Korean lettuce salad

Sangchu-geotjeori 상추겉절이

Today I’m going to show my my all-time favorite fast and easy recipe for a quick, spicy salad that can be made from a head of lettuce. When my napa cabbage kimchi gets old and sour, I sometimes crave a fresher kimchi that’s not so aged. Sangchu-geotjeori is a bright, spicy, lightly seasoned lettuce salad that meant to be made and eaten eaten right away, not fermented like kimchi. But it’s still spicy and tangy, like freshly made kimchi.

It’s a great side dish for LA galbi or bulgogi, and can also be mixed with rice and doenjang-jjigae for a quick bibimbap. It’s a go-to for me when I need a fast side dish to go with rice when I have sudden guests. If your guests like spicy stuff, I guarantee they will go crazy over this. I sure do! If you are a vegetarian, skip fish sauce and use salt or more soy sauce.


There are many kinds of geotjeori (fresh salads) in Korean cuisine, this one just happens to be made with lettuce. As time goes on, I’ll show you more.

Enjoy the recipe, and let me know if you try it out!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 bunch (about ½ pound: 8-9 ounces ) green or red leaf lettuce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup worth onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (or salt)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds



  1. Wash and drain the lettuce. Shake the lettuce to remove excess water.
    Korean lettuce salad making
  2. Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and set aside.
  3. Combine garlic, green onion, onion, fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, hot pepper flakes, and sesame oil in a large mixing bowl and mix it well until the sugar is well dissolved.Korean-sala-seasoningKorean lettuce salad (sangchu geotjeori-seasonings)
  4. Add the lettuce to the seasoning mixture and mix it gently by hand.Korean lettuce salad (Sangchu geotjeori: 상추겉절이)
  5. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve it right away as a side dish for rice.

Korean lettuce salad (Sangchu geotjeori: 상추겉절이)



  1. nariswariputri indonesia joined 9/13
    Posted November 10th, 2015 at 5:15 am | # |

    woah!! my mom really love this bancan and i don’t know how to make it and finally u made it, Thankyouuuuuuuu!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted November 11th, 2015 at 8:21 pm | # |

      You’re welcomeeeeeeeeeee!

  2. sandriangem Philippines joined 8/14
    Posted March 14th, 2016 at 8:28 pm | # |

    this is what I’m looking for, my family went to a Korean restaurant last Sunday, and they served this salad as appetizer and my family love it, so I decided to look for the recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Joyce Irvine, CA. joined 9/09
    Posted November 19th, 2015 at 7:10 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! This is a great everyday salad recipe. I tried making it for me and Bok and topped it with pan-seared catfish. He had a great dinner. Happy hubby… Thanks for another wonderful recipe..

  4. mariegoos joined 11/15
    Posted November 12th, 2015 at 8:53 am | # |

    I love this salad! I’ve already made it twice with both lettuce and bok choy. In fact, I love the onions in it so much that I used the dressing to marinate onions– so good! I served them with shrimp grilled in your buldak marinade and lettuce for wrapping. It was delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

    See full size image

  5. Lynnjamin New York joined 11/14
    Posted November 11th, 2015 at 11:43 am | # |

    I made this last night. Unbelievably good. I had a spare cucumber, so I tossed it in with the lettuce. Is there any vegetable on earth that is not improved by adding the Miracle Ingredients? Any recipe tagged with {fish sauce, garlic, green onion, hot pepper flakes, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, toasted sesame seeds, vinegar} just goes right off the chart, doesn’t it?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted November 11th, 2015 at 8:20 pm | # |

      That’s great! I’m glad you like this recipe! This is a favorite of Korean housewives!


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