Politeness is very important in Korean culture and there is a lot of emphases placed on sharing meals and drinks. Although some of the older traditions have relaxed in recent years, this list of Korean table manners includes etiquette still in use today. You will probably find that Korean dining etiquette isn’t all that different from what you’re used to. Learning a few extra steps helps you to be a great guest.

 

1.Wait to be seated

Wait for the oldest person/people to sit down first before you take a seat at the table. The honored guest who is also usually the oldest person takes the seat of honor farthest from the door.

 

2.Before you begin

Before you eat, especially at someone’s home, it’s polite to say that you are looking forward to the meal. In Korean, people say Jalmukesumneda (I will eat well).

 

3.Beginning the meal

Wait for the oldest person/people to lift their spoon or chopsticks first before you start eating. Don’t worry it won’t take long.

 

4.During the meal

Don’t blow your nose at the table. This is considered extremely rude. If you need to use a tissue simply excuse yourself to another room. While this may seem excessive to some cultures it does help prevent the spread of germs.

 
5.Don’t rush or linger

Try to eat at the same pace as everyone else, especially the elders. This helps to make the meal more enjoyable for everyone.

 
6.Soup and rice bowls

During the meal, don’t hold the bowl of soup or rice (as you might do in other Asian countries like China or Japan). In Korea, bowls are left on the table while eating.

 

7.Double dipping
Korean meals have many communal side dishes you should treat them the same way you would food at a cocktail party. Make sure that you take enough for yourself while ensuring there’s enough for others. Try not to touch food if you don’t intend to eat it.

 
8.Refilling your glass
Always pour drinks for others first, especially for those senior to you. If your neighbor’s glass is half empty that is when you would customarily refill it. This also means that it is your neighbor’s job to keep your glass refilled as well.

 
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