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Quoting form Ruth Benedict, “culture is not a biologically transmitted complex.” In most cultures or foreign countries, this quotation is true. Culture originally existed from our fore fathers and is to be practiced time to time.  There are challenges that arise, where some of the cultures die off and others are still practiced up to date. Since independence and through wars, South Korea as a country has strongly preserved its culture, such as religion, holidays, language and foods. For example, traditional cuisine is one of the most popular and consumed food (Nawtyb).  This essay will mainly focus on traditional cuisine and other cultural activities that Koreans practice.

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Korean Food Culture

In Korea, food consumption I high compared to other countries. The diet is usually based on light taste. According to the geographical location and human culture in Korea, food cultures has been given the first priority over centuries and have come up with more variety of traditional foods. Korean food is seasonal, thereby making it very rich in nutrients and diversified. The country is located next to a water body. In the past, Korean were used to their fermented food and  traditional seafood cuisine such as fish, shrimp paste and kimchi to overcome the hot summer and cold winter.

The characteristics of Korean cuisine is, it contain a high level of proteins; lots of vegetables, light, and its cool and spicy taste. Rice was mainly the staple food for Korean since ancient times. Dishes can be cooked by stewed or grilled. Korean food is the history, the top tastiest food in the world. These foods include, typical barbecue, noodles, rice, chicken soup and beef soup. The most important characteristics of the Korean cuisine, is that it is light-based. Nowadays, eating healthy is a dream and concerns to every person. Korean diet has attracted many people globally since it has all the nutrients and its fine taste.

In Korean culture, Korean Kimchi is usually served as the first dish of Korean Cuisine. It cures and prevent skin rashes and diseases. It also contains variety nutrition in vitamin A, thiamine B1, riboflavin B2, calcium, and iron. Kimchi has main benefit that can be found in the bacteria lactobacilli, yogurt and fermented foods. The bacterium helps in digestion (Fort). This dish is very important to Korean and it is very hard for them to survive without it. kimchi is mandatory served together with the other dishes on the table. In addition, kimchi is together with chilli sauce, it always mixed with pickles, barbecue, noodles, and seafood and used to dip with the lettuce and cucumber as side dishes.

Spicy is one of the characteristics of the Korean cuisine. The chilli spicy in the Korean cuisine is a bit sweet, it has a unique taste which is felt after the food is swallowed and after deep breaths. The seafood pancake is also famous food in Korea; it has a look-like a thinner sandwich. The pancakes are made with potato flour and layers of seafood like dried squid, and vegetables, which give a tangy and refreshing taste.

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Korean cold noodles also known as naeng-myeon. It is known as soup based noodle served in a cold icy broth with sweet and sour soup.Naeng-myeon are made from, buckwheat noodle with two boiled eggs and two pear or radish lying on the top of the noodle making it very delicious. The cold noodle is a very popular dish in Korea all year round, especially in summer time. Naeng-myeon is eaten on a hot summer seasons since it helps in cooling of body temperature. This dish originated since Joseon Dynasty.

The Bibimbap is another Korea cuisine. It is mixed rice and served with white rice in a heavy stone bowl and topped with seasonal vegetables such as bean sprout, eggs, cucumber, and mushroom with sliced meat and chilli pepper paste. Bibimbap is an indication that a spring has come. However, it is a very healthy food and an example of Koreans foods. Its  taste is quite crispy and crunchy, the different textures of the vegetables combined with the unique earthy flavour of the red pepper paste meld together to create the uniqueness of the dish. 

Korean is very particular about the nutrition in summer time. The chicken soup and Samgyetang is generally served during the summer time, to add on the energy lost through excessive sweating and physical exertion. Samgyetang is a classic soup based on that made from whole little chicken and Korean ginseng. The chicken is stuffed with glutinous rice and boiled in a broth of ginseng. Overripe broiler, dipped in salt to eat, it is very nutritious. The soup can cure and prevent physical ailments, due to the proteins, minerals and hormones from the chicken mixed with the beneficial properties of the ingredients combined in the dish.

In life, food is indispensable and people always pursue delicious tastes. It is a great thing to enjoy the delicious food and feel the visual appreciation. Korean food is ever awesome and unique. Dining in Korea restaurant has been influenced by the lifestyle of the ancient imperial palace from the past. The culture of Korean cuisine pays attention on the form and tableware. The stainless silverware of chopsticks and spoon set to the right to the soup bowl. Steamed rice served in a small stainless bowl set to the near left to the diner. Small dishes are shared banchan arranged in the center of the table around the main dish. However, on larger tables duplicate banchan are placed on each end of the main dish. During the meal, Korean restaurant often provide a large pair of scissor used for cutting long noodle while eating cold noodles, or cut pickles. In other circumstances, it is used to cut meat into pieces therefore playing a big role in Korean cuisine.

During the Korean meal, there is a lot of etiquette to be followed, which are borrowed from  the traditional virtues by the Korean people. For example, having dinner at the Korean restaurant it is common to take off your shoes and sit on the kang table while crossing your legs. In most cases, it is basically a little room and a short table, the walls of the small room are like blinds which can be pulled up and can be change at, very convenient. The guests usually sit on both sides of a square table; the small tables are put together side-by-side to the size of the room. This acts as a reminder of the scenario where kindergarten children sit next to each other to wait for their meal on the table.

Koreans drink alcohol in a cultural style. They drink after eating. It is commonly practiced in Korean restaurant. According to World Health Organization, South Koreans are by far the heaviest drinkers in Asia and the biggest consumers of spirits in the world. They drink with etiquette and make a toast to each other, as a sign of love and respect to one another. Each diner is expected to face away from the senior and cover his/ her mouth. It is normal for Korean to hold other’s glass by pouring half of a cup and handing back to the other (kwaak). This tradition has been reflected from the past.


In my view, this is quite interesting way of keeping cultural norms as seen in a traditional Korean restaurant. Korean cuisine is not only presenting on the behalf of their national eating habits; moreover, it reflects their philosophies of science, life and health. It can also be described as the understanding and embodies of the values of its people and country.

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