Korean cuisine

Korean Dining Etiquette

As you have learned in the class, politeness is the key feature of Korean culture. Hence we do have many things to be considered when you eat meals with someone. Today, let’s learn some Korean table manners.

Do not start your meal before the oldest person starts

Normally the host of the dinner will introduce you a seat. Do not sit until you are told where to seat. In addition, do not start your meal before the oldest person starts the meal. Please wait for the oldest person to lift their chopsticks and spoons first before you start eating.

Before you eat, say “ 먹겠습니다 (jal meokket seumnida~~)”

(i.e. I am excited to eat/ will enjoy the meal from now on)

Look at the person who cooked/hosted the dinner and say “잘 먹겠습니다 (jal meokket seumnida~)” which means that I am looking forward to eat this meal/ Thanks for your hard work.

Don’t eat too slow/ fast

Always check other people’s speed and try to finish your meal as others.

While you are eating foods

Do not speak too much when you have foods in your mouth. Never blow your nose. It’s good to say compliments about the foods to encourage the person who cooked the meal.

Do not hold your Soup and rice bowls

Unlike many other Asian countries like Japan or China, Korean people do not hold their soup/rice bowls. Put your bowls down on the table and eat slowly by using both chopsticks and a spoon.

Share the Side dishes with other people

We do have many side dishes to be shared. Do not take a certain food item too much even it’s your favourite food. Side dishes are to be shared.


When you drink alcohol with older people, it is polite to turn your head a little bit left/right (about 45degrees).

After you finish your meal, “ 먹었습니다 (jal meogeot seumnida)”

Don’t forget to say “잘 먹었습니다” when you finish your meal. It means “thank you very much for your food, I enjoyed it a lot”.


Ashley (Korean Teacher)

Cooking expressions in Korean

If you have been to SLS Korean cooking/ Cultural workshop which was held earlier this year, you might have heard of some Korean expressions talking about cooking. Since Korean foods have many steps to prepare ingredients prior to main cooking session, we need to know some essential expressions regarding the preparation stage as well as the main stages of cooking.

For BBQ, 굽다 is used as ‘grill/bake’. For example, “갈비를 구워 주세요 galbi reul gu wue ju se yo” means “Please grill some Galbi (i.e. beef rib)”.  For stir frying when you make some Korean side dishes, we say 볶다. If you want to say “Please stir fry this potato.”, you can say “이 감자를 볶아 주세요. I gamja reul bokka juseyo.”

Here are some important expressions regarding Korean cooking:

끓이다: to boil. When you make Korean soups.

부치다: to Pay fry. When you make Korean seafood pancakes.

삶다: to steam/ boil. When you make Korean Namul dishes.

절이다: to marinade vegetables. When you make Kimchi, it’s essential.


Ashley Jang (Korean teacher)

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January 2018
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