Chungdam Restaurant


 Traditionally, Korean food is not served in courses, but instead is placed on the table simultaneously. There is no set order to eat the food, just your personal preference. There are usually several communal dishes or sometimes you have only your own bowl of rice and soup, with everyone sharing the main course. The food is not passed around the table. Since everything is on the table, the guest eats rice with whatever side dishes he wants.

 The main dish is almost always accompanied by rice, soup, kimchi and several side dishes. Koreans eat their rice and soup with a spoon (which was reportedly first invented by the Koreans), and side dishes and the main course with chopsticks. Chopsticks may be wooden or metal.

 Use the spoon for rice and the chopsticks for side dishes, but you can ask for forks or knives at restaurants. Do not stir your rice or your soup. Do not leave the spoon or chopsticks in the rice as it symbolizes their use by the dead. Knives are used only in the preparation of food, not as eating utensils because Korean food is either pre-cut into bite-sized pieces or is soft enough to be pulled apart using chopsticks.

 Dessert nearly always consists of fresh fruit. Foods of any kind should not be picked up with your fingers. Fruit is eaten in slices with forks.

 In old days conversation is discouraged while eating but this custom is changing among new generation.

 Also, do not blow your nose when anyone is present, especially if eating.

• Hot and watery foods are placed on the right side and cold and dry foods are placed on the left side.
• The rice bowl is on the left, and soup bowl is on the right, with other bowls placed in the middle.
• The spoon is on the right side and chop sticks are behind the spoon and placed a little towards the outside of the table.
Place kimchi dishes in the back row, stew dishes on the right, sauces in the middle of the front row, meat dishes on the right side, and vegetables on the left side.

• Do not hold the spoon and chopsticks together in one hand.
• Do not suck the chopsticks and do not hold spoon and chopsticks at the same time.
• When using chopsticks, place the spoon on the table.
• The spoon and chopsticks should not rest on any bowl or dish during the meal.
Use spoon for rice and watery foods and chopsticks for other side dishes.




1. Place one chopstick inside of thumb and reach to 4th finger.
2. Place the other chopstick between the index finger and middle finger and hold by pressing with
   your thumb.
3. Freely move chopsticks by pressing thumb and only using your index and middle fingers.

1. The eldest person present begins eating first.
2. Chopsticks should not be left in the rice or soup bowl during or after the meal.
3. The rice or soup bowl should not be held in one's hands while eating.
4. The hand and arms should not be placed on the table while eating.
5. One should not tear food into pieces using fingers.
6. One must remain at the table until the last person has finished eating.

• At first, taste soup or kimchi juice, and then try rice or other dishes. Use spoon for rice and liquid foods,
   such as stews or soups; use chopsticks for other foods.
• Do not make noises with spoon or chopsticks hitting the rice bowl or other food containers.
• Do not hold the rice bowl or soup bowl in your hand during the meal.
• Do not poke around the rice or side dishes with the spoon.
• Do not pick out what you don't like or shake off seasonings.
• Do not leave any trace of food on the spoon while eating.
• During the meal, uneatable parts such as bones or fish bones are quietly discarded by wrapping them
   in a paper so that others won't see them. Do not put them on the table or floor.
• When coughing or sneezing during a meal, face the other way from table and cover your mouth
   with your hand or napkin.
• Eat the rice and side dishes from one side.
• Do not use your hands to pick the foods.
• Chew food with your closed mouth and do not make noises while chewing.
• Do not leave the table while eating.
• Do not reach across the table for distant food- ask a nearby person to pass it to you.
• Use an individual plate for foods served for a crowd, and also for sauces such as soy & vinegar sauce
   or sweet & sour hot pepper soybean paste.
• Try to keep pace with others by eating not too fast or too slow. When having a meal with the elderly,
   wait for them to put the spoon and chopsticks on the table at the end of the meal.
• At the end of the meal, pour sungnyung (boiled water in the rice cooker or scorched-rice tea) into
   the rice bowl and drink.
• After a meal, put the spoon and chopsticks on the spot where they were placed first and put used
   napkins on the table after folding it little bit if they are big.

