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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Do Korean Eat Pig Skin?

Yes, we do eat Pig Skin. 

We call it 'dwae ji cup dae gi'  돼지 껍데기 in Korean.
'Dwae ji' means a pig and 'cup dae gi' means a cover or skin.
It literally means ' pig cover'.


Koreans say that Pig has no part to throw away.
we also eat pig meat(pork), pig intestines, blood, a liver, an ear, a foot and even a head. You must be shocked of the parts I mentioned above, but there exist several famous food using those body parts; Sundae(similar to sausage : intestines and blood), Jokbal(similar to german schweinshaxeI : feet) and et cetera. I will talk about those on following posts in detail.

        <Korean Charcoal Place>

Do you think eating pig skin is gross?

Haha. The answer is upto you. I used to feel pukey when I just heard of the name since it just reminded me of the filthy pigs in the pigpen. They also have some hairs on it. How can I dare to eat such un-sanitary things? That was the exactly the things coming up to me.

But thoughts change.

Few months ago, I was drawn to one restaurant that serve pork and the pigskin. I did not at all think of a hint of possibility to eat pig skin, because I have not eaten it yet and ever never will. But I could not stop my companies from ordering it, so I let it go. The uncooked pigskin is prepared and I feel yucky to see that pinkey-white thing.

Food is Food. This is Food. That was just only thing I soothed myself.

The pigskin was laid on the grill and started being cooked. It got oils down to underneath of grills and got brown color on it. Later, I noticed I feel like biting one piece. As you know, the fat-burning smell makes your mouth watering. But It was not easy to try. It was the moment my company knew my interests in pigskin and told me to try one. To my friends, I was a pigskin detester, so I hesitated to change my attitude toward it.

as one piece of pig skin popped out,  
My impulsive instinct popped out.

It was warm and hot, fatty, nutty, chewy and also crunchy. Fatty taste is the desirable flavor for humans, so I do not have to talk about how delicious fat is. When medium cooked, it is so super-chewy that it sometimes clings to your teeth, but enjoyable. When well cooked, it is rather crunchy with bubble surface, so it cracks when biting. It feels like eating chips or bisket.

How about Fat contain?

You might be afaid of fat contains in it. But you do not need to worry about it tha much. The grill pork skin is less fatty than your imagination. On the process of cooking, it loses most fat through oil drops beneath the grill. It means the fat melt away. It is an advantage of using grill in Korea. According to the new medias, the pigskin is rather protein than fat.
The researchers say that pig skin is high in Collagen that makes your skin smoother and elastic. It also helps adolescents growth. As a result, a number of korean women enjoy eating pig skin and parents give their children pigskin to make them taller.

Pig Skin Worldwide

At this point, I became wondering whether Korea is only country that eats pigskin. So, I just google it and found some interesting facts. There also exist several food varieties of pig skin around the world. Mr.Wiki explains it in detail.

Pork rind
Pork rind (known and invented in the United Kingdom as pork scratchings, as a room-temperature snack, or crackling, served hot as part of a meal, and in Australia and New Zealand as pork crackle/crackling), is the fried or roasted skin (rind) of a pig. Frying melts most of the fat from the pork rind.

United Kingdom & United States eat Pig SKin?

It was also surpiring to me that other cultures do comsume pigskin as food. They also cook the almost same way we do. Fry. So, I tried to figure out which countries have similar tastes with Korea.

United Kingdom
Pork crackling is the British name for the salted, crunchy, pork rind produced when roasting a joint of pork. The heat of the oven causes the fatty pork skin to dry, bubble up and become crunchy. The layer of fat underneath is retained, and can be eaten with the skin or removed. Some supermarkets now sell just the layer of skin and fat (no meat), in a raw form for home grilling or roasting, or cooked and ready to eat from hot food counters. Pork scratchings is the British name for deep-fried, salted, crunchy pork rind with fat produced separately from the meat. This is then eaten cold.

 United States
Pork rinds from the American company UtzCracklings is the American name for fried or roasted skins of pigs, geese or other animals. Pieces of fried meat, skin, or membrane produced as a byproduct of rendering lard are also called cracklings. Cracklings consist of either roasted or fried pork rind that has had salt rubbed into it and scored with a sharp knife: "a crackling offers a square of skin that cracks when you bite into it, giving way to a little pocket of hot fat and a salty layer of pork meat."

Now you are ready to try!

Enjoy tasty Pig Skin here in Korea!

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Creamer : Instant coffee cream : Frima in Korea

 I want it.
 Mom always keeps me from drinking coffee, because mom thinks caffeine in it curbs my growth. I heard of it many times from school and TV, so I know, I know. My friends are also prohibited from drinking coffee by their parents. To me, however, whether I grow well or not is not a matter.

