Banchan Bonanza: Side Dishes to Elevate Your Meal

Banchan Bonanza: Side Dishes to Elevate Your Meal


Banchan are small side dishes served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine. Banchan are set in the middle of the table to be shared.

Banchan holds immense cultural significance in Korean cuisine, going beyond its role as a mere side dish. Here are several aspects that highlight the cultural importance of banchan:

Balanced Nutrition:

Korean meals are traditionally well-balanced, incorporating a variety of flavors, textures, and nutritional elements. Banchan plays a crucial role in achieving this balance by offering an array of vegetables, proteins, and fermented foods, contributing to a wholesome and nutritious dining experience.

Communal Dining:

Korean dining is often communal, with shared dishes placed at the center of the table for everyone to enjoy. Banchan encourages communal eating, fostering a sense of unity and togetherness among diners. The act of sharing and sampling different banchan dishes enhances the social aspect of the meal.

Symbolism of Abundance:

The practice of serving multiple banchan dishes symbolizes abundance and prosperity. A variety of side dishes on the table reflects the host's effort to provide a generous and welcoming meal, especially during special occasions and celebrations.

Palate Cleansing:

Banchan serves not only as a complement to the main course but also as a means of palate cleansing. The diverse flavors and textures of banchan refresh the palate between bites, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Seasonal Variations:

Korean cuisine places a strong emphasis on seasonality, and this is reflected in the selection of banchan. Different side dishes are prepared based on the availability of seasonal ingredients, showcasing a connection to nature and the changing seasons.

Culinary Creativity:

Banchan allows for culinary creativity, both in terms of preparation and presentation. The variety of banchan dishes showcases the chef's skills and creativity, offering a canvas for exploring different cooking techniques, flavors, and artistic presentations.


Health and Well-being:

Many banchan dishes incorporate fermented ingredients such as kimchi, promoting gut health. The inclusion of a range of vegetables, often pickled or seasoned, aligns with the Korean philosophy of holistic well-being through food.

Cultural Identity:

Banchan is an integral part of Korean identity, and the preparation of these dishes often involves family recipes passed down through generations. The uniqueness of each family's banchan recipes contributes to the rich tapestry of Korean culinary heritage.

Respect for Elders:

Serving a variety of banchan is a sign of respect, especially in the context of family meals. Ensuring that elders and guests have a diverse selection of dishes reflects a cultural value of honoring and caring for others.

In summary, banchan goes beyond being a side dish; it is a reflection of Korean cultural values, emphasizing balance, community, creativity, and a deep connection to nature and tradition. The practice of enjoying banchan enriches the overall dining experience and adds layers of meaning to the act of sharing a meal in Korean culture.

Some banchans are available on our 90-min. Classes!!!
BOOK your classes today at Let’s Yori Korean Cooking Studio. Come and learn how to make these banchans at home!