Lunch at Bibimbar is simple and delicious. There are no fancy rules to building your Fresh Korean Mixing Bowl . . . except maybe taking too long to decide what super healthy options you are going to include in your creation!

Fancy rules aside, if you’re planning a trip to Korea or have the opportunity to dine at the home of a Korean family, here are a few tips to impress.

korean-meal

  • First and foremost – Kimchi is culture. Koreans love it and eat it with every meal – usually on the side – though they also use it as an ingredient in countless other dishes. Kimchi is symbolic of Korean culture: it’s strong, distinctive, and defiant.
  • When entering a Korean home, remove your shoes. To not do so is a sign of great disrespect.
  • Rather than pouring their own drinks, Koreans pour for one another. It is poor etiquette to pour your own drink.
  • Koreans traditionally use chopsticks and a large spoon as their main utensils. They eat rice with the spoon. And they never raise the rice bowl off of the table towards their mouths.
  • Never stick chopsticks or spoons in a bowl of rice – this is done only during ancestral memorial services.
  • When dining in a restaurant, it is polite for one person to pay the entire bill. It will often be the person who is older or higher level/title (as in a work setting) to the rest of the group.
  • No tipping required. That includes restaurants and delivery people. In most hotels, tips are included in the bill. Who doesn’t love this one!
  • When dining with Koreans, refrain from blowing your nose (even if its running from the spicy food) or coughing.
  • Finally, Korea is a drinking culture, and their national drink of choice is soju, a clear, vodka-like drink. Soju is drunk out of shot glasses, and like all liquor in Korea, it’s always served with food. soju

With that said, gather your friends around the table with some delicious Korean food and raise your glass of soju.

Geonbae! (cheers)