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Korean Table Etiquette

March 7, 2013

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And we’re back with our TL;DRs! Couldn’t do them for a while because we were in Japan for a bit, but we’re back, now, and talking about more stuff that you ask us to talk about. This time, Korean Table Etiquette. Sounds like a boring topic, but we had some fun talking about it. Here’s the original question:

TLDR Question

Also, we mentioned the crappiness of that bad video we did from long time ago. Yes, we’re embarrassed that our videos were like that before, and we’d rather not watch it, but if you haven’t seen it then you have no clue how bad our videos used to be, though our focus and method was different back then :D We’re a lot more comfortable on camera now. Anyhow, check it out if you haven’t seen it yet:

So, we add a bit more to what we talked about in this video. We gave a few examples, like try giving out chopsticks and tissues to others, be prepared for a different style of buffet eating, and just generally trying to be as considerate of others in a meal-sharing environment as possible.

We did get a hint of one other rule/suggestion from Soo Zee when we spoke with her about it today, but she was a bit iffy about the details because she wasn’t too sure about it, since she’s not in a typical business setting. She mentioned that there’s typically a seat at a table where the people that pay for the meals usually sit. It’s not, like, the head of the table, but it’s something like to the left of the door…or something. She wasn’t sure. We then began to joke about how if this was the case we’d all run into the restaurant and dive into the seat as far the hell away from the paying seat as possible, and we’d all be scrunched up on each other like “NO YOU’RE CLOSEST! YOU PAY!” But then we got distracted and started talking about something else, so that’s all the info we can give you about the crappy money seat as possible. If anyone knows anything about it, or if you have any other stories about confusion you had with Korean table etiquette, please let us know!

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Korean Table Etiquette

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  1. So…Martina. I know you wanna send one of those hoodies my way. 8D
    But seriously though, that thing is amazing. Did you get it in Japan? I’m pretty sure I saw some in one of Micaela’s videos. :D

    3 years ago
  2. Being maknae sounds exhausting.

    3 years ago
  3. Here’s a TL;DR Question! How do you call for a taxi (when public transportation stops running at night)? Are there certain ways to do it compared to North America? Or are they the same?

    3 years ago
  4. Liz

    lol I play clarinet and out section is like almost all Korean and we used to get kbbq together and I was like whoa meat grilling. I made the guys do it but I guess it’s okay because I’m older than many of them thanks for that tip !

    3 years ago
  5. Oh. This reminds me of something I saw on tumblr.
    http://sammariebeu.tumblr.com/post/44607702784/baekhyun-has-no-time-for-your-bullshit
    Would the way Baekhyun is calling people over be considered rude?

    3 years ago
  6. I hate it when people pay for me, because then I feel like I have to order the cheapest thing on the menu, even if I would be willing to spend my own money to try out something else. If someone else insists on paying for me I usually end up going home hungry because I felt like I couldn’t eat their money.

    3 years ago
    • In genral I have always had one person pay for group meals even here in the U.S. and I got to a certain age where I just started buying every group meal so I wouldn’t feel weird about what I was ordering and the price and everything else.

      3 years ago
  7. What about the big glass trend? Is it fashionable over there?? Or is all glasses comes in that way in Korea?

    3 years ago
  8. My boyfriend never wants to hear about K-dramas either. :( Though now if he ever asks, I will be forewarned thanks to you guys.

    3 years ago
  9. Really interesting story. Too bad it kind of has a sad ending. ;o; It’s rough that those other people would be angry, yet you guys would have no idea about it…

    3 years ago
  10. U-kiss come back is soon… you gonna have new intervier with them right? right? :> “Standing still” is so freaking awesome :D

    3 years ago
  11. Ooh, that’s a really interesting question. I know sometimes in forums people attack them for, like, “dissing” (not giving the best review of) videos of k-pop groups, but I wonder if there really are any anti-nasties. (Nanties?) I really hope there aren’t… ;_;

    3 years ago
    • haha thanks ^^;; they always leave some “hints” that there are but im not sure if they are making if up or not

      3 years ago
  12. Hi gyus ^^ i heard that some kpop dance moves help at loosing weigh and burning calories like MYNAME ‘s just that little thing etc….
    can you give us more songs with easy dance and more benefits ? also can you talk about some other diet tips? anyway i really love your videos so keep the hard work and fighting <3

    3 years ago
  13. lol my mexican friends must be korean at heart because they’re communal eaters we order three or four plates and then share it , germs? who cares… my friends stateside though like their own plates and hate having their food eaten by others so it was a culture shock when i was happily eating my salad and my mexican guy friend came over and forked my spinach lettuce and carrots and ate it… without asking me for it… I was upset… and then i noticed that everybody did that to each other so if I said something I’d be this evil unsharing monster.

