중앙데일리

Early bird specialists

A hearty meal before 7 p.m., finger foods later

Oct 12,2003
The following is a tip on traditional Korean language and customs in response to a query from a Ms. Pears, who wrote to us from Seoul:

Q. Ms. Pears:
I was surprised when a Korean colleague invited me for dinner at 6 p.m., but I didn’t know him well, so I just agreed. As it turned out, nearly every Korean person I’ve met ate dinner early, sometimes even 5 p.m.! I’ve noticed that many restaurants close down by 8 p.m., but I know Koreans don’t necessarily go to sleep early. Does that mean Koreans don’t enjoy dining at late hours? I’m planning to invite some Koreans to my home next month, so I’d like to know the cultural rules here.

A. IHT-JAD:
Koreans do eat dinner early, but that doesn’t mean that they do not enjoy dining later at night. As long as they have had a filling meal before 7 p.m., they are happy. Their preferred “real meal” consists of steamed rice, soup, kimchi and spicy side dishes, even if the main dishes are non-Korean. After that, they like to go out to drink at a bar that serves side dishes. Popular side dishes that Koreans enjoy while drinking vary, from roasted peanuts to assorted fruits to glazed fried chicken.


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