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What are bad table manners in Korea?


Bad table manners can be a deal-breaker in any country, and Korea is no exception. Koreans pay great attention to etiquette and manners, especially when it comes to dining. Knowing the dos and don’ts of Korean table manners can help avoid embarrassment and make a good impression. In this article, we will explore some of the bad table manners in Korea that visitors should avoid.

Not Using Chopsticks Properly

Using chopsticks is a common practice in Korea, and it is important to use them properly. Holding chopsticks incorrectly or crossing them is considered impolite. It is also considered bad manners to leave chopsticks standing upright in a bowl of rice or pointing them at other people while eating.

Scooping Rice with a Spoon

Rice is a staple food in Korea, and it is usually eaten with chopsticks. Using a spoon to scoop rice is considered bad manners because it implies that the rice is not good enough to be picked up with chopsticks. It is better to practice using chopsticks than to resort to using a spoon.

Blowing Your Nose at the Table

Blowing your nose at the table is considered bad manners in Korea. It is better to excuse yourself and go to the restroom to blow your nose rather than doing it at the table. If you must blow your nose at the table, do so quietly and discreetly.

Talking with Your Mouth Full

Talking with your mouth full is considered rude and unappetizing in Korea. It is better to swallow your food before speaking or wait for an appropriate break in the conversation.

Leaving Food on Your Plate

Leaving food on your plate in Korea can be seen as wasteful and disrespectful. It is better to take only what you can eat and finish everything on your plate. If you cannot finish the food, it is polite to ask for a smaller portion next time.

Grabbing Food with Your Hands

Grabbing food with your hands is considered bad manners in Korea, especially when dining with others. It is better to use chopsticks or a spoon to pick up food.

Reaching Across the Table

Reaching across the table to grab something is considered impolite in Korea. It is better to ask someone to pass the item or wait until it is closer to you.

Starting to Eat Before Elders

In Korea, it is customary to wait for elders to start eating before beginning your meal. It is also considered respectful to pour drinks for elders before pouring for yourself.

Burping or Farting at the Table

Burping or farting at the table is considered bad manners in Korea. It is better to excuse yourself and go to the restroom if you need to release gas.

Not Using a Napkin

Not using a napkin while eating can be seen as unhygienic and disrespectful in Korea. It is better to use a napkin, tissue, or handkerchief to wipe your mouth and hands.

Using Your Phone at the Table

Using your phone at the table can be considered impolite and distracting in Korea. It is better to put your phone away or turn it off during meals and engage in conversation with others.

Not Offering to Pay or Split the Bill

Not offering to pay or split the bill after a meal can be seen as rude in Korea. It is customary for the person who invited others to pay, but it is polite to offer to pay or split the bill if dining with friends.

What are table manners in Korean culture?

To show respect in Korean culture, it is proper etiquette to use both hands when passing bowls, glasses, or dishes. Additionally, it is considered impolite to refill your own drink, particularly when it comes to alcohol. It is customary to pour for others at the table and allow them to refill yours as well.

What are some examples of rude behavior in Korea?

If a behavior is considered impolite in your culture, it is most likely impolite in Korea as well. This includes actions like spitting, yelling, hitting others, using curse words, and any other obnoxious behaviors.

Is it rude to put your elbows on the table in Korea?

It is considered impolite to rest your elbow on the table, particularly when dining with older individuals or those who are your elders.

Is slurping rude in Korea?

In Korean culture, it is often viewed as a compliment to the chef to slurp or belch while eating. Additionally, tipping is not customary in Korea.

What Korean says before eating?

The phrase “jal meokgetseumnida” is a Korean tradition where people express their gratitude to the person who prepared the food before they start eating. It’s a way of saying “thank you for making this meal, I am grateful and will enjoy it because of you.”

What is considered inappropriate clothing in Korea?

In South Korea, short shorts and skirts are commonly worn by women in major cities, but revealing tops with low-cut necklines and exposed shoulders are still seen as inappropriate in many places. During hot summers, loose-fitting t-shirts are a comfortable and acceptable alternative to tank tops.

Using a Loud Voice

Using a loud voice while eating can be considered impolite and disruptive in Korea. It is better to speak softly and avoid shouting or yelling, especially in public places.

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol during meals can be seen as disrespectful in Korea. It is better to drink in moderation and follow the pace of others at the table. It is also polite to pour drinks for others before pouring for yourself.

Not Removing Your Shoes

In Korea, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home, including restaurants with traditional floor seating. Not removing your shoes can be considered rude and unclean.

Placing Your Chopsticks on the Table

Placing your chopsticks on the table is considered bad manners in Korea. It is better to place them on a chopstick rest or use a tissue or wrapper to hold them if a rest is not available.

Not Using Two Hands to Pour Drinks

When pouring drinks for others, it is customary to use both hands as a sign of respect in Korea. Not using two hands can be seen as impolite and disrespectful.

Not Waiting for Everyone to Be Served

In Korea, it is polite to wait for everyone to be served before starting to eat. Not waiting can be seen as selfish and disrespectful towards others at the table.

Not Acknowledging the Cook or Host

It is customary in Korea to acknowledge the cook or host after the meal by saying “jal meokgesseumnida” (잘 먹겠습니다) which means “I will eat well” or “gamsahamnida” (감사합니다) which means “thank you.” Not acknowledging them can be seen as impolite and ungrateful.

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