as a korean, it's always bothered me how some people refer to banchan as appetizers or like in this article, "pickled small first courses." they are neither appetizers nor small first courses. they are side dishes, clear and simple. we don't have courses unless it's at a banquet or fancy meal at a korean style chinese restaurant or fancy hanjungshik restaurant like yongsusan that caters to non-korean customers, even in korea. but for most korean meals, courses don't exist. everything is consumed at the table at once. banchan is already placed on the table only because they are usually ready-made. there are of course exceptions to this rule, like at bbq restaurants where cold buckwheat noodles come after meat is consumed, or as with dessert such as fruit or shikhae. courses is the western way of looking at meals. i know some koreans refer to courses but that's only to make it more amenable to non-koreans. they're clearly not appetizers or first courses b/c they don't get cleared once you're done. they are side dishes. they stay on the table throughout the entire meal.