Banchan are the selection of side dishes served alongside the main course. The number of these dishes tends to vary depending on the importance of the dinner, but at an everyday meal you can expect to see at least two or three. Salted and pickled vegetables are popular, but meat, eggs and seafood also make an appearance.
Probably the most well-known of all banchan, there are hundreds of different types of kimchi and recipes vary from region to region. Mostly, the dish consists of chilli peppers and fermented vegetables – cabbage is the most widely used, but cucumbers and radishes are popular, too. The result is a complex mouthful, which combines spicy, sour, salty and slightly sweet elements.
This is a chilli-pepper paste made from powdered, fermented soy beans, some form of rice powder and red peppers. Gochujang has a thickish consistency and a spicy, sweet flavour. It is considered to be a staple; as well as being used as a condiment or dip, it is an essential ingredient in a number of soups or stews.
Gogi Gui or Korean barbecue
Many families have their own indoor grill, which is considered essential for cooking dishes such as galbi and bulgogi with optimum results. Restaurants tend to have a charcoal or gas grill built into the centre of each table. For ease of eating with chopsticks, the meat will be sliced into bite-sized pieces, to be eaten wrapped in lettuce.