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Feb 14, 2011 04:48 AM

Non-Korean getting jipped on the Panchan - how to handle?

I'm a white guy with an adventurous palate who loves Korean food. Went last night to Ichiban, the only place to get it near me in Hartford CT. It's not a great Korean restaurant - which requires a trip into NY -- but it gives me a fix.

I get my panchan with the meal, naturally. After the meal I head to the rest room and pass by many tables with Korean diners. Well, they each had several panchan items that were not brought to my table: the more adventurous (and costly) items like squid, and the little dried fishes. All that was brought to me were the kim chi, tofu, potato salad, etc.

I can give the benefit of the doubt to the restaurant that perhaps after bringing certain panchan to the tables of white folks that the food mostly goes to waste. Or perhaps more cynically they're keeping the best stuff for the home team.

I want the good stuff -- how do I handle this? I'm not sure of the average server's English skills there. I was thinking of having a Korean acquaintance write a note in Korean for me to bring that says "bring me the good stuff - pretend I'm Korean". (Chowhound used to sell a "chow passport" that took care of this in several languages - is that still available?

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    1. tell the waiter you want all the banchan

      1. Having grown up in that area, I would guess a lot of the fish based dishes are wasted when they serve it to non-asians. Indeed, try asking next time. Love it, Korean food with a Japanese name.

        1. Find a Seoul brother.

          1. Agree, just ask for it. But it's banchan, not panchan.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rockandroller1

              Panch'an is also a recognized romanization.