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What are the average meal times in Korea?

What are the average meal times in Korea?

South Korea is known for its unique cuisine, which has gained popularity all over the world. Korean food is not only delicious and healthy but also plays an essential role in their culture. Mealtime in Korea is not just about feeding; it’s a chance to socialize and connect with family and friends. In this article, we’ll explore the average meal times in Korea and what they entail.


The first meal of the day in Korea is breakfast, which is typically served between 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Korean breakfast usually consists of rice, soup or stew, one or two side dishes, and kimchi. Koreans believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so they make sure to start their day with a hearty meal.

Mid-morning Snack

Around 10:00 am, Koreans often enjoy a mid-morning snack called “yachae-gwa.” These are small, sweet treats made from vegetables, fruits, or nuts. They’re perfect for giving you an energy boost during the day.


Lunch is the most substantial meal of the day in Korea and usually takes place between 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. It typically includes rice, soup or stew, three to five side dishes, and kimchi. Korean lunch is a time for co-workers to gather and bond over food.

Afternoon Snack

Between 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Koreans often enjoy an afternoon snack called “tteok-bokki.” Tteok-bokki is a spicy rice cake dish that’s perfect for satisfying your cravings and giving you an energy boost during the day.


Dinner is served between 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm and is the last meal of the day. Korean dinner is similar to lunch and usually consists of rice, soup or stew, three to five side dishes, and kimchi. It’s a time for families to gather and catch up on their day.

Late-night Snack

For those who are still hungry after dinner, Koreans often enjoy a late-night snack called “soju.” Soju is a popular Korean alcoholic beverage that’s paired with food such as fried chicken, pizza, or noodles.

Street Food

Korea is famous for its street food, which is available all day long. Street food in Korea includes dishes such as tteok-bokki, kimbap, hotteok, and more. Koreans love snacking on street food while walking around or socializing with friends.

Special Occasions

Koreans have several special occasions throughout the year where they enjoy traditional foods. Chuseok, also known as Korean Thanksgiving, is a time where families gather and enjoy a feast of traditional dishes such as songpyeon, galbi-jjim, and japchae.

Delivery Services

In Korea, there are many delivery services that offer food delivery 24/7. These services deliver anything from pizza to Korean food right to your doorstep. Delivery services are popular among students and those who work late hours.


Buffets are becoming more popular in Korea, especially in hotels and restaurants. Buffets allow people to try various dishes at once and indulge in unlimited food. Korean buffets often include traditional dishes such as bulgogi, bibimbap, and more.


Koreans love their cafes, which offer a variety of food and drinks. Cafes in Korea often serve sandwiches, pastries, salads, and coffee. They’re perfect for a quick snack or a place to study or work.


As you can see, mealtime in Korea is not just about eating; it’s about connecting with others and enjoying delicious food. Koreans take pride in their cuisine and the traditions that come along with it. Whether it’s breakfast or a late-night snack, there’s always something delicious to enjoy in Korea.

How many times do Korean eat a day?

In Korean culture, there is no specific differentiation between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, resulting in a common practice of eating rice three times daily. Typically, individuals may consume a serving of soup alongside their rice, and hot pots, known as jjigae or jungol, are served in the middle of the table for communal sharing. These dishes tend to be thicker and saltier than individual servings.

What is a typical Korean meal setting?

In Korean households, it is customary to have a meal consisting of rice, soup, and three or four dishes. Therefore, a typical Korean table setting includes a bowl of steamed rice, a soup bowl, and utensils such as a spoon and chopsticks, arranged from left to right for each person. Korean meals are generally not served in separate courses.

What time do Koreans have breakfast?

There is no specific time for breakfast in Korea; it varies depending on personal preference. Typically, Koreans have breakfast between 8 AM and noon and may consume a hot beverage like coffee or tea beforehand.

How long is lunch in Korea?

Classes begin at 8:30 in the morning and are comprised of 45-minute lessons, separated by 10-minute breaks. Lunchtime is at 12:30 and lasts for one hour. Typically, middle and high school students have seven classes per day.

What time do Koreans stop eating?

Typically, lunch is consumed from 12:00 noon to 2:00pm and many individuals choose to eat out, opting for fast options like bowls of noodles, Korean pancakes, or Chinese cuisine. Dinner, on the other hand, is generally eaten between 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

Why Koreans are so healthy?

Koreans are known for being meticulous and disciplined when it comes to their meals and eating habits. They prioritize a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, but they are able to maintain a healthy weight by consuming everything in moderation. Regular exercise and avoiding overeating are also important components of their lifestyle.

Seasonal Foods

Korea has a variety of seasonal foods that are only available during certain times of the year. For example, in the winter, Koreans enjoy hot and spicy stews such as kimchi jjigae and budae jjigae. In the summer, they indulge in cold noodle dishes such as naengmyeon and bibim guksu. Koreans also enjoy seasonal fruits such as strawberries in the spring and persimmons in the fall.

Fast Food Chains

Fast food chains such as McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King are popular in Korea, especially among younger generations. These chains often offer menu items that cater to Korean tastes, such as bulgogi burgers and spicy chicken sandwiches. Fast food chains are also a convenient option for those who are on-the-go or have a busy schedule.

Vegan and Vegetarian Options

In recent years, there has been a growing demand for vegan and vegetarian options in Korea. Many restaurants now offer plant-based dishes such as bibimbap with tofu or mushroom bulgogi. There are also vegan and vegetarian cafes and grocery stores that cater to those with dietary restrictions.

Alcohol Culture

Koreans have a strong alcohol culture, with popular drinks such as soju, makgeolli, and beer. Alcohol is often consumed during social gatherings and is seen as a way to bond with others. It’s common for Koreans to drink with food, especially when eating meat dishes such as samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly).

Dining Etiquette

Koreans have specific dining etiquette that should be followed when dining with others. For example, it’s polite to wait for the oldest person or host to start eating before beginning to eat. It’s also important to use chopsticks properly and not to waste food. Koreans also often use their spoon to eat rice and soup together.

Celebratory Foods

There are certain foods that Koreans eat during special occasions or celebrations. For example, ddeokguk (rice cake soup) is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day, while jeon (pancake) is often served during the Lunar New Year. Koreans also enjoy eating fried chicken and beer on Christmas Eve.

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