    3 years ago
  14. When eating rice from a bowl, you only need to use one hand for the chopsticks. I once laid my other arm on my lap, since the table was full of plates and stuff. A Japanese friend told me that was considered rude and that it’s better to hold the rice bowl in you hand. Is this the same in Korea? If not, what do you do with the “non-chopstick” hand?

    3 years ago
    • At least in China I pretty much hold the bowl the whole time. Reduces the distance from bowl to face which looks less… messy? I dunno what word to use haha And when you’re putting food from a shared plate onto your own it shows that you’re trying not to drip/drop stuff all over the other food! But yeah, in Korea it may be different though since their bowls are usually metal so… may be a bit hot sometimes XD I’d also add as a side to the other person replying that Chinese very often use Chinese style spoons when eating rice too, not chopsticks. If you use chopsticks people tend to literally use it to push rice in their mouth, rather than picking it up, that tends to look a bit weird. That’s my experience anyway!

      3 years ago
    • Koreans use spoons with their chopsticks so they eat there rice with the spoon. A long time ago meat was very rare in Korea so they usually made a big soup with little meat in it and shared it so hence eating a lot of soups they needed a spoon. Out of China, Korea, and Japan …Koreans are the only ones that use a spoon to eat there rice. And about the “non-chopstick-spoon” hand you can do as you please. You can hold the bowl or not.

      3 years ago
  15. I agree with the buffet fact. In Vietnam, it scared me. I wanted to eat a normal buffet, but it got ruined by my family. Even my parents were confused, and they grew up in Vietnam.

    3 years ago
  16. Hi Martina, I was just introduced to Korean dramas in September and have been hooked ever since (along with K-pop and EYK). I was wondering if you have posted a list of some of your favorites anywhere or if you could make one. Thanks! :)

    3 years ago
    • I agree, Running Man is great. (huge crush on Kim Jong Kook) Try http://www.dramafever.com if you’re in the United States. There’s some commercials but they have up to date dramas as well as some older favorites like Coffee Prince

      3 years ago
  17. I heard you’re not supposed to finish your meal before the eldest

    3 years ago
  18. Oh god, martina I LOVE your hoody! On other news I think most of the things you talked about are pretty much universal, I’m from Argentina and here it is the polite thing to do to serve everyone else before you, and if you are the youngest your are supposed to help. And when people are.. clinking? you are supposed to accompany them even with water May be we just don’t make such a fuss about position/superiors..
    Anyway, my question: (a really random one) what about body hair, I have noticed most korean male idols don’t have hair on their legs, and sometimes neither on their armpits? Is it a natural thing or is just as bad as a girl with hairy armpits? (I have the most random questions guys)
    And since I remember you said that they don’t really use deodorant, waht about perfume? I imagine they are much sensitive to that kind of thing…

    3 years ago
    • actually Asians in general have a lot less body hair than western people so not actually having hair on your legs or having only a little it’s only natural there
      when it comes to armpits the ones that don’t have hair actually shave which in my opinion is very hygienic but most of them don’t shave… I’m not sure but i think it’s considered manlier that way(not sure if correct information here)

      3 years ago
    • Yes, I think most Americans like to serve themselves. I prefer to let people serve themselves, because then they can get the type and amount of food they want to. It seems like most people here feel they have to eat everything on their plate, so it can get annoying if someone serves you a ton of food when you aren’t that hungry. To me it just seems like everyone can be more relaxed if they serve themselves.

      Edit: Oh! And I want that hoodie so bad! It is super adorable. But $50 is a little more money than I can afford for a hoodie…

      3 years ago
  19. These are the video’s I love most: those about the subtle differences in culture an ettiquette. By the way “klinken” is the proper dutch word for touching glasses after a toast.

    3 years ago
  20. Lol, I actually have no idea about the seat arrangement. Usually what happened when my family went to Korea was that my mom would start arguing with the other guests/family members to see who would pay. And even here that happens. Maybe it’s a new thing??? o-o

    I do know the meat grilling process with the maknae though! I remember the BigBang members complaining about how Seungri never grilled their meat for them, so he had gotten a meat grilling app so he could grill the meat properly for them ^^ Haha.

    3 years ago
  21. What is it like to live that close to North Korea? What do people in South Korea think about the North’s frequent threats? Does one get used to it due to its high frequency or is it always harrowing?

    3 years ago
  22. TL:DR question: I am originally from africa but I have lived in Sweden my whole life, so my question is. How does Korean people look at black people, cause I personally love Korea and I would like to go on a vacation there. Would they treat me different from u guys, and because I am African do you think that they would be like “here take some money” When I walk down the street or something lol
    Comment: Simon and Martina love you u guys and have since day 1!!!!!

