usually eat rice, soup, and three to four dishes including
the Kimchi. From each person’s left are arranged rice,
soup, spoon and chopsticks, while stews and side dishes are
placed in the center to be shared by all members.
Koreans use a spoon to eat rice, soup, and stews and chopsticks
for rather dry side dishes, but spoon and chopsticks are not
used simultaneously. Koreans also do not hold their bowls
and plates while eating. When the meal is over, the spoon
and chopsticks are placed back on the table.
Koreans generally believe that sharing food from one bowl
makes a relationship closer. Still, one who does not wish
to share the one-for-all dish can ask the host for an individual
bowl or plate. Today many Korean restaurants automatically
provide individual bowls and plates.
In the old days, talking was not allowed at the dinner table,
but today eating etiquette has become more liberal.
> Table Setting
Above is one example of Korean traditional table setting.
5-Cheop Bansang(5 Dish Table)
> Table Manner
- When having a meal with the
elderly, wait for the elders to hold their spoon first.
- Do not hold the spoon and chopsticks together in one hand.
When using chopsticks, the spoon is rested on the table.
Spoon and chopsticks are not rested on any bowl or dish.
Do not hold the rice bowl or soup bowl in the hand.
- At first, taste soup or kimchi juice, and then try rice
or other dishes. Use spoon for rice and foods with liquid
such as kimchi, stew, or soup; use chopsticks for other
- Do not make noises while eating and using spoon or chopsticks.
- Do not rummage rice or side dishes with spoon, and do
not pick out what you don't like or shake off seasonings.
- During a meal, uneatable parts such as bones or fish bones
are quietly discarded by wrapping them in a paper. Do not
put them on the table or floor.
- Try to keep pace with others by eating not too fast or
too slow. When having a meal with the elderly, wait for
them to put the spoon and chopsticks on the table at the
end of the meal.
- When using a toothpick, cover mouth with hand.