Food Culture in South Korea

There must be a lot of tourists to South Korea who have listed South Korean food as an important part of plans for travel. From well-known kimchi, barbecue, bibimbap, kimbap to the well-known raw beef, sauce crab, and various hot pots and soups, which are strongly interested in tourists to South Korea. South Korea has its own national characteristics in eating habits and etiquettes. Learn about South Korean food culture makes you better enjoy South Korean food. How to learn about South Korean food culture?  Knowing cuisine features, eating habits and eating etiquettes of South Korea makes you better understand the food culture in South Korea.

Budae Jjigae


What are the features of South Korean food?

What are the characteristics of South Korean cuisine? Your answer maybe enhances physical strength, spicy or good for beauty. So, what are the features of South Korean daily diets?

1. The staple food is rice.

Similar to China, the most basic food in South Korean food is rice. In the food culture of South Korea, rice is the main food, supplemented by meat, fish and vegetable side dishes to maintain a balanced diet. South Korean rice is close to rice in Northeast China, has a high viscosity and is delicious. It is used to make steamed rice, porridge and fried rice. In addition to rice, pasta made from grains such as wheat or buckwheat also has an important place in the diet of South Koreans.

2. Use a lot of spices such as chili, onion, ginger, garlic and vegetables

Many South Korean dishes look hot and spicy, and the one that plays an important role is chili. Raw chili, paprika, etc. are all spices that are often used in cooking. In addition, the use of a lot of spices such as garlic and ginger is also a major feature of Korean cuisine. Perhaps from the high consumption of South Korean garlic, it can be seen that South Korean cuisine helps to strengthen physical strength.

3. Essential of soybean food for seasoning

In South Korea, soy sauce and soybean fermented food are widely used as basic seasonings. Soybean is used as raw material, and fermented foods include chili sauce made of chili powder, etc.


4. Good food is good medicine.

Traditional medicine in South Korea has developed on the basis of ancient Chinese medicine. “Good food is good medicine” is one of the important viewpoints that South Korean medicine has always advocated for the purpose of improving its own healing ability. In modern South Korean cuisine, there are many medicinal dishes based on this viewpoint and dishes made with South Korean ingredients.

5. The side dishes can be added free of charge!

After ordering food in a South Korean restaurant, the clerk will send a variety of side dishes such as kimchi and side dishes. Unlike in some countries, these side dishes are all free! In addition, you can add side dishes with unlimited times. This is originated from the habit of South Koreans think that they should provide rich ingredients for the guests.


What are the eating habits in South Korea?

1. Chopsticks and spoons should be placed vertically.

When dining in South Korea, stainless steel chopsticks and spoons are generally used. The method of placing is elaborate. They should be placed vertically on the right side of the food. Moreover, the chopsticks are placed on the right side and the spoon is placed on the left side.

2. Rice and soup dishes are served with spoons. Side dishes are served with chopsticks.

In South Korea, when eating rice, soup dishes, kimchi, etc., you should use a spoon. When eating a side dish without soup, you should use chopsticks. When using one of the chopsticks and the spoon, placing the other on the dinner table is basic etiquette. During the meal, when chopsticks are not used, it is taboo to put chopsticks on the utensils.

Korea Barbecue

3. Place the bowl on the table when you eat, don't hold it by hand.

Perhaps because South Korean tableware is mostly stainless steel products with fast heat transfer, South Koreans form a habit of not eating the bowl by hand when they dine, but placing the bowl on the dinner table and eating it with a spoon. Especially the seniors have a strong sense of this consciousness. The modern younger generation sometimes takes the rice bowl in the hand because the food is far away or it is not convenient to eat.


What are the etiquettes of food culture in South Korea?

Before traveling to South Korea, knowing some basic South Korean dining rituals will not appear to be out of place at the Korean food table and you can better enjoy the food of South Korea. Enjoy South Korean cuisine in accordance with Korean dining etiquette, which will definitely make your trip to Korea perfect!

1. Start a meal from the older

In South Korea, where Confucianism is deeply rooted, there is a habit of respecting the elderly in daily life. When dining with the elderly, you must wait for the senior to start eating before you start. It is impolite to smoke and drink unfettered at the same table if there is elderly. When drinking, you can't face the seniors drinking. You should turn your face and body to the side and use your left hand to cover the glass with a little drink.


2. Don't use shared chopsticks

It is common to eat together in South Korea, especially for South Korean soups. Most South Koreans use their own spoons to drink directly from the soup. Some people may feel that this is unsanitary, but this is the food culture in South Korea.

3. Drinking culture in South Korea

South Korean drinking culture is very popular. So, drinking with South Koreans is common. Pay attention to some etiquette of drinking, like when the other people's glass is empty, it is basic courtesy to take the initiative to pour the alcohol for the other people. Remember that you must not just pour alcohol for yourself. It is very impolite.


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