Korean Table Etiquette

Korean Table Etiquette

Ingredients

  • General Table Manners
  • Dining with Elderly People
  • Table Rules
  • How to Use Chopsticks & Spoon

Directions

  1. General Table Manners
    At first, taste soup or kimchi juice, then try rice or other dishes. Use a spoon for rice and liquid foods, such as stews or soups but 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, or into your arm at the elbow.
    Eat the rice and side dishes from one side.
    Do not use your hands to pick the food.
    Chew food with your closed mouth and do not make noises while chewing.
    Do not leave the table while chewing.
    Do not read a book or newspaper or watch TV while eating.
    Do not reach across the table for food - ask a nearby person to pass it to you.
    Use an individual plate for foods served for a crowd, and also for sauces and condiments.
    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.
    Dining 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.
    Table Rules
    Hot and watery foods are placed on the right side and cold and dry foods are placed on the left side.
    The rice bowl is on the left, and soup bowl is on the right, with other bowls placed in the middle.
    The spoon is on the right side and chop sticks are behind the spoon and placed a little towards the outside of the table.
    Place kimchi dishes in the back row, stew dishes on the right, sauces in the middle of the front row, meat dishes on the right side, and vegetables on the left side.
    How to Use Chopsticks & Spoon
    Do not hold the spoon and chopsticks together in one hand.
    Do not suck the chopsticks and do not hold spoon and chopsticks at the same time.
    When using chopsticks, place the spoon on the table.
    The spoon and chopsticks should not rest on any bowl or dish during the meal.
    Use spoon for rice and watery foods and chopsticks for other side dishes.
    1. Right way to use spoon:
    2. How to use chopstics:
    Place one chopstick inside of thumb and reach to 4th finger.
    Place the other chopstick between the index finger and middle finger and hold by pressing with your thumb.
    Freely move chopsticks by pressing thumb and only using your index and middle fingers.