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.


Anyong ha se yo! Welcome to my blog dedicated to Korean culture for adoptive families.

Four years ago today my husband and I saw our son’s face for the first time. He was two and half months old with a head full of hair. That photo started our adoption journey. Today that little guy who was all peaceful looking in the photo is an energetic preschooler, who loves all things Korean.

We began incorporating our son’s birth culture into our family life even before we traveled to Korea to bring him home. My husband and I, who are not Korean, began learning the language and about Korean culture about two months into our adoption journey. Since our son’s been home, Korean language, food, and holidays have been a part of his life.

When we began our journey I couldn’t find a list or compilation of any kind to help adoptive families learn about Korean culture. So over the last four years, I’ve been compiling my own list. That’s what I’ll be sharing through this blog.

I plan to have a short post each day for the next year (maybe longer, we’ll see) with every day of the week dedicated to a certain topic. When the day is a holiday, the normal schedule will be interrupted and that day’s post will be dedicated to the holiday.

Here’s the schedule I’m hoping to keep:
Sunday- Food (including recipes, suggestions about cookbooks, etc.)
Monday- Places to See (including sites and travel tips)
Tuesday- Language (including words and phrases families can use, and Web sites that can help you learn)
Wednesday- Books (both fiction and nonfiction for adults and kids)
Thursday- Culture (things that are unique to Korea)
Friday- Television and Movies (again both for adults and children)
Saturday- Whatever Comes Up (including educational resources, other blogs, and anything that doesn’t seem to fit in the other categories)

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to try to answer them. Just post a comment and I’ll get back to you.

My prayer is that this blog becomes a resource for adoptive families, making it easier to delve into the Korean culture. We’re enjoying our journey and hope you enjoy following along.