Why children may not drink it, and why adults may? It seems like the symbol of an adult. I want to be an adult and get freedom.

The dark drink allowed only to adults. It will be my target tonight.

                                                                                       a diary of mine in 1995


I think I just wanted to obtain the emblem of adultness by drinking coffee. I was not fond of that bitterness of coffee, of course, as a child, I could not bear the medicine-like taste at all.

I had my secret coffee recipes with optimal ratio of coffee, Frima, and sugar. I heard when adults order coffee, they said something like 2, 2, 2. I knew it means the number of spoon of each ingredient.

I sometimes sneaked into the kitchen at night and made my own coffee without making any noise. I would get grounded if my parents caught me. I made it very quietly not to awake them. As I was instructed, I put two flat spoons of instant coffee and two hill or mountain-like spoons of Frima and sugar. I appreciate heavenly sweet coffee and I was proud of myself entering into the adult life. I indulged in that sweety coffee that I made.

The other day
, I felt curiosity about the taste of Frima itself. I just scooped out one spoon of Frima and put it into my mouth. It was like powdered milk, but it has something more. Good enough. I just fell in love with this white powder. It was kind of addictive.

Every now and then, I would devour spoons of if at night noiselessly not to let my parents recognize it. I didn't want to get in trouble with my bad behavior midnight.

I didn't stop gulping my private night snack until Frima was all gone. Mom noticed that Frima disappeared suddenly, but she didn't buy it anymore. I couldn't ask her to buy it, either.

Nowadays, I recall my memories involved in that dark drink, drinking a cup of americano.
Frankly speaking, I think I fancied ‘Frima’, powdered coffee creamer.



What is Frima?

Frima is a non-dairy creamer.
To simply say, a Korean version of Coffee-Mate. 

Non-dairy creamers are liquid or granular substances intended to substitute for milk or cream as an additive to coffee or other beverages. The first commercial powdered creamer was “Pream”, first marketed in 1952 and made from dehydrated cream and sugar. It had the problem of not dissolving easily because of the protein in the milk. Six years later, in 1958, the Carnation Company developed a product that easily dissolved in hot liquid because it replaced most of the milk protein with dried vegetable oil. The new product was marketed under the Carnation label with the brand name "Coffee-Mate". Then, Frima is invented in 1974 by a Korean coffee company, Dongsuh.


True or False ? 
Non-dairy creamer contains Much fat, even trans-fat.

One year ago, there appeared a rumor. It is said to have a lot of fat, even trans-fat, and cholesterol. Consumers agitated by this rumor wondering if it is true or not. They worried and didn't want to take risk eating them. As the situation worsens, the company, Dongsuh, tried to convince the health-safeness of non-dairy creamer.


It says that

1. In terms of fat contains

‘3~4g of creamer is in a cup of coffee. If we suppose that we drink 3 cups of coffee, we intake 9~12g of creamer. It means just 2.7~3.6g of fat a day, and it’s not much.’

2. In terms of calories

1 serving(4.7g)
Calories : 25kcal
Carbohydrate 2.7g, Protein 0g, fat 1.6g(saturated fat1.6g), Trans-fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 5mg

It has just 25kcal per serving. It equals to a half tomato, a half morning bread, a half walnut. It’s consumed by 12minutes of walking. 

I know it is not the best choice to drink instant coffee with creamer in it vegetable fat will harm my body. I’d rather replace creamer for milk for my health. I heard of it many times from magagines and TV, so I know, I know.

In spite of that, creamer’s addictive taste hinders me from quitting. It drags me to put up spoonful of creamers into my cup. It smooths bitterness, sourness and astringent taste of coffee. Which hauls me to it, its fatty flavor or its nostalgic memory? Difficult to answer.

I Just want it.



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Korean Food : New Year Culture, Rice Cake Pasta Soup at Home

When I was young, I wanted to grow quicker to be an adult, so I ate it two or even three bowls to get older. Will you eat it, if you gain one more year through it?

No or Yes?

You might not believe even the existence of it. But it exists in Korea. When you eat this food, you will get one year older. Do you want to know what food it is?


rice cake soup

 This is it. You might have seen it somewhere, or already eaten it. This food is called ‘tteok guk’ in Korean meaning rice cake pasta soup. This is the korean traditional new year food.

When do korean eat rice cake pasta soup?

We eat rice caken pasta soup twice a year; the solar new year day and lunar(chinese) new year day. The solar calendar new year is the 1st of January, most people know, while the lunar new year day is around the beginning of February. The lunar new year day changes every year as the lunar calendar changes.

Technically, we eat rice cake pasta soup on the lunar new year day, because we used to use the lunar calendar at the time we celebrated it. However, people started to eat it at the 1st of January as well, as the profound meaning of eating this soup is commemorating the new year, and then it became a tradition.  


