For the folks that haven’t tried kimchi yet, we can honestly say that you’re missing out!
This dish of salted and pickled vegetables is a delight to both make and eat. It’s filling, it’s healthy, and, most importantly, it’s full of great flavor
Kimchi is an incredibly important cultural dish too. It’s not just one of the most popular dishes in Korea. It is arguably THE dish of Korea. It is the national dish, after all!
However, with a meal as flavor-packed as this, you may also find that eating nothing but kimchi for a meal can be a little overwhelming.
Think of it like eating an amazing chocolate cake that is just too rich to eat on its own.
So, you’ll probably want to have at least one or two side dishes handy for the next time that you’re eating or preparing kimchi as your main meal.
And, as luck would have it, our guide and list that we have compiled here do just that!
Why Serve A Side With Kimchi?
Some people reading this list might be a little confused as to why you need to serve kimchi. After all, it’s often served as its course, so why would you need to serve it with a side?
Well, aside from simply having more flavors to pick and choose from, there are a few good reasons that
The first one is, unless you’re already a vegetarian or vegan, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to be used to eating a fully plant-based main course.
Having another food there helps make that palate change a little more… well, palatable.
Not only that, but Kimchi, while it is getting more popular across the world, is still a relatively new food to the international market and culinary world, especially for ordinary home cooking.
Having a more familiar side to pair it with makes that transition a little easier.
Plus, as we said, Kimchi has a very strong salty and acidy flavor to it.
Having something to help contrast and balance against those aspects of the food not only taste better for longer but stop them from becoming overwhelming.
1. Korean Tacos
Starting with an option that mixes the familiar with some new flavors, you’ll find that Korean tacos make for an excellent side for any side.
However, we find them the perfect complement to a Kimchi main course.
Many taco recipes will often use beef as their main ingredient and filling, and Korean tacos are no exception.
Bulgogi beef is a popular type of food in Korea, being a grilled and marinated meat that goes with pretty much anything, from stir fries to fried rice, to, like here, tacos.
Not only does this make these tacos a great side dish, but adding a spoonful of kimchi on top makes for a perfect combination of meat and salad.
The perfect East Asian alternative to the classic Mexican taco!
2. Steamed Egg
Steamed eggs are a very popular side dish to put on a table with other main dishes, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that they also make for a phenomenal side to a portion of Kimchi.
However, streaming eggs in places like Western Europe and North America might not be a method of preparation that many people may be aware of.
And yet, it produces a striking side to serve a plate of food.
This is impressive, given that the main ingredient is still just whisked eggs yolks, and whites, the same as you would do for scrambled eggs or omelets!
The trick with this food is to mix your whisked eggs with salt and water, then allow the mixture to sit on heat for a little while.
The egg will rise in a volcano-like shape, and can just be placed on your plate next to your kimchi.
The flavor of steamed eggs is relatively light and neutral, making it pair great with the more intense flavors of Kimchi.
Alternatively, steamed eggs also take the flavor from spices and other ingredients incredibly well.
Through in some cayenne pepper or paprika, or even a little sriracha, add a little extra heat to this simple side dish!
Who doesn’t love a good fried rice recipe? They’re a popular staple across many types of Asian cuisine, and Korean is no different.
While we think that any type of fried rice will give you great results for a Kimchi side dish, we’ve opted to share a meat-filled version of the recipe, for those folks that maybe aren’t keen on an all-veggie meal for themselves.
Like with any fried rice dish, the key is to make sure that the rice that you’re using is chilled or cold for the perfect fried texture, but also fresh.
While the rice will all be heated up anyway, it doesn’t hurt to keep your food as clean of bacteria as possible!
Just make sure that you’re keeping an eye out for how much rice you’re making for this dish. We’ve all made too much rice for at least one meal that we’ve tried to cook before!
This next dish is for those who feel that Kimchi needs to be served with a good portion of meat on the side!
Breaded cuts of meat are a staple of many different cuisines across the world.
Simply coat your food or meat of choice with egg, cover the food in breadcrumbs, through in a hot pan until it’s cooked, and you have a tasty little breaded dish on your plate!
Pork is a popular meat in Korean cuisine, so we chose that one in particular for a complimentary food to your bowl of Kimchi.
While you may traditionally serve breaded pork chops as a large single food item in a main dish, we find that they’re also the perfect side dish, when shopped up into strips or diced.
While sushi isn’t much of a Korean dish, being more often associated with nearby Japan.
However, with a few changes to the classic sushi formula, you’ll find that it makes for the perfect complement to Kimchi, in more ways than one.
This particular dish turns sushi, which is most commonly seen as a very soft dish with a little bite to it, into something that has a lot more crunch to it.
Compared to the smooth texture and strong taste of Kimchi that you’ll be enjoying, this takes on sushi rice bites makes for a great contrast.
Plus, you can still add all the extras, meats, or fish that you’d like with the crispy sushi rice. We’re particularly big fans of classic salmon and rice.
The velvety, almost creamy, texture of a good fillet works great with both the salmon rice and the more pungent kimchi
6. Tuna Patties
And speaking of fish flavors, we love a good tuna recipe here, so it’s only natural that we’d want to try and find a good use for this favorite fish of ours alongside a good bowl of Kimchi.
It’s such an affordable fish meat, that it’s become a popular ingredient in everything from salads, to pizza, to some types of Kimchi even!
We settled on this amazing tuna pattie recipe, that turns this fish meat into something a little more substantial.
You get the fishy meaty texture of the tuna, while also getting a bit of heat and extra flavor from all the slated and pickled veggies in the Kimchi.
Even we, the world’s biggest tuna fans, can admit that this fish needs a little extra seasoning and flavor from time to time!
Like rice, noodles have long been a vital part of many recipes and dishes across different Asian cuisines, so you won’t find it difficult to add little extra noodles to your classic Korean dish.
The real question is how to add some extra flavor to those noodles…
Well, sesame and chicken are a great place to start!
Peanut satay is a popular flavor to add to many Korean dishes, and the noodles help hold onto that creamy sauce excellently.
Plus, the chicken has a relatively mild flavor in this dish, making it the perfect meat to balance out that distinct and powerful Kimchi flavor.
Not only that but the recipe that we have included for this entry can be made in next to no time at all, just under 20 minutes.
Well, we were talking about how great bulgogi beef was at the beginning of this list of side dishes. So it only feels appropriate that we also close out this list with a similar recipe.
We’ve already raved about bulgogi beef, so we won’t repeat much of what we said before.
It’s flavorful, adds a nice meaty texture to a full kimchi meal, and can even include Kimchi in the burger, placing it where you might normally put coleslaw or lettuce.
If you’re looking for extra ways to add some flavor to this beef while cooking, we recommend adding a little garlic and sesame oil to the pan while you’re cooking this Korean burger patty.
Now, is this a case where the side dish is kind of eclipsing the main dish that we’re here for? Maybe. We’ll let you be the judge of that.
Still, these two foods make for a phenomenal combination, so we’re not exactly worried about questions like that!
So, as you can see, you’re not short on options to choose from when it comes to making a good Kimchi side dish.
Of course, Kimchi is a great dish on its own, so don’t feel that you have to make a side dish if you know that you’ll enjoy it by itself.
But if you’re feeling extra peckish, these dishes will have you covered!