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What are some Korean table manners?


Korean cuisine is a world-renowned cuisine that is known for its unique flavors and healthy ingredients. Equally important to the taste of Korean dishes is the way they are consumed. Korean table manners are deeply ingrained in their culture, and their etiquette is essential to any meal. In this article, we will explore some of the most important Korean table manners and their significance.

Use of Chopsticks

The use of chopsticks is one of the most important Korean table manners. When using chopsticks, it is essential to hold them correctly, with the thicker end at the bottom and the thinner end at the top. Additionally, it is considered impolite to use chopsticks to point, wave, or spear food. It is also considered rude to leave your chopsticks standing upright in your rice bowl.

Drinking Etiquette

Drinking etiquette holds great significance in Korean culture. It is customary to pour drinks for others before pouring for oneself. When pouring drinks, it is polite to hold the bottle or pitcher with both hands and pour with your right hand. It is also customary to use two hands when receiving a drink from someone older or of higher status than you.

Using Spoons

In addition to chopsticks, spoons are also used in Korean cuisine. When using a spoon, it is important not to slurp or make noise while eating. It is also considered impolite to place your spoon in your mouth entirely; instead, only the tip should enter your mouth.


Bowing is another essential aspect of Korean table manners. When greeting someone or showing appreciation for a meal, it is customary to bow slightly. The degree of bowing depends on the formality of the occasion and the status of the person you are bowing to.

Sharing Food

In Korean culture, sharing food is a common practice. When sharing food, it is essential to use serving utensils instead of your chopsticks or spoon. It is also customary to serve others before serving yourself.

Declining Food

When offered food, it is considered impolite to decline. However, if you must decline, it is polite to do so with a reason, such as being full or having dietary restrictions.

Talking While Eating

Talking while eating is discouraged in Korean culture. It is considered impolite to talk with a full mouth or make loud noises while consuming food.

Finishing the Meal

When finishing a meal, it is customary to leave a small amount of food on your plate as a sign of appreciation for the meal. It is also polite to offer to help clear the table and wash dishes.

Chewing with Mouth Closed

Chewing with your mouth closed is an essential aspect of Korean table manners. It is considered impolite to chew loudly or with your mouth open.

Use of Napkins

Using napkins is essential in Korean table manners. It is customary to place the napkin on your lap before eating and use it to wipe your mouth after taking bites.

Paying for the Meal

In Korean culture, paying for the meal is often an act of respect and appreciation. It is customary for the older or more senior person at the table to pay for the meal.


Korean table manners are an integral part of their culture and are deeply ingrained in their way of life. By following these customs, you can show respect and appreciation towards your hosts and fellow diners. Whether you are dining in Korea or at a Korean restaurant, it is essential to understand and observe these table manners to enjoy an authentic Korean dining experience.

What are 3 eating habits in Korea?

The K-diet is a type of Korean cuisine that typically consists of cooked rice, soup, and several side dishes called banchan. A serving of this diet is referred to as babsang and always includes kimchi. The diet emphasizes a high intake of vegetables, moderate to high consumption of legumes and fish, and limited intake of red meat.

What is unhealthy table manners?

Loud eating sounds like smacking, crunching, and slurping are not considered good manners at the table. It’s always best to eat as quietly as possible and avoid making any unnecessary noises, including tapping your fingers or clinking your cutlery against plates or glasses.

What are some examples of rude behavior in Korea?

Actions that are considered rude in your own culture are likely to be viewed as impolite in Korea as well. Examples of such behavior include spitting, shouting, physical violence, using profanity, and behaving in a disruptive manner.

Is it OK to kiss in public in South Korea?

Public displays of affection, such as kissing, are frowned upon by older generations in South Korea and seen as inappropriate. While younger adults may be more accepting, this behavior is still discouraged by older individuals. Additionally, it is important to dress well in South Korea as a sign of respect.

What do Koreans do to show respect?

In Korean culture, showing respect to senior individuals involves bowing as a form of greeting. The junior person initiates the bow by leaning forward at an angle of 30 to 45 degrees. The senior person then acknowledges the bow with a less pronounced bow of their own.

Do Koreans brush after eating?

In Korea, the recommended tooth brushing method for the general public is the 3-3-3 campaign, which focuses on the frequency and duration of brushing. This means brushing teeth three times a day, within three minutes after eating, for at least three minutes each time.

Sharing Dishes

Korean cuisine is known for its communal dining style, where multiple dishes are served and shared among the diners. When sharing dishes, it is polite to wait for everyone to be served before beginning to eat. It is also customary to take smaller portions of each dish to ensure that there is enough food for everyone.

Use of Toothpicks

After finishing a meal, toothpicks may be offered as a courtesy. However, it is important to use toothpicks discreetly and not in front of others as it can be considered impolite.

Respecting Elders

Respect for elders is an essential part of Korean culture, and this extends to the dining table. It is customary to wait for the eldest person at the table to begin eating before starting your meal. Additionally, it is polite to offer food or pour drinks for elders before serving yourself.

Seating Arrangements

In formal Korean dining settings, seating arrangements are based on hierarchy and status. The most senior or respected person is seated at the head of the table, with others seated accordingly in order of importance.

Covering Mouth When Coughing or Sneezing

Covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing is an important aspect of Korean table manners. It shows respect for those around you and helps prevent the spread of germs.

Leaving Shoes at the Door

In Korean culture, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a traditional Korean restaurant. This helps keep the floors clean and shows respect for the host’s property.

Using Condiments

Korean cuisine often includes condiments such as kimchi, soy sauce, and gochujang (red pepper paste). When using condiments, it is polite to take small portions and not to waste any food.

Finishing All the Food

In Korean culture, wasting food is considered disrespectful. It is polite to finish all the food on your plate, but if you cannot, it is customary to leave a small amount as a sign of appreciation for the meal.

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