Unlike dining traditions in other countries, where the food is served one course at a time, in the Korean tradition, all the dishes are served at once. Today, Koreans continue to follow some Confucian principles. Thus, showing respect for others, especially elders, is very important, and in the same spirit, etiquette is fundamental in a Korean meal, including expressions of gratitude to those who provided the meal.
Wait for the eldest person
Wait for the eldest person on the table to pick up his/her spoon before picking up yours.
Do not make noise
Do not place spoon covered with food in a dish shared with others. Do not pick up soup/rice bowl to drink directly from it. Do not make noise when chewing.
Do not leave the table while others are still eating. Place the spoon on top of the rice bowl and wait until others are finished. When everyone has finished eating, put the spoon down and leave the table.
SPOON AND CHOPSTICKS
In countries where rice is the staple food, chopsticks play a central role, while the spoon has a secondary function. However, in Korea, chopsticks and spoons share equal importance, especially given the vast number of soups and stews in Korean cuisine. Chopsticks are used for side dishes, while the spoon is for rice and watery foods. This pair also embodies the harmony of yin and yang, with the round-shaped spoon symbolizing the yang energy and the long chopsticks having yin energy.
HOW TO HOLD CHOPSTICKS
1. Place one chopstick on the crook of your thumb and index finger.
2. Place the other chopstick between your index and middle finger as you would hold a pen.
3. Use your index and middle fingers to move the tip of the top chopstick.
4. The bottom chopstick should remain relatively still.