Lesson 4: Saying and learning about Korean Restaurants and Table Manners
South Korea has many types of eating and drinking establishments. You will find excellent Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Western-style cuisine. Korean food is usually very spicy and hot, and garlic is a common ingredient. The cuisine is based on meat, poultry, and fish which can pose a problem for vegetarians. Korean food is not served in courses; instead, all the dishes are served at the same time. The stand meal is called Pek-ban. Koreans eat with spoons (rice and soup) and chopsticks (the word for chopsticks is Chutkgarak [Chuht-ga-rak]) made of wood, plastic, or metal. The following are different kinds of restaurants and how to say them followed by a description.
Resu-taw-rang---These restaurants serve Koreanized Western-style food.
Han-sheek-jeep---Restaurants specializing in Korean-style food. There are generally two types: Those that are large and luxurious and offer entertainment, private rooms, and hostess service-and those that just serve food at ordinary prices.
Choong-gook-jeep---Chinese restaurants, which can be popular and can be cheap.
Poon-sheek-jeep---Reasonably-priced fast-food restaurants, generally found around universities and other places where young people tend to hang out in large numbers.
Ta-bang---Coffee shops where coffee and software drinks are served. They all have music and are very popular with the young crowd.
Sool-jeep---A general term for bars or drinking houses, which are very popular.
Pa---Bar where drinks and snacks (Anjoo) are served. Most bars have hostesses, and you'll have to pay for their drinks, too.
Mek-joo-jeep---Beer hall. Serves beer and snacks. Some also offer live entertainment.
Loom-ssa-rawng---Litterally meaning "Room salon" they are like the Sool-jeep and have private rooms and hostesses. They are also very expensive.
Paw-jang Ma-cha---Tents which are set up in the evenings and serve drinks and food. These are very popular with Koreans.
In Korean homes and restaurants you will find chairs and tables as well as the traditional awndawl (heated floor) where you can sit on cushions. You will be expected to take off your shoes when entering an awndawl dining room. Bare feet, however, may be offensive to older people. Koreans respect their elders so wait for them to starting eating-and do not leave the table before they do. Korean food can be very hot and spicy, but remember not to blow your nose at the dinner table as it may cause offense (that pretty much would apply to any dinner table in the world ^_^). Also, do not leave your spoon or chopsticks in the rice bowl. When you use the spoon, put the chopsticks on the table.