A quick introduction to Korean barbecue

Around half of the population of South Korea reside within the Seoul Metropolitan Area, amassing to an incredible 25.6 million people. The eventful history and rich traditions of the country are ever present, despite the increasingly modern and advanced reputation, particularly of the city of Seoul.

One of the most prominent and perfect introductions into Korean culture is through their cuisine and dining customs. Korean barbecue is a popular social and dining experience, which combines traditions, etiquette and food.

Customs and culture around Korean barbeque

Seasoned meat is laying on a grill in South-Korea.
Korean barbecue is something you have to try out when visiting South Korea. Photo by Joannaisabellaabril / CC BY

Adapting to the customs while dining at a Korean barbecue is one of the early things that visitors pick up. More seasoned diners are usually aware of the expected behavior, from manners to methods of cooking and happily coach newbies in the procedure. For example, you should look to the eldest or most senior person at the table to lead in starting to eat.

It’s also disrespectful to let your meat overcook, particularly if it’s an expensive dish such as ‘galbi’. Also, be aware of the type of grill you are cooking on and ask for a new one if the waiter doesn’t automatically swap it for you. For example, pork should be cooked on a plate grill whereas beef needs a mesh grill. With these couple of insights, it will hopefully help you to cook the meat like a local and be aware to nail the timing of your next barbecue.

Korean barbecue dishes

Many different types of meat are laying on a barbecue with a bouillon in the middle in Korea.
Get the most out your dining experience by figuring out the Korean customs around the barbecue. Photo by Everfree / CC BY

Korean cuisine is rich with different foods, as well as associated traditions, history and beliefs. In the beginning of a Korean barbecue, a selection of side dishes (which are free and can be re-filled) are served, called ‘banchan’. The idea of the ‘banchan’ is not necessarily to eat it alone, but along with a mouthful of meat from the barbecue as a way of balancing the many tastes and textures in a Korean meal.

As for what meat to cook at the barbecue, you will find a huge choice of meats and cuts. A popular one is ‘samgyeopsal’, slices of pork belly meat that are not marinated or seasoned. Typically, once cooked, a piece is dipped into a seasoning of salt, pepper and sesame seed oil and wrapped in a lettuce leaf along with some of the ‘banchan’ such as kimchi and spring onions.

You might also be interested in: Top 6 Places for Cherry Blossom in Korea

Going for Korean barbecue with a group of friends will quickly become one of your favorite and most regular activities in Seoul. Once you understand the etiquette and adapt to the methods of cooking, which might be quite different than what you’re used to, you’ll be dining out like a pro.

A baby is sitting on someone's shoulder while they are walking through a crowded street in Korea.
Going for Korean barbecue will quickly become one of your favorite activities in Seoul. Photo by Shawn Ang / CC BY

Discovering the connection South Korea holds between its food and its history, geographic location and traditions offer a fascinating insight into the culture, providing you the opportunity to learn whilst also filling your belly!

Read more about studying in South Korea

Asia Exchange is a Finnish company providing study abroad opportunities in Asia Pacific for students from all around the world. Want to get travel tips and new blog posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter! If you have any questions about studying abroad, feel free to contact us! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

This article was written by our Digital Marketing Coordinator Fabian. 

Latest in our blog

12.10.2018

Bali Is The New Skateboarding Mecca – Meet Brady Scott

Bali is the epicenter of Indonesia´s skateboard scene! In recent years, Bali has become the epicenter of Indonesia’s skateboarding scene. The small island is no…

→ Read more

04.10.2018

Watch Out For The Korean Wave!

The Korean wave is taking the world by storm! Watch out for the Korean wave! The catchy beats, colorful soap operas and gripping dramas are…

→ Read more

28.09.2018

Bangkok From A Student’s Perspective – Meet Robin

“The exchange helps prove yourself, the way you work, and the way you study.” Bangkok is a city of contrasts – a place where every…

→ Read more

12.09.2018

A Love Letter to Bangkok

The city of life will steal your heart! Hi there, Bangkok. … No, hold on, that’s not romantic enough, this is supposed to be a…

→ Read more

31.08.2018

Māori – One Of the Most Captivating Cultures In the World!

Get to know the fascinating culture of the Māori! Have you ever encountered the Māori culture? You might have seen on the discovery channel men standing…

→ Read more

24.08.2018

What to Expect When Moving to New Zealand

These are useful facts you need to know before arriving to New Zealand! You have chosen to study abroad in New Zealand and you are…

→ Read more

20.08.2018

Why Study in Asia? Join Our Free Webinar on September 5th to Find Out!

Seize Your Future & Learn More About Study Abroad Opportunities in Asia This autumn we’re once again organizing a free webinar called Why & How To Study…

→ Read more

17.08.2018

Kuala Lumpur – Attractions You Definitely Need to Explore!

Get the best out of your stay in Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur is the lively capital of Malaysia. The name ‘Kuala Lumpur’ literally means ‘muddy…

→ Read more

Get useful tips, inspiring stories and latest news straight to your inbox

Sign up for our monthly newsletter

We'll also send you a free 30+ page University Profiles Guide!
What do you want to receive?

Your information is safe with us. Unsubscribe any time.

Asia Exchange, Vuorikatu 3 L 3 33100 Tampere, Finland
Email: info@asiaexchange.org
Tel: +358 45 322 1230, Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm (GMT +2)
Privacy Policy

Site by Atomi