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What time is dinner in Korea?


In Korea, meal times are an important part of the country’s culture. Dinner, in particular, is a time where families and friends come together to eat and socialize. In this article, we will explore what time dinner is in Korea and how it differs from other cultures.

Cultural Importance of Dinner in Korea

Dinner is a significant meal in Korean culture as it is seen as a time for bonding and socializing. Koreans often sit on the floor around low tables called ‘choban’ and share dishes. It is also customary to have several courses during dinner, ranging from soup to grilled meat.

Traditional Dinner Time in Korea

The traditional dinner time in Korea is 6 pm. However, this can vary depending on the region and family traditions. Some families may choose to eat later or earlier depending on their schedule or personal preference.

Modern Dinner Time in Korea

With changing lifestyles and work schedules, dinner time in Korea has become more flexible. Many people now eat later due to work commitments or social activities. It is not uncommon for people to have dinner as late as 9 pm.

What Influences Dinner Time in Korea?

Several factors influence the dinner time in Korea, including work schedules, school schedules, and personal preferences. Many people choose to have dinner after work, while others prefer to wait until their children finish school.

Dinner Etiquette in Korea

There are several etiquette rules that should be followed during dinner in Korea. For example, it is polite to wait for the eldest person at the table to begin eating before starting yourself. Also, it is customary to pour drinks for others at the table before pouring your own.

Popular Korean Dinner Dishes

Korean cuisine has gained popularity worldwide, and many Korean dishes have become household names. Some of the most popular Korean dinner dishes include bulgogi (grilled marinated beef), bibimbap (rice mixed with vegetables and meat), and kimchi jjigae (spicy kimchi stew).

Regional Variations in Dinner Time

While 6 pm is the traditional dinner time in Korea, there are regional variations. For example, in Jeolla-do province, dinner is often served earlier due to the region’s farming culture. In Seoul, dinner is often eaten later due to the busy city lifestyle.

Influence of Western Culture on Korean Dinner Time

With the rise of globalization, Western culture has influenced dinner time in Korea. Many young Koreans now prefer to eat later and have adopted a more relaxed approach to meal times.

Changes in Dinner Time Due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected meal times in Korea as it has in many other countries. With many people working from home, dinner time has become more flexible, and people are now eating at different times than before.


In conclusion, dinner time in Korea has a cultural significance that goes beyond just eating. It is a time for bonding and socializing with family and friends. While traditional dinner time is 6 pm, it has become more flexible due to changing lifestyles and work schedules. However, regardless of the time, dinner in Korea remains an essential part of the country’s culture.


1. Lee, K. (2019). The Social Significance of Meal Time: A Comparative Study between Korea and Japan. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research, 7(1), 1-11.
2. Kim, J., & Chung, Y. (2019). Mealtime experience and family satisfaction in Korean families. Journal of Family Studies, 25(3), 271-287.
3. Choi, J., & Jun, J. (2020). How COVID-19 Changed Korean People’s Eating Behaviors: An Analysis of Nationwide Big Data. Foods, 9(7), 935.

How many times do Koreans eat a day?

In Korean culture, there is no differentiation between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so it is common to consume rice three times daily. Along with individual bowls of rice, a serving of soup may also be served. Hot pots, which are more dense and salty, are placed in the center of the table for communal sharing.

What time do Koreans eat breakfast?

There is no specific time for breakfast in Korea, but many Koreans typically eat their morning meal sometime between 8 AM and noon. It’s common to have a hot beverage like coffee or tea before eating breakfast.

What time do Koreans stop eating?

Most people have lunch between 12:00 noon and 2:00pm, with many opting to eat out and grab a quick bite, like Korean pancakes, Chinese food, or a bowl of noodles. Dinner, on the other hand, is typically consumed between 6:00pm and 8:00pm.

What is a normal dinner in Korea?

A standard Korean meal includes rice, soup or stew, and various side dishes to complement the main course. However, there is immense diversity within this basic framework, with a plethora of dishes available to suit every taste and season.

Why do Koreans eat so many eggs?

In Korea, eggs are considered a healthy food and are commonly consumed as hard-boiled breakfasts, in lunchboxes, or as a convenient snack. Historically, eggs were a luxury item for peasants and were primarily reserved for children and the head of the household.

Do Koreans talk during dinner?

In Korea, there is a tradition during feasts with friends, family, or colleagues where the youngest member of the group is expected to give a brief speech. This is different from the typical “cheers” found in other parts of the world.

Korean Dining Culture

Korean dining culture is not just about the food, but also about the experience of eating together. It is common for Koreans to share food and dishes, and for everyone to have their own bowl of rice. Koreans also use chopsticks and spoons to eat and share dishes, which adds to the communal aspect of dining.

Family Dinners in Korea

In Korea, family dinners are an important part of the family unit. It is a time for parents to connect with their children and for siblings to bond with each other. Family dinners are often prepared at home, with the whole family helping out in the kitchen. This tradition is still prevalent in many Korean households.

Dining Out in Korea

While dining out was not as common in the past, it has become increasingly popular in modern times. In Korea, there are many restaurants that specialize in different types of cuisine, from Korean BBQ to Chinese food. There are also many street food vendors that offer a variety of snacks and meals.

Drinking Culture in Korea

Koreans often enjoy alcoholic beverages during dinner, especially with friends or coworkers after work. Popular drinks include beer, soju (a type of Korean liquor), and makgeolli (a traditional rice wine). Drinking games are also common during these occasions, adding to the fun and social atmosphere.

Dinner Time Rituals

In traditional Korean culture, there are several rituals associated with dinner time. For example, before eating, Koreans will often say “jal meokkesseumnida” which means “let’s eat well.” After dinner, it is customary to say “jal jinaess-eoyo,” which means “I ate well.” These phrases reflect the importance of gratitude and respect for food and dining experiences.


In conclusion, dinner time in Korea is a significant part of the country’s culture. It is a time for bonding and socializing with family and friends. While traditional dinner time is 6 pm, it has become more flexible due to changing lifestyles and work schedules. Korean dining culture emphasizes the communal aspect of eating, with sharing dishes and using chopsticks and spoons. Whether eating at home or dining out, Koreans value the experience of eating together with loved ones.

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