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17 Easy Korean Side Dishes

When stepping into a Korean restaurant, the aromas of garlic, fermented soy, and spicy chili hit your nose. It’s a powerful, pungent smell that Korean food fans have come to love. It means it’s time to feast on some delicious cuisine unlike any other!

Korean Side Dishes

Marinated meat grilled and wrapped into fresh lettuce leaves with flavorful toppings is a Korean bbq favorite. But it should never be served on its own. Korean bbq sides are half the reason foodies flock to these establishments.

Korean side dishes are so yummy you may opt to serve them with or without the meat. And there are plenty to choose from. Read on to find the one that tickles your fancy– and your taste buds the most!

1. SigumchiNamul

This is a classic Korean banchan recipe. Koreans love their veggies and their sesame– and this dish deliciously combines both for a healthy addition to any meal.

It’s a versatile dish that’s also easy to make. It can be served on the side or used within other main dishes. Jazz up your main dishes like stir-fries or bibimbap by adding some Korean seasoned spinach.

It’s a surefire way to get your kids sneakily eating spinach and enjoying it!

2. Soybean Sproat Side Dish

Have you ever tried soybean sprouts? Well, you should!

This yummy dish is light and crunchy. It makes an excellent Korean bbq side dish or a topper for rice, meat, or even sandwiches.

You can use home-grown or store-bought soybean sprouts. Season with as much as or as little Korean hot pepper flakes as you can handle.

The flakes usually come in varying intensities from mild to super spicy. Bear in mind Koreans can handle their spice! If you can’t find them, red chili flakes make a good substitute.

3. Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)

Looking for a salad to accompany that hearty bbq? Look no further! Korean cucumber salad makes a great side salad.

The cucumbers are crisp and crunchy. The light, refreshing flavor helps balance out the spicy kick from the chili peppers.

It’s a traditional Korean recipe that’s simple to make and a crowd-pleaser. Enjoy!

4. Traditional Kimchi Recipe- Bapsang

If you haven’t tried kimchi, you absolutely must! The flavor is unlike any other.

This spicy, salty side is a staple in Korean cooking. It’s somehow both crunchy and effervescent tingling those tastebuds in the process.

It goes well with almost all Korean main dishes including bbq, noodle dishes, and many stews. It’s also fermented so it’s loaded with healthy probiotics to help balance that gut! It’s a win-win.

Try using a vegan fish sauce or soy sauce as a substitute for fish sauce if you don’t consume animal products.

5. Korean Zucchini Side Dish

The flavors of the zucchini come alive in this Korean banchan recipe. The sweet, grassy flavors are complemented by spicy peppers and rich maple syrup.

The fermented fish give it a salty, fishy flavor that Korean food is often known for. This is what really sets this dish apart from other cucumber salads.

If you can’t find saewoojaet, replace it with soy or fish sauce to create the same savory, salty taste. Enjoy!

6. Korean Shitake Mushroom Side Dish

This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and scrumptious!

Shitake mushrooms steal the show here. The flavor of this particular type of mushroom is meaty and buttery. Garlic only enhances this mouth-watering taste. Garnish with some scallions to give it a burst of color and you’re good to go!

The side dish is excellent on its own but also mixes well with rice and meat dishes. It’s a guilt-free dish with loads of flavor.

7. Korean Fish Cake Side Dish

Everything from the flavors to the ingredients is authentically Korean here. Some may be tricky to find, but if there is an Asian or Korean grocery store in town– you should be set!

It’s quick, easy, and inexpensive to make. In fact, it’s often a complimentary side dish at many Korean restaurants.

If you’re Korean, fish cake is the dish your mom used to make and you probably miss it. So if you want a true taste of this culinary-renowned country, this dish is the way to go.

8. GamjaJorim (Korean Braised Potatoes)

Give your basic meat and potatoes a Korean flair! This side dish is just the right blend of sweet and salty thanks to the honey and soy sauce. The sesame seeds add a slightly nutty crunch.

Baby red potatoes are the best option for roasting in this recipe. The traditional method calls for boiling the potatoes first, but I recommend pan-frying or roasting to get the best texture.

You want the potatoes to have that sticky sweet exterior with an ever-so-soft interior.

9. Spicy Korean Coleslaw

Coleslaw is the perfect Korean bbq Korean side dish. The flavor of vinegar complements the meat well and the crispy veggies give the recipe a nice contrasting crunch.

