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Korean Side Dishes Store and More
Feb 10, 2021

How to find “homemade” Korean food that only needs minimal cooking

Korea is all about convenience. Whether you are a single person or a busy mom juggling a lot of life commitment, we all need to eat. But not everyone has the talent nor the time to get delicious food on the table everyday. Thus, restaurants and food delivery are the answers for such needs. 

Then, COVID came. Less people head out to restaurants, while some have gotten tired of the typical food deliveries in their localities. This post will share another way to get your “home-cooked” Korean dishes on your table.

Korean banchan or side dishes make up the typical Korean meal. Stir fried anchovy and nuts, salted squid, seasoned dried raddish, sesame leaf, and beef in soy sauce (장조림) are just a few dishes on this long list of side dishes. These, along with a main dish which is usually a stew, can be time consuming to prepare regularly. It might be a challenge to do so if you keep a busy lifestyle. 

Fortunately, you can buy these side dishes by itself. You can find these in traditional supermarkets and some grocery stores. And then, there’s the “banchan stores” or 반찬 가게. These are stores exclusively selling banchans. They are usually located in busy areas. 

But a Korean meal will also have some soup or stew to go with these side dishes. And these are usually served warm and cooking it at home is still preferred for most Koreans. This is where Cookchen  (국친)  offers a solution. 

Cookchen, a home-grown company in Cheonan, started with finding a solution to bring home-cooked food accessible to busy people. *Whether you are a single person or a working mom, this can be an option that can make life easier. This company launched a few years ago and now has branches in Cheonan, Cheongju, Asan and Seoul.

At first glance, this looks like a typical banchan (side dish) store to a non-Korean eyes. Yes, they do have the dish dishes. But the main dishes like stew, soups, etc. are also available to order as meal kits. You can easily cook up a dish of your choice all prepared for you. *No need to go to the market, chop vegetables, and have leftovers which might just go unused if you don’t know your way in the kitchen. 

You can choose among the different Korean meat-based dishes, soups, stews, and stir fries. It would then be prepared for you: cleaned, sliced, packed and ready to cook, not just reheat. So you still get your freshly-cooked stew or soup without much fuss. 

A serving would usually serve 2-3 people but there is also an option for a bigger serving, 4-5 people. Prices range from 6,500 ₩ for the basic doenjang chigue to 24,800 ₩ for the generous serving of a dish under the special sets menu. There’s plenty of choices to fill up your weekly menu.

There are alternative options to food delivery from restaurants, convenience-store lunch boxes, and reheatable food from the grocery store. And no, this has nothing to do with having kind Korean-in-laws giving you those. Lucky for those who got one though. We hope that this post has given you an idea where to find Korean meals that you can easily cook at home with less fuss. 

TIP:

Just use the keyword 반찬 가게 in your Korean-based map and you’ll definitely find one or two. If you’re keen to try Cookchen, using 국친 keyword will give you locations within Cheonan as well.