Korean Table Etiquette : Table manners

7 Do and Don’t at Korean Table

1. Grab the spoon or chopstick after the elders(or seniors).

Wait until those who superior to you all hold their spoons or chopsticks. Korean senior system(age orderly custom) must feel weird to you. As culture being westernized, this custom seems to weaken. Youngster(20~40years old) do not concern about it, but the elderly might frown at your behavior regarding as lack of courtesy. Be attentive not to start eating before they do.

2. Don’t hold the cutlery(spoon and chopsticks) on both hands.

You’d better use one hand to use a spoon or chopsticks. Korean don't normally use both simultaneously. You might hold them on both hands by mistake as if you grabbed a knife and pork. Koreans use their spoon first, put it down, and hold the chopsticks. Exceptionally, Korean girls or women eat noodle holding both in order not to drop noodles and make splashes, while Korean men do not.

3. Don’t stir food on the side dish.

Don’t try to eat the bottom part of the side dish. Koreans have their own rice and soup bowl each, but share side dishes. You should eat the upper part of it so that it looks great until the end of the meal. Korean moms always instruct their children not to turn food over. Growing up, most adults are trained not to it. It’s good to keep a nice look while eating, isn’t it?

4. Don’t speak with food in your mouth.

Koreans used not to chat while eating. They didn't talk that much following their culture. Nowadays, as family friendly culture fastened each family unit. Many koreans started to converse more, so it’s good to have a chat with Korea. But, of course, not with your food in.

5. Don't blow your nose at the table.

Koreans don't blow nose at the table. If their runny nose is uncontrollable, they go to hidden place, blow their nose, and come back. Some countries allow blowing nose at the table, but it’s forbidden in Korea. Interestingly, in Korea, you can cough at the table. It is not against the courtesy.

6. Don’t leave any rice in the rice bowl.

Korean adults regard rice as a valuable food since they got through poverty and famine during their childhood. The older they are, the more they value rice. They don't leave a grain of rice finishing their meal. You should scrape all remained grains with your spoon and make your bowl clean.

7. Lay your cutlery back to its place after meal.

After you finish your meal, you put your spoon and chopsticks beside the soup bowl where it was before. It’s recommendable to end your meal at the time the elder finishes. Lastly, Remain seated until the elders leave the table.

Keep these in mind. 

       Be nice with Korean table etiquette!

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Posted by Food Storyist

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