    3 years ago
  23. I know right!!! I also know for sure they have a BB Cd signed behind them as well. Damn it!! oh well…

    3 years ago
  24. Martina looks so pretty in this video! :) natural and sweet girl :)

    3 years ago
    • EYK’s natural and sweet beauty, Martina! In charge of aegyo, visuals and rapping!

      3 years ago
      • I thought Simon was in charge of aegyo. SEUNGRI TIME FOR KISSES!

        3 years ago
  25. That is interesting about the grilling. I didn’t know that.

    3 years ago
  26. OOohh thanks for the tip on the drinking. I am a diabetic and have celiac disease which means I can’t eat anything with gluten in it and any alcoholic beverage is a problem. I guess my question is how do Koreans handle people who cannot participate in the drinking or eating? Is there any way you can tell them “No, I can’t eat that or I’ll puke my guts out,” politely? I’ve heard Asian cultures want to please so any tips on how to handle dietary restrictions and get straight answers?

    Kind of along those lines, how do they view people with chronic illnesses or those who can’t keep up with their insane work schedules? (Or do the dramas just totally play up that work all the time angle too?)

    3 years ago
    • Our Korean boss once treated me and my co-workers to dinner, and he brought wine and soju with him. I panicked a bit since I don’t drink anything with alcohol because of personal and religious issues, and I already knew about the Japanese and Korean manners of not refusing a drink from a senior. I didn’t want to offend my boss, so I politely told him I don’t drink while he was pouring all of our glasses. He still insisted and said he’ll just pour a little in my glass. Good thing my co-workers saved me by emphasizing that it was more of a religious thing, and he gave in–my glass was spared. I think he didn’t want to offend me too although he asked me about my personal views about drinking later. So don’t say you don’t drink or you don’t like drinking or the taste. Apparently those reasons are not enough. Just (VERY) politely say it’s a health or religious thing, and they’ll spare you. They can be understanding you know.

      3 years ago
    • If you tell people you can’t drink, they won’t make you as long as you let them know it’s because of your body and not because you get drunk easily, or you hate the taste. If you hate the taste or get drunk easily, they tend to continue to try to force you to drink until you do. If you can’t because your body can’t handle alcohol, they won’t make you do it. One of my close hyungs can’t drink because his body rejects alcohol so he absolutely can’t, no one ever forces him to drink. My other friend is just really bad at drinking and gets drunk quickly so he doesn’t like drinking, everyone forces him to drink. It’s situational so don’t worry about it.

      3 years ago
      • Thanks! You all have relieved my mind! Dumb as this may sound it’s nice to know I’m not alone in this “problem”

        3 years ago
    • I don’t know which drama you watched, but to me, Koreans in kdrama seem to have more leisure time than most real life ones….

      3 years ago
    • I’m in a similar situation where I can’t drink because it would conflict with my medications. ;_; It’s not that I don’t want to – I just can’t do it.

      Ugh, celiac disease is the worst. ;_; I’m really sorry!! My friend and neighbour has it as well, so I am constantly trying to make sure our sharing-food is gluten free. Managed to make an AMAZING black bean chocolate cake for my boyfriend’s birthday party that she was able to eat! :D So happy! ^_^

      3 years ago
  27. I didn’t know about the newer/younger person doing the grilling. This is probably why, when we went to my mom’s cousin’s restaurant, my relatives purposely left a lot of the grilling to my friend – who had no idea what to do, and it was hilarious. xD

    3 years ago
  28. martina you look so different in this video, but i can’t figure out why……. plus i dreamt you guys had a bright blue slide to get to a secret nasty lair where you could hole up kpop idols to protect them from over-zealous fans :P

    3 years ago
    • I think it’s her makeup! She used smudgier eyeliner and didn’t do a cat-eye with the eyeliner. With the dark circle lenses, it makes her eyes look very different! She looks very young and fresh. ^_^ Always beautiful! :3

      I think this calls for a bright blue slide. Also, WOW, I’m not the only one who gets Nasty dreams! XD

      3 years ago
      • you’re right!!!! i was thinking it was the eyes but i was so distracted by the change i couldn’t put my finger on it :P

        lol yeah the nasty dreams are great… what if simon and martina had reverse nasty dreams about their nasties? o.O

        3 years ago
  29. i had the same exact experience as simon! i ‘clinked’ my shot glass on top of a senior/superior. however, i was taught that you should clink according to hierarchy… so the maknae/lowest rank/youngest would clink more toward the bottom. not sure if this is correct, but great video and LOVE martina in the purple shirt!! yay throwback!