When using a toothpick, cover your mouth with one hand and discard it the toothpick afterwards so others won't see it.

• The space farthest away from the entrance door is the best spot, so reserve it for the elderly.
• When having a meal with the elderly, wait for the elders to hold their spoon first and keep pace
   with them.
• Sit with your body in an upright, straight position.
• When the elderly person is getting up after finishing the meal, get up together.
If you finished the meal before the elderly, place the spoon in the rice bowl or sungnyung bowl and when the elderly person has finished the meal, place it on the table.

 According to Koreans, the principle of drinking is to think of human beings first and form better relationships for the purpose of harmony. The bottom line is to invigorate good human relationships with appropriate manners. Consider these manners when drinking:

-Prepare the right amount of drinks and foods.
-Prepare guests' own dishes and bowls so they can take their own food.
-You can pass your cup around, but you should wash it with clean water. In the past, people passed their cups around with alcohol in it. These days, however, an empty cup is passed.
-When you pass along the cup, do not pressure people to drink more than 2 drinks to not give pressure to those who cannot drink much.
-Those who cannot drink should pass along the cup to the next person after they bow.
-When a cup is empty, you should ask the person if he/she wants more and then fill it up for the person.
-When drinking, drink openly. Ask younger people or students to serve drinks in order for them to learn the right drinking manner.
-When treated with drinks, you should return the favor later.
-When the eldest person finishes drinking, every one else should finish as well.
-You should deliver thank you comments the next day after drinking.
-When an acquaintance comes, you can suggest at least one shot of drink.
-The most important seat in drinking is the inner side from the door and center position. The designation of seats is usually dependent upon the host or the eldest person.
-Prepare clean water with drinks for cleaning cups.
-When you talk, put down your cup or anything in your hands.
-There are no customs such as cheomjan (pouring alcohol in a cup before the cup gets empty). You should wait until a person's cup is empty before refilling it.
-It is considered impolite to make people pour their own drinks.


 In Korea, the proper amount of alcohol to drink is described as "il bul, sam so, o ui, chil gwa" , meaning "don't stop with one glass, 3 glasses lacks, 5 glasses is proper, and 7 glasses is over drinking."

 In traditional Korea, when an elderly person is offering alcohol, the received should stand up and proceed and take the glass with both hands after bowing. When the elderly person has stopped pouring, the receiver can drink after re-taking his/her seat. Do not drink before the elder person raises the glass and do not decline the glass that the elder person is offering.

 In modern days, most people just get up to kneel and take the glass courteously with both hands.


 The most respected spot at a Korean drinking table is usually the place on an ondol floor nearest to the fireplace or the place where you can sit against a wall and view the entrance door. If you are drinking with a person older than you, have them sit at this spot.


 Offering alcohol At the drinking table, offer alcohol to elderly first. The person pouring the alcohol should pour with both hands in courteous manner. Hold the alcohol bottle with the right hand, place the left hand lightly under the right arm and be careful to keep the sleeve and lower end of clothes out of the food and drink.

 In the olden days, traditional Korean drinking customs dictated that after receiving the first glass and drink, the person was supposed to kneel and offer back to elderly the glass of alcohol again in the empty glass from which he just drank. But these days, for sanitary purposes, this custom has declined because of the fear of spreading diseases such as hepatitis.

 As time goes on, other customs are also changing. These days most people keep their own glass and offer just offer the alcohol to others. So, in the case when someone returns the alcohol in the same glass, the person needs to ask permission first before offering alcohol in the same glass the person received. In this case, turn the glass upside down to empty completely any remaining drink and offer that glass of alcohol right away without eating any side dishes. Always offer the glass in the right hand.

Even if person does not love to drink, it is courteous manner to drink at least the first glass when you attend a drinking round so as not to ruin the drinking mood.