Dining Etiquette

Eating is an important part of the Korean culture. It’s a time to connect with people, but etiquette is extremely important. Here are a few things that you should or shouldn’t do in Korean dining.

* You should not sit, eat, or leave the table until the oldest person you are dining with has done so first.

* Before you eat, especially at someone’s home, its polite to say that you are looking forward to the meal. You’ll find how to say “I will eat well” in Tuesday’s (July 6) Food Words and Phrases post.

* Korean meals are traditionally eaten with a set of stainless steel chopsticks and a spoon. The spoon is used for soups/stews and rice dishes. The chopsticks are used for the main dishes and the side dishes.

* When finished with your meal, make sure your spoon is clean of food and return the chopsticks and spoon to the table where they were placed before the meal.

* Never leave your chopsticks or spoon sticking out of the rice bowl. This symbol is used during ancestral ceremonies to symbolize food for the dead.
* Never hold both spoon and chopsticks at the same time in the same hand. When using one utensil, place the other on the table next to your plate.
* Use both hands if you are passing a dish to someone or raising your glass to be refilled.
* In Korea, bowls are not raised off the table to be brought closer to your mouth. Instead, lean over the table closer to the bowl.
* Never blow or wipe your nose at the table. Excuse yourself to the restroom to take care of it.
If you’d like to know more about Korean dining etiquette check out the Korea Tourism site at www.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/FO/FO_EN_6_2_1.jsp

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