Complete Your Meals With The Most Mouthwatering Korean Side Dishes!

K-Drama inspired cravings? No problem!
korean side dishes

It is without a doubt that Korean culture has taken the world by storm. Whether it’s their music, K-Dramas, or food – rest assured that you’re in for a real treat. Are you taking a dip into the world of Korean cuisine? Well then, you better take note that no meal is complete without Korean side dishes or banchan in Korean. If you’re a frequent customer in Korean restaurants, then you’re definitely well-versed when it comes to knowing the different banchan that’s served. Why not make it at home too? We’ve put together six Korean side dishes that will tie up any meal perfectly, so read on!  

3 Things You Need To Know About Korean Side Dishes

1. Different flavors you need

In every Korean meal, you’ll surely spot side dishes to accompany the main course. Usually served in dishes of three, five, seven, or nine as influenced by yin yang principles, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from! These side dishes are the perfect mix of sweet, savory, spicy, and umami flavors. From all the eating you’ll be doing, these side dishes are the perfect palate cleansers too! 

2. Different categories for variety

Korean side dishes are usually categorized into seven! These side dishes are categorized based on how they are prepared. If it’s a big meal, chances are that all these categories will be present in your side dishes! 

  • Kimchi and jangajji – vegetables that are fermented and pickled
  • Namul muchim – vegetables, herbs, or other greens that are marinated, stir-fried, or steamed
  • Bokkeum – stir-fried with a sauce 
  • Jeon – pan-fried pancake-like dishes
  • Jjim – steamed marinated food
  • Jorim – meats or vegetables simmered in a seasoned broth

3. Different colors for symbolism

You may not know it, but even Korean side dishes are prepared carefully given the symbolisms attached to them. Claimed to be influenced by Eastern philosophy, color plays a huge part when preparing banchan. When preparing side dishes, it’s important to have these five colors present as they symbolize directions and elements of life! Koreans believe that these are essential to having a healthy, prosperous, and long life. 

  • Black – north
  • Red – south
  • Green – east
  • White – west
  • Yellow – center

5 Must-Have Korean Side Dishes That You Can Easily Make

1. Rolled omelet

A staple Korean side dish is the rolled omelet, called gyeran mari in Korean! Given how common the ingredients are for this side dish, you surely have everything you need in your kitchen at home.

(yields 2 servings)



  1. Chop scallions and carrots into small cubes. 
  2. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat until smooth. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then add chopped vegetables and mix well. 
  3. In a well heated pan over low heat, pour in a teaspoon of vegetable oil for frying. 
  4. When the pan is hot, pour in half of the egg mixture.
  5. Once the egg is set but the top is slightly wet, fold 1 inch of the egg on one end. Lift the folded part and fold again. Keep folding until it reaches the other end of the egg. Put your rolled egg on one side of your pan, leaving an empty space on the other side of your pan.
  6. Pour the rest of the egg mixture into the open space in your pan. Once it’s set again, fold your rolled egg into the mixture. Keep folding until you have one rolled egg.
  7. Remove from the pan and let it cool for a few minutes. 
  8. When your egg is cooled down enough, slice it into 1 inch thick pieces. Serve! 

2. Stir-fried Kimchi

Kimchi can never go missing when Korean food is on the table. Take your kimchi up a notch by stir-frying it! Such a simple method can easily elevate this Korean side dish! Stir-fried kimchi or kimchi bokkeum is a perfect match for a simple bowl of rice. 

(yields 2 servings) 



  1. Put your pan over medium heat. Once it’s hot enough, spread the vegetable oil throughout your pan. Add in your kimchi and onion. Stir it until the kimchi and onion are combined evenly.
  2. Add your gochujang and sugar. Keep stirring until the kimchi is soft and the onions are translucent. 
  3. Once it’s cooked, remove your pan from the heat and pour in your sesame oil. Serve and enjoy! 

3. Braised Soybeans

Whether or not you’re a fan of soybeans and walnuts, this Korean side dish will definitely help you make up your mind! Just a single spoonful of this dish will have you craving for more. Braised soybeans or kongjorim is the perfect side dish if you’re looking for one that’s sweet and sticky! 

(yields 8 servings)



  1. Prepare the soybeans by rinsing it multiple times under running cold water. Drain your soybeans then put them in a pan. 
  2. Add 2 cups of water in the pan and let it soak for 3 hours. 
  3. Once it’s done soaking, boil the beans under high heat for 10 minutes.
  4. When the beans are done boiling, add in your soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. Stir until combined properly. 
  5. Cover the pan and let it boil for another 30 minutes on low heat. 
  6. After, remove the pan from heat and put in rice syrup or corn syrup. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top for added flavor! Serve and enjoy eating! 

4. Stir-fried Dried Anchovies

Myeolchi bokkeum, stir-fried dried anchovies, is one of the most popular Korean side dishes out there. It’s the perfect balance between sweet and savory, and it packs a crunch! Who would’ve thought that peanuts and anchovies go perfectly together? 

(yields 8 servings)


  • 1 cup dried anchovies
  • ½ cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp rice wine (mirin)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds


  1. Over medium heat, put oil in your pan. Once it’s hot enough, add in your anchovies and peanuts. Keep stirring until both the anchovies and peanuts turn brown.
  2. Put all the anchovies and peanuts in one side of the pan, leaving the other side empty. Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Pour in your soy sauce, water, rice wine, sugar, and honey to the empty part of the pan. Mix thoroughly and combine it with the anchovies and peanuts.
  4. Once everything is properly combined, serve or let it cool down! 

5. Spicy Cucumber Salad

Refreshing, spicy, and crunchy – what more could you ask for? The spicy cucumber salad (oi muchim) is a staple when it comes to preparing Korean side dishes for any meal. It simply can’t go missing! 

(yields 4 servings)


  • 1 cucumber
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced onion
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp chili pepper flakes (gochugaru
  • 1 chopped scallion
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)


  1. Slice the cucumber into thin slices (¼ inches thick).
  2. In a large bowl, put the cucumber slices. Add the soy sauce, onions, chili pepper flakes, scallions, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. If you want to add some sweetness to your cucumber salad, sprinkle sugar too. 
  3. Toss everything until it’s all well combined and the sugar is dissolved. Be careful not to squeeze the cucumber or else it will be bruised. 
  4. Serve and enjoy! 

Complete Your Korean Feast With These Korean Side Dishes

If you’re hosting a Korean meal, you better get going and start preparing those side dishes! To complete your dining experience, check out the best soju flavors that people have been raving about. Don’t miss out on these delicious trending Korean food and Korean corn dog recipes too! Whether you’re watching the trending K-Dramas of 2021 or simply hanging out with friends, you can never go wrong with Korean food! 

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