HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Do you create unique foods? Tell us about it

Why don't Korean Restaurants pack up leftover Panchan?

Wanda_Gorgonzola Jun 5, 2010 01:50 PM

I've asked several times, at several different restaurants.....I never get a direct answer, and I never get the Panchan in my bag. I am aware that at some places, it may be a language issue, as I don't speak Korean. I only ask when there is a significant amount left and if there are other (ordered) leftovers.....

Does anyone know if there's a cultural thing of which I am not aware. Is it 'bad form' to send people/guest home?

I know I may sound foolish, but I always feel a little odd not finishing the Panchan, as though I'm not grateful for the 'gift' :)....not to mention the waste factor......

  1. hannaone Jun 7, 2010 01:48 AM

    At my former restaurant we would not pack any banchan that appeared to be un-eaten/-sampled, on the assumption that the diner didn't like it.

    Many of the smaller restaurants don't carry the small take out containers (cost issue) needed to pack each item separately.

    The best way to get what you want is to simply ask for take out boxes and pack it yourself.

    1. ipsedixit Jun 5, 2010 09:13 PM

      I've never had an issue asking for the panchan to be bagged up when there are other items that I am also taking with me (i.e., leftover uneaten BBQ meat).

      My guess is that the Korean restaurant you are at is not bagging up your panchan because panchan is usually AYCE -- that is, it is refilled on demand. So, if the restaurant allowed customers to bag up what's leftover, this may lead customers to ask for a new round of panchan just before they ask for the doggy-bag. Just a guess.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit
        Mer_Made Jun 5, 2010 09:34 PM

        I can ask for the panchan to be refilled? Omigod, this is what I get for being shy and not wanting to cause a fuss!

        1. re: Mer_Made
          luckyfatima Jun 5, 2010 10:43 PM

          I have noticed that some places are bottomless pit banchan and others charge for refills.

          I have never had a problem asking for extra kimchee with leftovers but have never actually asked for a complete set of the banchan.

          1. re: luckyfatima
            ipsedixit Jun 6, 2010 10:09 AM

            I easily go through at least 2 or 3 rounds of panchan and always finish them. Sometimes I will go to Korean BBQ just for the panchan.

            1. re: luckyfatima
              joonjoon Jun 9, 2010 02:17 PM

              I've never been to a korean restaurant that charges for extra banchan...I can't think of a single korean who would stand for something like that.

            2. re: Mer_Made
              dump123456789 Jun 6, 2010 03:28 PM

              You have to ask for your panchan to be refilled ? The places I go to always ask me if I want my panchan to be refilled.

              1. re: dump123456789
                rockycat Jun 6, 2010 07:13 PM

                At my favorite restaurant it appears to depend on the waitperson. Some refill automatically, some ask if you would like a refill, and others wait to be asked. I assume that's an economic move to prevent the restaurant from serving unwanted food that will end up being discarded.

                I will usually only ask for refills if one or more of the panchan really catch my fancy, like the fishcake or daikon. I feel greedy really going to town on the panchan but if there's something that I especially like I consider it a compliment to ask for more and I am sure to ask the correct Korean name so that I can learn the recipe.

          Show Hidden Posts