difficult to nail this subject down.

    If you have a chance to go to Korea or a large US city that has a large korean population and going to korean markets and restaurants may give you a bit more insight.

    Or if you have the chance to visit/live/eat with a korean family that has one dedicated “stay at home” family member who subscribes to cooking traditional korean food for the family would be ideal.

    Finally your own preferences will be the ultimate guide.

    With that being said, rice, tea, kimchi, soup/consommé, kochijung and soybean paste may be said to be essential to every meal. And fruit to end the meal.

    Seasonal foods help to determine what might be on the table. But not a mandate as dried goods can allow certain dishes to appear at anytime of the year e.g. kosari.

    Some very popular side dishes that go well with any menu imho are, spinach salad, fish cake, sautéed dry anchovies, radish kimchi, pickled garlic, pickled peppers, soy bean sprout salad, sauteed mushrooms, lettuce leaves, seasoned sesame/perilla leaves.

    Below is one menu you might try:

    Menu 1
    1) rice
    2) kimchi – traditional Napa cabbage
    3) bulgogi
    4) lettuce leaves rinsed in water with a few drops of sesame oil
    5) soybean paste
    6) kochijung paste
    7) sliced fresh jalapeños
    8) corn or barley tea
    9) green onion soup

    Hope this helps.



    I like to use contrasting flavors such as:

    Cabbage kimchi or spicy pickled veggies with Bulgogi or any main dish with a hint of sweetness.

    Danmuji or sweet pickled veggies with a Spicy Jjigae.

    My dipping sauce for kimchi dumplings is mostly sweet soy and mirin because they are already fairly spicy. My dipping sauce for pork dumplings has more heat.

    Main dishes may also include something almost neutral such as a mild cucumber and onion salad, water kimchi or a beansprout side dish. I cant claim its very traditional but it works for me. Its been so long since i was in Korea i just dont remember.

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