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How many meals do South Korean eat?


South Korea is known for its unique blend of traditional and modern culture, which is reflected in its cuisine. One aspect of South Korean food culture that has gained attention is the number of meals they consume in a day. This article will explore the different meals that South Koreans eat and why they have become an integral part of their food culture.

Breakdown of meals

South Koreans traditionally consume three main meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, there are also two smaller meals – brunch and supper – which are not as widely practiced. Brunch usually consists of light snacks or leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, while supper is another small meal served later in the evening.

Importance of breakfast

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day in South Korea, with many traditional dishes being served. The most popular dish is called Guk-ganjang Gyeranjjim, a steamed egg dish with soy sauce. Other popular choices include rice porridge (Juk), kimchi stew (Kimchi Jjigae), and seafood soup (Haemultang).

Lunchtime favorites

Lunch is often consumed outside of the home, with many people opting for quick and easy meals such as Bibimbap, a rice bowl topped with vegetables and meat, or Ramyeon, a Korean-style instant noodle dish. Another popular option is Samgyeopsal, grilled pork belly served with lettuce leaves and various dipping sauces.

Traditional dinners

Dinner is typically the largest meal of the day and consists of several side dishes served alongside rice and a main dish. Traditional Korean dishes such as Bulgogi (marinated grilled beef), Galbi-jjim (braised beef ribs), and Japchae (stir-fried glass noodles) are commonly served.

Snacks and street food

South Koreans love their snacks and street food, with many small dishes available throughout the day. Popular choices include Tteokbokki, a spicy rice cake dish, and Hotteok, a sweet pancake filled with brown sugar and nuts. Other options include Fried Chicken, Gimbap (Korean sushi), and Mandu (dumplings).

Drinking culture

South Korea has a strong drinking culture with many social events and gatherings centered around alcohol. Alongside drinking, there are often small bites of food served as well. These include Anju, which are dishes specifically designed to accompany alcohol such as fried chicken or dried squid.

Special occasions

Special occasions such as weddings or birthdays often involve elaborate feasts with multiple courses. These feasts may consist of several traditional dishes such as Jangeo Gui (grilled eel), Jjigae (stews), and Jeon (pancakes).

Fusion cuisine

With globalization and an influx of foreign cultures, South Korean cuisine has undergone a transformation in recent years. Fusion cuisine is now popular with many Korean-inspired dishes incorporating ingredients from other cultures such as cheese, pasta, or pizza.

Dietary restrictions

South Korea has a large Buddhist population who follow a vegetarian diet. Vegetarian options are widely available in restaurants, especially in cities like Seoul. However, it is important to note that many traditional dishes contain meat or seafood.

Health benefits

The South Korean diet is considered to be one of the healthiest in the world. Traditional dishes are often low in fat and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The inclusion of fermented foods such as kimchi also provides a good source of probiotics.


South Koreans take their food culture seriously, and the number of meals they consume each day is an integral part of this. From traditional dishes to fusion cuisine, South Korea has a diverse and flavorful food scene that is sure to satisfy any palate. Whether it’s a quick snack or an elaborate feast, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

How many meals does Korean eat a day?

In Korean culture, there is no distinction between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so it is common to eat rice three times a day. Meals may include individual bowls of rice and a single serving of soup. Hot pots, which are thicker and saltier, are often placed in the center of the table for communal sharing.

What are the average meal times in Korea?

Lunch is typically consumed during the midday hours of 12:00pm to 2:00pm, and many individuals opt to eat out and grab a fast snack or meal, such as Korean pancakes, Chinese cuisine, or a bowl of noodles. Dinner is usually eaten later in the day, between 6:00pm and 8:00pm, and often comprises a casual meat or fish dish accompanied by rice.

What are 3 eating habits in Korea?

The K-diet emphasizes eating lots of vegetables, moderate to high amounts of legumes and fish, while avoiding red meat. Banchan, a Korean side dish, is often seasoned with fermented soy products, medicinal herbs, and oils made from sesame or perilla.

Do Koreans eat rice 3 times a day?

Koreans have a belief that rice should be consumed during every meal of the day, which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Do Koreans eat rice at every meal?

In Korea, rice is the focal point of the entire meal. The dinner table is referred to as “bapsang,” which translates to “rice table,” because all the side dishes, soups, stews, meat, and fish are served to complement the bowl of rice. Although rice is enough to make a meal, it is incomplete without rice.

How late do Koreans eat dinner?

Koreans usually eat their meals early, with lunch typically served between noon and 1pm, and dinner starting at 6:30pm and ending by 8pm at the latest. A typical Korean meal consists of a main dish, such as rice or meat, accompanied by 8 to 10 side dishes.

South Korea’s food culture is not only about the meals themselves but also about the way they are presented and consumed. For example, many dishes are served family-style, with several side dishes and a main dish shared among the diners. This promotes a sense of community and sharing, which is an important aspect of South Korean culture.

In addition to the meals themselves, South Koreans also place a great deal of importance on the way they present their food. Dishes are often colorful and visually appealing, with a focus on balance and harmony. This is reflected in the way that traditional Korean dishes are designed, with each dish carefully chosen to complement the others on the table.

Another important aspect of South Korean food culture is the role that food plays in social interactions. Many social events, from business meetings to family gatherings, revolve around food. Sharing a meal together is seen as a way to strengthen relationships and build connections.

Finally, it’s worth noting that South Koreans take pride in their food culture and are eager to share it with others. There are many cooking classes and food tours available throughout the country, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about traditional Korean cuisine and experience it firsthand. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or simply curious about exploring new cultures, South Korea’s food scene is sure to impress.

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