Words and Phrases: The Language of Dining

I love to eat. I especially love to eat Korean food. So I thought I’d share some Korean phrases that are used at meal times. As with all of the Words and Phrases posts, the pronunciation included in parenthesis is romanized to approximate how the word is said, not how it would correctly be romanized into English.

Are you hungry?         배고파요?            (Bae go pah yo?)
(The above can be said as a statement “I am hungry” by not adding a rise in intonation at the end.)

Let’s eat.                            먹자                         (Moke ga)

Before eating:             잘 먹겠습니다.          (Jal moke get sum nida)
Literally this means “I will eat very well,” but it implies “Thank you for preparing the food. I appreciate you preparing this food.”

After eating:           잘 먹었습니다.  (Jal moke got sum nida) (The “got” is pronounced more like “go” with a “t.”)
Literally this means “I ate very well,” but again it implies “It was really good. Thank you so much for the food.”

Give me ____, please.     _______ 주세요   (joo say yo)
(For this one, you’d say whatever it is you want then “joo say yo.” For example, if you wanted kimchi, you’d say “Kimchi, joo say yo.”)

It’s delicious.               맛이 있어요      (Ma shee suh yo.)
(This is another that can be said either as a statement or a question, depending your intonation.)

Of course it’s much easier to hear these phrases pronounced. So I’ve found a couple of Web sites where you can hear them. LearnKorean.com has “Are you hungry?,” “Give me, please,” and “It’s delicious.” You’ll find them under the Korean for Fun tab, Food Phrases. And you’ll find the pronunciations of “I will eat well” and “I ate well” at www.koreanphrasesshow.com/2009/03/7-at-dining-table-in-korea.html.

One other note: You would use 잘 먹겠습니다 (Jal moke get sum nida) and잘 먹었습니다 (Jal moke got sum nida) to thank those who are cooking for you or buying you a meal. It’s especially important for children to use these terms at meal times.


6 thoughts on “Words and Phrases: The Language of Dining

  1. I was just wondering, would you use 잘 먹었습니다 at a restaurant or if you order food or is it only if you know the chef?

    • My understanding is that you would say this to the person paying for the meal if you are at a restaurant, unless you know the restaurant owners or chef well.

    • If you are telling someone to eat (like, “try to eat this”) it is: 먹어라 (mawk aw rah)

      This is basically a polite way to tell someone younger than yourself to try something to eat. You can also say it with the 라, which makes it more impolite.

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