Korean Table Manners (조엘쇼)

The list of Korean Table manners to follow is a long one. Can you follow them all?


General Table Manners
  • At first, taste soup or kimchi juice, and then try rice or other dishes. Use spoon for rice and liquid foods, such as stews or soups; use chopsticks for other foods.
  • Do not make noises with spoon or chopsticks hitting the rice bowl or other food containers.
  • Do not hold the rice bowl or soup bowl in your hand during the meal.
  • Do not poke around the rice or side dishes with the spoon.
  • Do not pick out what you don’t like or shake off seasonings.
  • Do not leave any trace of food on the spoon while eating.
  • During the meal, uneatable parts such as bones or fish bones are quietly discarded by wrapping them in a paper so that others won’t see them. Do not put them on the table or floor.
  • When coughing or sneezing during a meal, face the other way from table and cover your mouth with your hand or napkin.
  • Eat the rice and side dishes from one side.
  • Do not use your hands to pick the foods.
  • Chew food with your closed mouth and do not make noises while chewing.
  • Do not leave the table while eating.
  • Do not read a book or newspaper or watch TV while eating.
  • Do not reach across the table for distant food- ask a nearby person to pass it to you.
  • Use an individual plate for foods served for a crowd, and also for sauces such as soy & vinegar sauce or sweet & sour hot pepper soybean paste.
  • Try to keep pace with others by eating not too fast or too slow. When having a meal with the elderly, wait for them to put the spoon and chopsticks on the table at the end of the meal.
  • At the end of the meal, pour sungnyung (boiled water in the rice cooker or scorched-rice tea) into the rice bowl and drink.
  • After a meal, put the spoon and chopsticks on the spot where they were placed first and put used napkins on the table after folding it little bit if they are big.
  • When using a toothpick, cover your mouth with one hand and discard it the toothpick afterwards so others won’t see it.

  Dinning with elderly people
  • The space farthest away from the entrance door is the best spot, so reserve it for the elderly.
  • When having a meal with the elderly, wait for the elders to hold their spoon first and keep pace with them.
  • Sit with your body in an upright, straight position.
  • When the elderly person is getting up after finishing the meal, get up together.
  • If you finished the meal before the elderly, place the spoon in the rice bowl or sungnyung bowl and when the elderly person has finished the meal, place it on the table.



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