30 Korean side dishes (banchan: 반찬)

Patricia posted the above photo on the Korean Food Community on G+. As soon as I saw it I got a flood of good memories.

When I lived in Korea, I used to go to a Korean restaurant that would create traditional table settings like this, with rice and 30 side dishes! This kind of meal is called baekban jeongsik (백반정식) in Korean. Baekban means “fluffy white rice” and jeongsik is a kind of prix fixe set meal of different dishes. It’s also sometimes called han-jeongsik (한정식).

In this photo, the stainless steel bowls at the top and bottom are bowls of warm rice. Korean restaurants usually use these lidded, thin metal bowls for rice because they conduct heat well and the rice can be kept warm from outside. The rest of the dishes are banchan – Korean side dishes for rice: pickles, meats, vegetables, stews, fish, kimchi. In most Korean meals, rice is the main part of the meal, and the side dishes go with it, contrast it, and compliment it.

The price range at this kind of restaurant can vary widely, depending on the quality of the side dishes. When I was in Korea, the restaurant I used to go to served a meal like this one for $5! I’m sure the price has gone up now, but it is still probably low. In fancier places, this kind of meal can be much more, up to $250.

In this kind of restaurant, you don’t go alone. You have come with at least 2 people, otherwise the restaurant won’t serve you at all, because they can’t make money by serving all these dishes to one person. You need to come in a group of at least 2 people, and the price is per person. Your party sits on the floor and they bring a large table to you, filled with rice and side dishes like this. All of it is yours! You can empty every dish.

Judging by the ingredients and presentation in this photo, this type of table would cost about $10 per person these days. More expensive han-jeongsik restaurants have more Korean royal court dishes, and the bowls are beautiful ceramic pottery and hand-forged traditional Korean bronzeware (called bangjja, or yugi).

Take a look at all these side dishes! Do you recognize any of them? Yes, I am sure you are familiar with many dishes in this photo because I posted the recipes for them on my website.

Check out the photos and see how many of them you can name, or if you can determine what they are made of (the answers are below, after the photo, but try not to look)! Let me know how many you can recognize!

30 Korean side dishes (banchan: 반찬)

  1. Pickled garlic stems (Maneul-jjong jangajji: 마늘쫑 장아찌)
  2. Braised bellflower roots (Doraji-namul bokkeum: 도라지나물볶음)
  3. I can’t recognize what ingredients are used, but it looks like Sweet, sour, and spicy squid with water dropwort (Ojingeo-minari-chomuchim: 오징어 미나리 초무침)
  4. Napa cabbage kimchi (Baechu-kimchi: 배추김치)
  5. Seasoned seaweed (Doljaban-muchim: 돌자반 무침)
  6. Spinach side dish (Sigeumchi-namul: 시금치나물)
  7. Braised shishito peppers in soy sauce (Kkwari-gochu jorim: 꽈리고추조림)
  8. It looks like fermented seafood (Jeotgal: 젓갈)
  9. Vegetable water kimchi (Nabak kimchi: 나박김치)
  10. Braised salty beef (Jangjorim: 장조림)
  11. Braised belt fish (Galchi-jorim: 갈치조림)
  12. Korean sweet sour spicy sauce (Chogochujang: 초고추장)
  13. Green onion kimchi (Pa-kimchi: 파김치)
  14. Roasted fish (Saengseon-gui: 생선구이)
  15. Korean fermented bean paste stew (Doenjang-jjigae:된장찌개)
  16. Pork bulgogi (Dwaeji-bulgogi: 돼지불고기)
  17. Blanched small octopus (Nakji-dechim:낙지데침)
  18. Stir-fried king oyster mushroom (Se-songee-beoseot bokkeum: 새송이버섯볶음)
  19. It looks like Spicy bellflower roots (Doraji muchim: 도라지 무침)
  20. Stir-fried dried fish (Mareun saengseon-jorim: 마른생선조림)
  21. Stir-fried small crabs (Ge-bokkeum: 게볶음)
  22. Vegetable pancakes (Yachaejeon: 야채전)
  23. I can’t recognize what it is because it’s hiding. : ) It looks like something salty, maybe pickled peppers (gochu-jangajji: 고추장아찌).
  24. Seasoned acorn jelly (Dotorimuk-muchim: 도토리묵무침)
  25. Pickled garlic (Maneul-jangajji: 마늘장아찌)
  26. Pickled perilla leaves (Kkaennip jangajji: 깻잎장아찌)
  27. Butterbur stems cooked in perilla seed powder (Meowidae deulkkae bokkeum: 머위대 들깨볶음)
  28. Seasoned skate (Hongeohoe: 홍어회)
  29. Stir-fried seaweed (Miyeok-julgi bokkeum: 미역줄기볶음)
  30. Diced radish kimchi (Kkakdugi: 깍두기)


  1. Bubbleamelia Syd joined 7/19 & has 1 comment

    Hello! At the bottom right corner I tried this banchan it had celery and onions and tasted like sesame. What would the name of this banchan be ?

  2. koralex90 Davis, CA joined 6/09 & has 48 comments

    I think 27 is 고구마줄기 뜰께 나물 :)

  3. sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 299 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I recognized most of it, some are difficult because of the quality.

    Are you sure about No. 2? Looks like Insam to me.
    And No. 29 could also be Taro-stems, San-namul etc. (re-hydrated).
    No. 7 could be pickled Gochu, too.
    Difficult to tell not sitting at the table. I need the adress, spare time and a flight! ;-D

    Bye, Sanne.

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