Each and every one of the Shiku’s banchan is outstanding. Limited quantities are offered each day, and so far it’s been a fairly consistent rotation of dishes. Some may come and go and not all are available every day, but if you have a chance to stop by GCM for any reason, I highly recommend seeing what they have available as you pass through.
And now, a personal power ranking:
Myulchi Saewoo Bokkeum with Walnut 잔멸치새우 호두 볶음
This is the most addicting of the banchan, but it’s close. Salty, umami packed, with a soft crunch from the walnut and a subtle kick from the shishitos, this is one of those good-with-everything dishes that I’d want to have on hand at all times. Mix it into rice, throw it on some vegetables, scoop it out of the tub with my hands—do not skip this.
Jinmichae Bokkeum with Toasted Peanut 진미채 땅콩 볶음
Also crushable, but in a very different way. It’s chewy and creamy, and also has a bit of a punch, but the peanuts give it a more distinct nuttiness. The richness makes it ideal to break up bites with other dishes, but was the first of the tubs to disappear, because I was alternating bites of this while spreading out bites from everything else. If the Myulchi Saewoo Bokkeum is 1A, this is definitely 1B.
Chili Chamchi 고추 참치
I was ready to write this off as another tuna salad, but wow if only every tuna salad was like this. I loved the spiciness and the texture made it perfect scooped alongside a bowl of plain white rice.
Another spicy banchan that is quite refreshing and offers a solid crunch. It’s acidity makes it a must for any balanced meal.
Mu Namul 무나물
Whereas the Musaengchae is bright and snappy, this is soft and creamy. I’m not that familiar with the flavor of perilla seeds, where here it’s worked into a dressing, but wow it is tasty. I liked pairing this with the other banchan because it’s mild and soothing flavor was welcome compared to the other more confrontational flavors.
Shredded Potato + Fish Cake 감자채 볶음
While it wasn’t part of the opening menu, the shredded vegetable and fish cake banchan is likely to be a mainstay. It fits in perfectly with the rest of the line up, almost like the goldilocks banchan. It’s a bit creamy, a bit salty, a bit crunchy, and a bit soft. It’s very comforting and while it’s not going to punch you with flavor, that’s part of what makes it a great contrast to all the other vibrant banchan.
Naengi Muchim 냉이 무침
This really shouldn’t be a ranking, because I still really loved this simple dish of shepherd’s purse and perilla seed dressing. The bites seem to be carefully bundled, so that it’s easy to grab with chop sticks and eat your veggies.
From my uneducated perspective, this was hard to distinguish from the Naengi Muchim. It’s slightly less creamy because there’s just oil and ground perilla seed, not the full on dressing that the Naengi Muchim gets, but I still found it just as good.
Gim Jaban 김(돌)자반볶음
This seaweed snack is crispy, a bit salty, a little sweet, and reminded me of baked Lay’s potato chips. Its lightness makes it suitable company for some of the other more substantial banchan.