Ultrabook Project: Korean Table Manners
While visiting Seoul, will.i.am and the crew from the Ultrabook Project were immersed in the culture and the traditions of Korea. Although they were there for only four days, they learned a lot about this amazing country. One of the more interesting things they learned was in some of the subtle, and not so subtle, differences in table manners. When invited to dinner, good manners are, of course, expected. However, you may not know what “good manners” are in a Korean home.
Here are just a few tips to get you through the meal: If setting the table or serving…
- The best spot at the table is reserved for the eldest guest, typically the spot farthest away from the door
- Hot and watery foods go the right while cold and dry foods go on the left.
- The spoon goes on the right, with the chopsticks behind it
- It is polite to say that you look forward to eating; in Korean, “Jalmukesumneda” or “I will eat well”
- Do not pick up your spoon before an elder does first; that is when the meal begins
- Taste the soup or kimchi juice before trying any other dishes
- The spoon is only used for rice and liquid foods; the chopsticks for everything else
- Be careful not to make noises by hitting your spoon or chopsticks on the bowls or plates
- Never hold a rice or soup bowl in your hand
- Never…ever blow your nose at the table
- If you don’t like something, leave it on the plate, never pick it out or try to shake off the spices
- Trying to eat at the same pace as everyone else, especially any elders.
- The meal ends when an elder places their spoon and chopsticks on the table After the meal…
- Place the spoon and chopsticks back on the right and fold the napkins before putting on the table
- When an elderly person begins to get up from the table, get up together. While traveling the world, will.i.am and the crew from the Ultrabook Projectwere exposed to a lot of cultural differences. In your cultural background, what are some of your customs that might be considered usual in the US?