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Know Your Cross-Cultural Etiquette: Korean Dining 101 Print E-mail
A lack of cross-cultural awareness can cause misunderstanding and misinterpretations, which may offense your host and give rise to negative repercussions personally or professionally.

To leave a positive impression, knowing and practicing the proper dining etiquette is an area you would not want to neglect.

In this article, we share with you six fundamental dining etiquette of the Koreans. Be sure to observe these the next time you dine with them.

  • Respect for the elders is very important in Korean culture. Make sure the eldest or most senior person is seated before you take your seat. Likewise, let the eldest person present begin eating first before you start.
  • Koreans never pick up their rice or soup bowls. They leave both the bowls on the table.
  • Koreans use spoons for the rice and soup while chopsticks are used for the side dishes.
  • When foods are served, many Koreans start with a small taste of soup before eating the other dishes in any order they wish.
  • Never pick up foods with your fingers. Even fruit is eaten in slices with forks.
  • It is customary for the restaurant or host to provide complimentary Panch'an, which are small side dishes. You do not have to eat all the side dishes as it is not considered rude to leave some side dishes untouched.

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