The particular type of rice cake : Bar rice cake

We make rice cake pasta soup only with a particular type of rice cake. That is bar rice cake, called ‘Garae ddeok’ in Korean. It is long thick-strip like super-thick spaghetti with diameter of 3cm.

This bar rice cake embrace two implicit meanings.

Firstly, bar rice cake symbolizes the purity and hope for longevity. Its pure white color  signifies the new start with new clear mind. Like its long shape, we wish our long life expectancy.

Secondly, bar rice cake also implies the desire for wealth. As it comes along out from the machine, money hopefully comes ceaselessly out to eaters. On the other hand, it is sliced while cooking and served. It looks like just like a coin, that was only currency in the past. We just hope to be richer eating this money-shaped food.

The Strange Expression to Say hello at The new year.

As I mentioned on the head, you gain one year when you eat rice cake pasta soup. It leads to the unique and strange expression to say hello at the new year.

We often ask, “Have you eaten rice cake soup pasta this year?” meaning happy new year. We also ask “How many rice cake pasta soup have you eaten since born?” meaning “How old are you?”.


I am not like the child as I was, who ate two or three bowls of rice cake pasta soup. I’ve been old enough as a grown up. Yes, I think I had enough. I shouldn’t eat it anymore, but it’s so delicious that I cannot resist it.

Do you want to get older, or want to avoid eating it? I ascertain that you cannot help eating it when you look at the hot bowl with chewy rice cake in its mysterious white soup.

              Happy New Year !

                                                and... Try Rice Cake Pasta Soup This New year.

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Korean Food : The Most Popular Fruit : Do Koreans Eat a Box?

Do Koreans eat a mandarine box?
Yes, that’ right, but it’s metaphor.


Koreans eat a box of the mandarine every winter. According to the Korean agriculture institute, the mandarine is announced as the No.1 consumption per capital with the record of 15.4kg per person. It follows with the apple with 9.9kg and asian pear with 8.0kg. There is the huge consumption gap from the no.2, apple. The more surprising fact is that it occurs only in winter, the limited season.

When Koreans buy mandarines from the supermarket, we don’t buy few kilograms of the plastic bag. We usually buy a 10kg of box or order a heavy box through the internet. Then, we enjoy mandarines as they want.

Korean often says that I ate one box of mandarine for few days and my fingers turned yellow. we eat the huge amount of mandarine just peeling them by hands. We don't cook or use them in the dish. We eat them just raw and fresh. As peeling it with their finger, the juice of it colors all finger-tips and nails. Some people time to time show off their hand to friends as if they want to prove their saying.

Koreans love to eat mandarines.

When you come to Korean in winter,
you should lie on the floor peeling mandarines,
                                                   and dye your fingers with yellow.



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At Christmas, Healthy Dessert with Rice : Cake Recipe.

christmas tree


I wish you
a Merry Christmas!

When you think of the christmas dining table,

You eat firstly appetizers and fresh salad.
It follows to christmas turkey, or chicken with wine or soft drinks,

In the end sweet cake with tea or coffee please us.

chocolate cake

You cannot separate christmas dessert from your happy christmas time.

Some cakes are baked by home, but others are sold by bakeries. It happens in Korea as well. Bakeries are busy selling christmas cake on christmas season.

However, as you know, cake contains high volume of sugar and fat. It certainly delights your tongue but not your body.

In Korea, some housewives, particularly who are interested in health, found the alternative for sugarly cake. They don’t want to get fatter and their children to be obese, either.

Mothers replace wheat flour with rice flour.

Rice is the staple in Korea, so it is not expensive compared to wheat flour. It is easy to buy from any stores. There exist various information and knowledge about rice from their mom as well as medias. They can develop new recipes based upon their experience. They know what food goes well or bad with rice. That is why rice substitue for flour in making cake.

Rice cake is more nutritious than flour cake. You should think wheat flour is as nourishing as rice flour. It is true that nutritional facts of two are not that much different. However, when other ingredients such as sugar and butter add to wheat flour cake, its status is not the same with rice cake.

Rice cake is made up of rice powder, water(sometimes substituted with milk), small amount of sugar and salt. It doesn't have much sugar or butter. Depending on your tastes, you can put a variety of natural ingredients including sweet potatoes, pumpkins, strawberries, beans and so on. You can add whatever you want if it satisfy your palettes. Later, I will recommend some certain food mostly used by Korean rice cake bakers.

Two Ways to Have Rice cake.

1. From Home baking

             Pumpkin Rice Cake

Ingredients : rice powder 800 g, pumpkin (cooked) 200 g, sugar 1/2 cup, salt 1 ts 

< Making Mixture >
1. Smash the pumpkin to mix with rice flour.
2. Mix rice flour and smashed pumpkin.
(You can see small pieces of flour cluster due to pumpkin moisture.)

