What Are So Many Side Dishes For?
Korea’s side dishes are called “banchan.” They are commonly served at every table when you dine Korean. And there are lots of them – small servings of different taste adventures, each offering a unique flavor to a dining experience. You can call them appetizers, if you will.
You know that Korean cuisine is synonymous with healthy food, also regarded by Koreans as medicinal. Your side dishes balance out the main courses at your table. Banchan is light and non-greasy. They help you digest the meats and rice you eat, are filling in themselves, and delicious, as well.
Most common among the side dishes is kimchi. It’s an immune system booster with its lactic acid that results in the process of fermentation. It’s also rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, a known cancer fighter and antioxidant. There’s namul, which are steamed, marinated, or stir-fried vegetables usually seasoned with sesame oil, salt, vinegar, minced garlic and soy sauce. Guk is a soup of vegetables, seafood and/or meats boiled in plenty of water.
Bokkeum is stir-fried kimchi with pork, or pork, or shredded squid, baby octopus or mushrooms Simmered tofu or simmered beef is another banchan called Jjim. Then there are pan-fried and pancake-like dishes called Jeon. That’s not all. There are others, like pickled radish, omelette, potato salad, and Japchae, which are glass noodles with vegetables and beef.
Your banchan will not increase your body weight, though they filling. They lower risks of cardiovascular diseases as well as neurological illnesses. The isoflavones in beans and mushroom strengthen bones. Then, because they have no preservatives, they are good for skin health.
Eat Korean and Enjoy Banchan in Bellevue
So next time you come to Seoul Hot Pot, your Bellevue Korean restaurant, enjoy your banchan more. Now you know what’s in your banchan and why we serve lots of them. Eat Korean and stay healthy.