Love having Korean food at home? While army stews and barbecued meats are great, sometimes all you really need for a hearty meal is rice, sesame oil, and some Korean banchan. But these tasty side dishes can be hard to find, so we’ve rounded up some of the best Korean banchan spots in Singapore.
Banchan, for the uninitiated, simply means small side dishes that are had with cooked rice in a Korean meal. While the word is mostly associated with a spicy, salted, and fermented napa cabbage called Baechu-kimchi, there’s a whole range of dishes that are considered banchan too.
Apart from kimchi (napa cabbage, radish, cucumbers, you name it), there’s also namul (steamed, marinated, or stir-fried vegetables), bokkeum (meat, seafood or vegetables stir-fried with sauce), jorim (vegetables, meat, fish, seafood, or tofu simmered in a broth and reduced) and more. Besides, these dishes are often light and nutritious, and provide a balance of flavours and texture to the meal.
If you’re keen on recreating an authentic, no-fuss meal at home, these locales offer the best Korean side dishes you can find in Singapore – other than Shine Korea Supermarket, of course.
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Where to find the best Korean banchan in Singapore:
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Ko Ryo Jeong is where you’ll want to have a quick Korean fix in the Tanjong Pagar area. Situated in International Plaza, they’ve prepped themselves with ready-to-eat meals like tteokbokki, kimbap and fishcake soup for the busy office worker, complete with banchan for takeaway as well. Apart from the regular offerings like kimchi and stir-fried anchovies (spicy and non-spicy versions available), they also have seasonal items on rotation like cuttlefish and braised lotus roots.
(Image credit: @koryojeong.sg via Instagram)
My Korean Mom’s Kimchi is no stranger to those in the east. The brand was formed by a Korean mother-son duo in their Tampines condominium kitchen, and their generously-packed, delicious rolls of kimbap have been making their way around those in the area and beyond. Besides the kimbap, we usually make sure our cart is filled with an order of Marinated Mayak Quail Eggs and Braised Lotus Roots.
(Image credit: My Korean Mom’s Kimchi)
There have been mixed reviews when it comes to Jin Kimchi, but we think it boils down to your tastebuds. Personally, we find the recipe for the kimchi a little too sweet for our liking, but others might appreciate that the sweetness cuts through the spiciness of the kimchi. Other side dishes you can order here include the sweet and briny Soy Marinated Prawns, and the Braised Black Soybeans, which are said to be loaded with antioxidants, protein, and calcium.
(Image credit: @jinkimchi.official via Instagram)
Jang Bom is bringing these addictive Korean side dishes straight to your doorstep. Here, vegetarian-friendly options like the Soy Sauce Marinated Garlic leaf and Pickled Perilla Leaf are available, and you can also get a taste of the sea with options such as the Spicy Marinated Octopus. Delivery only takes a day or two.
(Image credit: jangbom.sg via Instagram)
If you’re in town, pick up your favourite banchan from the wide selection at Chan Chan Chan, which has been at Takashimaya’s food hall since 2009. The kimchi here is exceptionally popular, but don’t forget to pick up other staples such as the spicy cucumber salad, picked radish, and the seasoned dried shredded squid. Street food like tteokbokki and gimbap are also freshly made there if you fancy a quick snack.
Babchingu is a true hidden gem, especially if you’re a fan of kimchi. Located in the basement of Vivo City, in a quiet corner just beside the check-out counters of Fairprice, the Korean banchan store in Singapore has a whole array of freshly-packed kimchi that range from the commonly found Fresh Kimchi and Traditional Kimchi, to more interesting options like Ginseng Kimchi and Mustard Leaf Kimchi. While this would have proven enough to differentiate themselves from other joints, they’ve taken it one step further by including Anchovies, Black soybeans and Perilla Leaves and Fishcakes into their repertoire of banchan as well.
(Image credit: abillion)