3. Sift the mixture twice. The more throughly sift, the more cake smooth.
(After sifting, you can see egg-yolk yellow color of powder.)
4. Add sugar depending on your tastes.
(Sugar doesn't play less important role in rice cake than in wheat cake, so add sugar as much as you want. Consider the sweetness of pumpkin, and put less.)

< Preparing Steaming >
5. Pour water into steamer.
6. Spead the wet cloth on the rack of the steamer
7. Place the 18cm~20cm cake ring on the wet cloth the steamer.
8. Put the mixture into the ring. 
(You'd better put it above the rim so that you easily clear the top.)
9. Top off and make the surface flat using the scaper.
10. Decorate the top with garnishes such as nut, almond, or some pumpkin pieces.

< Steaming >
11. Close the lid of steamer and boil it with high heat for 25minutes
12. Turn down to low heat(or just turn off) with the lid closed for 5 minutes

13. Cool down and Enjoy with the tea or coffee.

* You can change the flavor exchanging pumpkin for other ingredients
(such as sweet potatoes, blueberries, chocolate, coffee, green tea and so on.)

2. From Rice cake Bakery.

You can get it whether you buy the rice cake from the rice cake specialized bakery or buy the pre-mixed rice cake powder and bake it at home.

rice cake
rice cake mix

I will link some of the rice cake bakery websites in Korea.
Unfortunately, they are written in Korean. You can order it just in Korea.

If you stay in other parts of the world, you should make it home!
You can have some ideas from those linked sites.
It's kinda simple proceses and eay to cook. You can try baking it.

Merry Christmas !

I hope you enjoy Healthy Christmas with Rice Cake!


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Korean Tea : Citrus tea. Yuzu tea. Yuja cha.

At the end of November, yuzu ripens yellow.
It is the time to prepare for winter with yuzu.

The yuzu (Citrus ichangensis × C. reticulata, formerly C. junos Siebold ex. Tanaka; Japanese ユズ, 柚, 柚子 (yuzu); 유자 (yuja) in Korean; from Chinese 柚子, yòuzi) is a citrus fruit and plant originating in East Asia. It is believed to be a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda. The fruit looks a bit like a very small grapefruit with an uneven skin, and can be either yellow or green depending on the degree of ripeness. Yuzu fruits, which are very aromatic, typically range between 5.5 and 7.5 cm in diameter, but can be as large as a grapefruit (up to 10 cm or larger).

You caught a cold in winter?

Drink Citrus tea!
(I would calll it as yuzu tea and Yujacha, 유자차 as well)

About 10 years ago, when I caught a cold in winter, my grandma made me Citrus tea at home. She herself made marmalade-like Citrus syrup in her kitchen. She put a spoonful of yuja syrup in the mug, added hot water, and stirred it slowly until the syrup got well mixed. Handing over the mug to me, she always said that Citrus tea(Yujacha) would help you get better. She explained that thanks to high contain of vitamin C, it worked as a traditional remedy for cold for long. Holding the cup of citrus tea made by my grandma, I sipped up the warmness of tea and her love. I felt as if I recovered from cold right after drinking it. It was just because I truly believe in her saying.

Now, grown up, when I catch a cold in winter, I myself make citrus tea at home. I buy a glass-bottled citrus syrup in the supermarket. I put a spoonful of syrup in the mug, add medium-hot water, and stir it rapidly so that the syrup get mixed quickly. (too lazy to await even water boiling time) I frequently hear that Yujacha will help people get better. I also read several articles about nutritional facts. They always appreciates the wonderful health effects by vitamin C. Holding the cup of citrus tea well-produced by a citrus tea company, I sip up the tastes of tea, but no love. I think as if it didn’t have the same effect on me as before. It is just because it seems to have less effect without love from the one who prepares for me.

citrus tea

Simple way to make Citrus tea.

Ingredients : Citrus(yuzu) 2kg (only rind 700kg), organic sugar 700g

1. Linse the yuzu throughly.

2. Remove the flesh. (Incise it without hurting the flesh, so that you can keep the uncut flesh, and use it on other dishes.)
3. Slice the rind very thin.

4. Mix the sliced rind with organic sugar. (Leave some for top covering.)
5. To presever yuzu syrup longer, you can add 100ml liquor such as soju.
6. Put them in the sealed food container.(such as lock&lock)
7. Top the syrup with remained sugar.

8. Cover the cap and keep it in the cool place or fridge for 2 weeks.

It is done to prepare the citrus tea syrup.
After 2 weeks you can just mix it with hot water and enjoy sweet winter tea.

This winter,

                 Why don’t you make Citrus tea for the person you love? 

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