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How long is lunch break in Korea?


In this article, we will be discussing the length of lunch breaks in Korea. Lunch is an important part of the day, not only for nourishment but also for socialization and relaxation. Understanding the cultural norms around lunchtime can help you better navigate professional and social situations while in Korea.

Korean Meal Culture

Korean meal culture places a high value on communal dining experiences. Meals are often shared family-style, with many dishes placed in the center of the table for all to enjoy. Lunchtime in Korea is no different, and it is common for coworkers and friends to go out for lunch together. This emphasis on communal dining plays a role in the length of lunch breaks.

Typical Lunchtime Duration

In Korea, lunch breaks typically last one hour. This gives workers enough time to leave their office or workplace, find a restaurant or café, order their food, eat their meal, and return to work within the allotted time.

Flexibility in Lunch Breaks

While one hour is the standard length of a lunch break in Korea, there is some flexibility depending on the workplace or industry. Some companies may allow longer lunch breaks or staggered lunchtimes to accommodate different schedules.

Lunch Break Etiquette

In Korea, it is considered polite to invite others to join you for lunch if you are going out to eat. Additionally, it is customary to wait until everyone at the table has received their food before starting to eat. It is also important to clean up after yourself and leave the restaurant or café as tidy as possible.

Types of Lunch Spots

There are many different types of restaurants and cafes in Korea that are popular for lunch. Some popular options include Korean barbecue restaurants, noodle shops, rice bowl restaurants, and fast food chains.

Common Lunch Foods

Korean cuisine is known for its variety of flavors and ingredients, and lunchtime is no exception. Some common lunch foods in Korea include bibimbap (a rice bowl with assorted vegetables and meat), kimbap (a type of sushi roll), bulgogi (grilled marinated beef), and jjajangmyeon (a noodle dish with black bean sauce).

Packed Lunches

While going out to eat for lunch is common in Korea, some people may also choose to bring their own packed lunches from home. This could include leftovers from dinner the night before or a sandwich and fruit.

Lunchtime Vendors

Another option for lunch in Korea is to visit one of the many street vendors that set up during the day. These vendors may sell anything from grilled meats to fried snacks, and can be found throughout the city.

Lunch Break Activities

In addition to eating lunch, many Koreans also use their lunch break as a time to run errands or engage in other activities. This could include shopping, taking a walk, or even visiting a nearby museum or park.

The Importance of Lunchtime

Lunchtime is an important part of the day in Korea, not only for nourishment but also for socialization and relaxation. Taking a break from work or school can help improve productivity and mental health, making it an essential part of the day.


In conclusion, lunch breaks in Korea typically last one hour and are an important part of the day for both nourishment and socialization. Understanding the cultural norms around lunchtime can help you better navigate professional and social situations while in Korea. Whether you choose to dine out with coworkers or bring your own packed lunch from home, taking a break during the day is essential for your well-being.

How long is school lunch break in Korea?

In the school calendar, classes last for 50 minutes and there is a morning break and a 50-minute lunch period.

What time is lunch break in South Korea?

At 12pm, many Koreans typically become restless and desire to have lunch, resulting in the entire Korean staff leaving the office until 1pm. A common evening outing in Korea usually comprises four phases, beginning with dinner.

What are normal working hours in Korea?

In South Korea, the maximum work week allowed by law is 52 hours, which includes 40 hours of regular work and 12 hours of overtime. The Democratic Party, while in power in 2018, introduced this policy.

What time do Koreans stop eating?

Typically, people have lunch between the hours of 12:00 noon and 2:00pm. Often, people opt to eat out and choose from quick options like noodles, Korean pancakes, or Chinese food. Dinner is usually consumed between the hours of 6:00pm and 8:00pm.

Do Koreans have 15 hours of school?

South Korea’s education system is renowned for producing high-achieving students, but it comes with significant demands. Students typically spend about 12 to 16 hours a day at school or at an after-school academy called a hagwon.

What country has the longest school day?

According to the Pew Research Center, primary school students in Russia spend approximately half the amount of time in school per year compared to their American counterparts. The research estimates that Russian students attend school for 470 hours each year, while 35 American states require 990 hours of classroom time.

Changes in Lunch Culture Due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant changes to lunch culture in Korea, as it has in many other parts of the world. With social distancing measures in place, many people are choosing to bring their own lunch from home rather than going out to eat. Additionally, some restaurants have shifted to offering takeout or delivery options instead of dine-in service.

The Future of Lunchtime in Korea

As with many aspects of life, it is unclear what the future holds for lunch culture in Korea. While communal dining experiences will likely remain an important part of Korean culture, the pandemic may have a lasting impact on how and where people choose to eat their lunch. It is possible that more people will opt for packed lunches or takeout and delivery options in the coming years. Only time will tell how lunchtime in Korea will continue to evolve.

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