Article by Gil "hannaone"
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Image by hannaone: assorted banchan

What are all those little dishes?

All those little dishes that are served with Korean meals.
Banchan translates into English as "side dish", and traditional Korean meals are accompanied by varying numbers of these delicious offerings that are intended to be shared among the diners.
Banchan is one of the favorite features from our restaurants, with some of the dishes so popular that we would sell pint and quart containers for people to enjoy at home with any meal, or simply as a snack.

During the third century AD, Buddhism spread throughout Korea and was adopted as the primary religion by the three prominent kingdoms of the time. This led to a general proscription against eating meat, and is likely to have played a major role in the development of banchan as it is known today.
Vegetable offerings rose in prominence and became a primary feature of meals. Kitchens throughout Korea developed many methods for preparing, cooking, and presenting these dishes to the nobility. Smaller Korean villages and homes followed suit.

The Mongol invasions ended the proscriptions against meat and meat offerings again appeared in Korean meals, but nearly six centuries of primarily vegetarian fare had indelibly stamped Korean cuisine.

Banchan has also been used to display relative prosperity in Korean homes. Along with offering expensive beef, presenting a large number of side dishes implied a "well off" status.

Index to Banchan Recipes

Banchan - It's all about the Banchan. History, information, and recipes,
Banchan: Myeolchi-bokkeum - Stir Fried Anchovy - Recipe for Myeolchi-bokkeum - Stir Fried Anchovy
Banchan: Doraji Namul - Bell flower root - Recipe for Doraji Namul - Sauteed Bellflower Root 도라지 무침
Banchan: Dubu Buchim - Recipe for Dubu Buchim - 마늘장아찌
Banchan: Maneuljjong-Bokkeum - Recipe for Maneuljjong-Bokkeum
Banchan: Gyeran Mali | Rolled Omelet - Recipe for Gyeran Mali | 마늘장아찌 | Korean Rolled Omelet
Banchan: Kkaenip Jangajji - Recipe for Kkaenip Jangajji - 깻잎 장아찌 - Seasoned Per
Banchan: Maneul Jangajji - Recipe for Maneul Jangajji - 마늘장아찌
Banchan: Mumallaengi Muchim - Seasoned Dried Radish - Recipe for Mumallaengi Muchim - Korean style seasoned dried radish strips
Banchan: Sigeumchi-Namul - Recipe for Sigeumchi Namul - Seasoned Spinach 시금치나물

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