Banchan Adventuring – #3 – Winter Banchan party

This weekend capped another Korean banchan party.  # 3 in a series of seasonal banchan adventuring.

The purpose of this theme is to capture the essence of Korean cuisine.  Mainly the banchan – side dishes that accompany every Korean meal.

I started doing these parties a year ago in hopes to immerse myself back into Korean cooking and to share my love of cooking with my friends.  For me, the greatest expression of love is to cook for my friends and family.

These dinner parties also served another purpose, to gather a wide net of people who knew of each other through my cooking and friendship and to discover what they had in common.  The 6 degree of separation theory.  Six degrees of separation is the theory that any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.

With all the attention of currents events, the chaos and the downward spiral of our government, it is a refreshing break from the harsh reality of the world.

We are never a lone island.  And this is where my dinner parties come in.

The last year has been a wonderful re-discovery and sharing of my love of Korean food.  In particular vegetarian cuisine.   What I am learning is to understand what goes into a dish, the nuances, the history of how recipes are transcribed and often brought into existence.  It is by all accounts, understanding the culture and the history of the food and it’s origin.

I grew up in a traditional Korean household, my mother learned to cook Korean dishes from her mother.  These recipes and dishes were passed on to me and my sister.  When I learned how to cook, I remember being a bit resentful on having to learn how to cook.  My attentions were elsewhere back then.  I also liked to eat so it wasn’t all that horrible to learn.  My mother tapped into my fondness for eating and learning how to replicate dishes and taught me something that I will keep with me and pass on.

Food is meant to be shared and in the presence of friends and family, it is a way to bond with other people.

Winter vegetables brings all the attention of my childhood.  Squashes, potatoes, and chestnuts.  While vegetables are readily available in current day grocery stores, they were not so readily available in my parents or grandparents days.  When I make these dishes, I am grateful for the availability of these products.  I am reminded that cutting corners using a food processors is a luxury.

For this party, I made potato banchan (Gamja jorim ) and japchae, a yam noodle dish, along with spinach and mung bean sprout banchan (sukju namul).  I also tossed in one of my favorites, spicy rice cake dish called tteokbokki.


I also made a quick omlette dish called gyeran mari with gim (egg roll with seaweed)


This dish is a favorite of my childhood as I remember it being packed in my lunchbox. When I became a parent, I replicated the memories by making these for my daughter.

No party is complete without the accompaniment of alcohol to loosen the mood and while food doesn’t necessarily have to be drunk with alcohol, it does end up being more lively!

So until next time, eat, drink and be happy.

See you at the next banchan party!

For banchan recipes, I follow these blogs


Author: Jung Un Choi

Many years ago I started on this journey to discover myself and to move through the universe through stories and poetry. Along the way, I rediscovered myself through cycling and the art of meditation. This and so much more is where you will find me. Somewhere between dreaming and waking. Between watching and participating.

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