In South Korea, It's Best Not To Raise Your Dishes At The Dining Table

Among the various culture shocks one may experience when traveling abroad, dining and restaurant etiquette may continually be among the most surprising. While you may be able to prepare for tipping culture, practice courteous greetings, and dress in expected attire, some dining etiquette rules can be more unexpected. Even the smallest gestures or requests may get you some confused or even offended stares, so being prepared for every culture's expectations is ideal.

For instance, in a couple of South American nations, Chile and Brazil, it is considered impolite to eat your food with your hands. Most everything is cut and enjoyed with cutlery. For finger food lovers, breaking this habit may be hard. If there's no table or chairs around, like in the case of grabbing some street food, using a napkin is better than going in with just your hands.

If you're across the ocean in Japan, one important etiquette rule to keep in mind is to not stick your chopsticks directly into your rice, making them stand upwards. This is a practice done at funerals and it's ill-mannered doing so at a restaurant. However, you may know that something that isn't frowned upon in Japan is slurping your noodles loudly. This is a sign of appreciation and that you're enjoying your food.

And, just like everywhere else, South Korea has their own set of etiquette rules you should get familiar with before dining out in the nation. Specifically, making sure you know how to handle your dish ware.

Resist drinking from your soup bowls

If you find yourself sitting at a ramen shop counter in Japan, it's considered polite to not only slurp your noodles, but also to drink the remaining broth straight from your bowl. However, if you're caught lifting your soup bowl to your mouth in South Korea, you will not be met with as many happy glances. You may feel it's more quick and efficient to slurp out the last remaining bits of soup, however, we suggest sticking to using your spoon to scoop out the remaining meal, as that is proper dining etiquette in Korea. 

Similar etiquette is also expected for rice bowls. When eating rice with chopsticks, it is common in many places to lift the bowl closer to your face so as to not continually drop rice everywhere. However, in Korea, spoons are used to eat rice instead. So, lifting a rice bowl is also considered bad manners. And, this also goes for all plates piled with food. No lifting, no matter the dish, is the best guideline to follow when it comes to dining out in Korea.

Hopefully you now feel confident sipping on your warm bugeoguk, kalguksumul naengmyeon, or another one of your favorite Korean dishes.