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Jun 5, 2010 01:50 PM

Why don't Korean Restaurants pack up leftover Panchan?

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......

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  1. 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

      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

        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

          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

            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

            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

              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.

        2. 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.