This recipe has gochugaru, a Korean chili that gives this side dish its hotness. If you can’t find gochugaru or simply want to take the heat down a notch, substitute with paprika. The slaw won’t be as spicy, but it’ll have a similar color and taste.

10. Eggplant Side Dish (Gaji-Namul)

Eggplant makes an excellent side dish. It’s soft, flavorful, and adds a beautiful, purple touch to the table!

Garlic compliments the eggplant perfectly, giving it an addictive quality that’s hard to turn down. The eggplant should come out soft and custardy. Pair it with rice, bbq meat, or add it to a big banchan spread.

Many Korean recipes use fish oil. If you’re looking to go vegetarian– try soy sauce instead!

11. GosariNamul (Korean Fernbrake Side Dish)

Wondering what fernbrake is? It’s an edible fern! Also called bracken fiddleheads, this vegetable is often dried and used in Korean and Chinese cuisine.

The fern in gosarinamul takes on a mild garlicky and salty flavor. Sesame contributes a nutty, slightly sweet taste. It’s a unique flavor and texture combination that I highly recommend!

If you can’t get your hands on any fernbrake, the ingredients will also go well with asparagus.

12. Korean Lettuce Salad (SangchuGeotjeori)

Who knew lettuce could be so exciting! This salad is light, crisp, and spicy. It’s a fresh alternative to kimchi and much faster to make. Sangchugeotjeori is meant to be prepared and served right away to maintain its freshness.

I eat bites alongside galbi, bulgogi, or rice dishes. If you’re a fan of mixing cuisines, you can even try it as a sandwich or taco stuffing for some casual Korean fusion.

Simple doesn’t have to mean boring. Lettuce spice up that salad!

13. Korean Macaroni Salad

With all these spicy sides, you might need a cooling dish for balance. Creamy macaroni salad makes the perfect partner to spicy bbq meals.

Kids love the simplicity of this delicious salad. But if you want to jazz things up, don’t be afraid to add some extra ingredients. Imitation crab, bacon, hardboiled eggs, or beans enhance the creamy, rich flavor and increase the protein content. It’s win-win!

14. Korean Pancake with Scallions (Pa Jun)

This savory pancake makes for an excellent side dish or snack. The ingredients are simple and easy to whip up, making it a great alongside dips.

The classic Korean pancake is served with a salty dip of soy sauce with chopped scallions.

Pa jun can be spiced up in many ways. Try adding some meat or extra spices to the batter for a heartier, more flavorful version. The upside to making it the traditional way is how versatile it is– the simplicity allows you to go crazy with the dips instead.

15. Sesame Broccoli

Broccoli seems to be an acquired taste for some. While kids don’t always love the flowery green vegetable, you should give this Korean side a try. Sesame might be the right addition to make this the gateway dish to loving broccoli.

Sesame has a slightly sweet, nutty profile that softens the bitterness of broccoli. Boil for a little longer if you want to tame the flavor further.

If you’re a fan of the slightly bitter veggie in all its glory– stick to the original recipe instructions and enjoy the hints of sesame!

16. Daikon Radish Salad

Have you tried daikon radish? Not everyone has, but they should! The texture is what stands out the most to me.

Crispy and fresh, it’s a burst of refreshing flavor with every crunchy bite you take. The recipe adds elements of spice and sweetness that suit a hot summer outdoor picnic or bbq.

If you can’t seem to find daikon radishes, white radishes or jicama have similar taste and consistency and make for excellent substitutes.

17. Korean Green Salad

At first glance, this may appear to be any typical salad. One forkful in, you’ll realize it has an Asian dressing that sets it apart. The soy sauce and fish sauce are the secret ingredients that give it that Korean flair.

This salad is a great way to cool your palate after all the traditionally spicy Korean fare.

It has a hint of red chili flakes, but the apple and cucumber work to soothe that spicy, lingering aftertaste. Enjoy it with any meal. It complements most dishes and gives you a healthy dose of veggies!

Korean Side Dishes

17 Easy Korean Side Dishes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Korean seasoned spinach is the perfect recipe for a Korean bbq Korean side dish. Simple, nutritious, and easy to make! This vegetable side takes less than 10 minutes to whip up. Make it just as the meat is finished grilling and serve it fresh.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon sesame seeds
  • ½ tablespoon sesame salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ pound raw spinach

Instructions

    1. Boil the spinach in water until just soft (less than a minute). Run the spinach under cool water and dry in a salad spinner or by gently removing excess water with paper towels.
    2. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and pour over the spinach, mixing as you go.
    3. Serve and enjoy!

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