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What does Korean says before eating?


In Korean culture, mealtime is an important aspect of socializing and bonding with friends and family. Many traditions and customs are associated with mealtime, including the use of specific phrases before eating. These phrases reflect the values of respect and gratitude that are highly valued in Korean society.

The Meaning Behind Korean Phrases Before Eating

Before diving into the specific phrases used before eating, it’s essential to understand the meaning behind them. Generally, these phrases express gratitude for the food and respect for the people who prepared it. Additionally, they reinforce social bonds and emphasize the importance of sharing meals with others.

“Jal Meokkessumnida” (잘 먹겠습니다)

One of the most common phrases used before eating in Korea is “jal meokkessumnida,” which translates to “I will eat well.” This phrase reflects a sense of gratitude for the food and a commitment to savoring every bite. It’s often used in formal settings, such as business meetings or formal dinners.

“Sae Song Sae Sangeul” (새송새상을)

Another popular phrase used before eating is “sae song sae sangeul,” which means “let’s start with a new life.” This phrase emphasizes the idea of starting fresh at every meal and taking advantage of each chance to nourish oneself.

“Jal Meokgo Sipsseumnida” (잘 먹고 싶습니다)

“Jal meokgo sipsseumnida” translates to “I want to eat well.” This phrase expresses a sense of anticipation and excitement for the meal ahead. It’s often used by children or younger people who are looking forward to a delicious meal.

“Chal Meogeosseumnida” (잘 먹었습니다)

After finishing a meal, it’s customary to use the phrase “chal meogeosseumnida,” which means “I ate well.” This phrase expresses gratitude for the food and appreciation for the people who prepared it.

The Importance of Sharing Meals in Korean Culture

In Korean culture, sharing meals is an essential aspect of socializing and building relationships. Whether it’s a family dinner or a business lunch, meals provide an opportunity to connect with others and strengthen bonds.

The Role of Food in Korean Culture

Food holds a special place in Korean culture, reflecting the country’s rich history and diverse geography. From spicy kimchi to savory bulgogi, Korean cuisine is known for its bold flavors and unique ingredients. Eating together is a way to share this cultural heritage and celebrate the country’s culinary traditions.

The Connection Between Language and Culture

The phrases used before eating in Korean culture reflect the values and traditions that are important to Koreans. By understanding these phrases, we can gain insight into the deeper meanings behind mealtime customs and appreciate the cultural richness they represent.


In conclusion, the phrases used before eating in Korean culture reflect the importance of gratitude, respect, and social connection. Whether it’s a formal business meeting or a family dinner at home, these phrases remind us of the value of sharing meals with others and savoring every bite. By embracing these customs, we can deepen our understanding of Korean culture and connect with others on a deeper level.

Do Koreans say grace before eating?

The phrase ‘Jal-mukkes-seub-nida’ translates to ‘I will eat well’ or ‘I will enjoy this meal’ and is a courteous way of expressing gratitude towards both the meal and the person who prepared it. It is similar to saying grace, ‘Bon appetit’, ‘Itadakimasu’ in Japanese, or thanking someone for the food.

What is Itadakimasu in Korean?

If you are comfortable with your Korean language skills, you can use the phrase ‘jal meokkessumnida(잘 먹겠습니다)’ before starting a meal, which is similar to the Japanese phrase ‘itadakimasu’. This phrase can be roughly translated as ‘I will eat well’.

What Korean says when they eat?

Before starting a meal, you may hear Koreans say 맛있게 드세요 (ma-sit-kke deu-se-yo), which directly translates to “Please eat deliciously,” but is commonly used to mean “Please enjoy your food.” This phrase is similar to the French expression “Bon Appetit.”

What do Koreans say before taking a drink?

In Korea, the term “geonbae” translates to “empty glass” and is used similarly to the expression “bottoms up” in the United States. Although it suggests finishing the entire drink during a toast, it is not mandatory.

How do you ask for food in Korean?

When asking for food in Korean, it is more effective to use direct language. Instead of saying “please can I have a bowl of noodles?” like in English, you can simply say the item you want followed by “ju-se-yo / 주세요”. For instance, to request water, you can say “mul ju-se-yo / 물 주세요”.

Is it rude to not say itadakimasu?

It is important to say “itadakimasu” before a meal and “gochisousama deshita” after a meal in Japanese culture, as not saying it can be seen as impolite. While foreigners may have some leniency, it is still appreciated. By using these phrases, you can exhibit good manners at Japanese tables.

Furthermore, the act of sharing a meal in Korean culture is seen as a way to show hospitality and generosity. It is common for hosts to prepare more food than necessary to ensure that their guests feel welcomed and well-fed. Guests are expected to show appreciation for the meal by using the appropriate phrases before and after eating.

Korean cuisine has also become increasingly popular around the world in recent years, leading to an increase in interest in Korean culture and language. Learning these phrases not only shows respect for Korean culture but also provides an opportunity to connect with others who share an interest in Korean cuisine and traditions.

Moreover, food plays a significant role in Korean society, not just during mealtime but also in other aspects of life. For example, certain foods are believed to have medicinal properties and are used to treat various ailments. Food is also used to celebrate important events such as weddings and holidays.

In conclusion, the phrases used before eating in Korean culture reflect the values and traditions that are deeply ingrained in Korean society. These phrases show gratitude for the food, respect for those who prepared it, and a commitment to connecting with others over a shared meal. By understanding these customs, we can appreciate the cultural richness they represent and deepen our understanding of Korean language and culture.

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