    3 years ago
  30. I have a question about this TLDR-if everyone share the food,how about the payment?

    3 years ago
  31. really interesting to know some more on table etiquette!!
    and whoa that is a weird buffet style!!
    hahaha the money seat!!!! seriously though is that true? i wanna know more about it!!

    3 years ago
  32. After reading K-pop news sites, it seems that Korea places a lot of emphasis on K-netizens. Is this true? Do netizens really have a lot of say in the entertainment industry, or are their comments regarded as stupid as most YouTube comments are?

    3 years ago
    • This times a million. I’ve almost heard more about Korean ‘netizens’ than I’ve heard about k-pop itself.

      3 years ago
  33. I just wanted to say that I love your videos; they’re always so funny and informative. You could be talking about ketchup brands and I would still be entertained. Anyways, I was wondering what your future plans are with regards to eatyourkimchi and how far you want to take it. Also you never really did touch on if you plan on having children (or if you did I totally missed it) If you had children would you raise them in Korea? Sorry for the long question, and thank you for making videos!

    3 years ago
  34. I had the hardest time concentrating on you guys because I was so distracted by the signed Block B CD. So pwetty!… *uu* But thank you for this TLDR!! It will be very helpful when I go to Korea for my studies (if everything goes well and I’m accepted. :3)

    3 years ago
  35. Hey-llo. You have already talked about your YouTube fame and what you think of it, but what does your family think of it? When I see Korean stars interacting with their family, the parents always have pictures and tabloids up about their famed family. Like when Nichkhun visited his house in Thailand on Running Man, his parents had a lot of his merchandise scattered around the house, next to his baby pictures.

    Does your family have any embarrassing pictures of you and your merchandise around the house? Baby pictures next to an EYK shrine? The works?

    3 years ago
  36. I remember when I first shared a meal with some Thai people in Thailand. I found it very awkward in the beginning (especially since I actually believed one of the persons were really sick). But after a few times, it wasn’t awkward anymore. But it was still awkward when some of them tried to feed us.

    Oh, I remember watching Running Man, and they were going to eat breakfast at a hotel (buffet), and at first I saw one of the guys plate was FULL of that one thing. And all of them took a lot. I was shocked, and thought “Them Koreans really do love food, don’t they?” x)

    Oh no, what if I come to Korea, and I am hanging out with some people, we go to restaurant, and I sit at the wrong seat D: (But I would actually rather pay than grill stuff, because I’m really bad at grilling. It’s either way too uncooked or burned)

    3 years ago
  37. It’s signed :D

    3 years ago
  38. My TL;DR question:

    I wasn’t sure if this was too personal a question so I understand if this goes unanswered – I know you both started EYK for your family in the hopes of relieving their worries about you living in Korea. Do your family members still watch your videos? What are their impressions of your life in Korea? How do they feel about you deciding to stay in Korea?

    3 years ago
  39. Why is blood type so important in Korean. I mean other than the obvious. I see it mentioned a lot when describing Kpop stars. Heck a whole band is name after it B1A4. Does it mean something special?

    3 years ago
    • actually B1A4 means be 1 all 4 or you can just call it like Simon bilasa :D
      an the blood types are 01, A2, B3, and AB4

      3 years ago
      • The real/official meaning of B1A4 is their blood types(baro is B and the other 4 are A), ‘be the one all for one’ is more like a nickname or added on meaning

        3 years ago
    • Yeah, or like this japanese song koi no ABO by NEWS, the lyrics are all about different girls’ characters judging by their blood type :)

      3 years ago
      • lol i was going to mention this one too! beat me too it :P

        3 years ago
        • :P sorry, i really like that song, i’m glad there are people here who know about it too :P

          3 years ago
        • I love that song!!! I’m a big johnny’s fan (If you didn’t notice already from my name hehe :P )

          3 years ago
        • ahhahha i did notice :P, i know about johnny, but not a lot, i wish they posted their videos on youtube, i would become a fan, i’m yamapi fan for now :P :D

          3 years ago
        • Yes! it’s so hard to find their music, which saddens me :( and YAY yamapi fan, I love Daite Senorita! It’s an oldie but a goodie! (and Seishun Amigo because i’m KAT-TUN bias)! :D Sorry I’m making this thread so off topic, but I’m happy to see some j-pop in this sea of k-pop! XP

          3 years ago
    • Wow… didn’t know that!

      3 years ago
    • In “my scary girl” the guy says it’s superstition that was used by the nazis to justify their superiority. There’s no solid scientific basis for it.

      3 years ago
    • Another popular Youtube blogger that I follow, Sweetandtasty, has a good little video about this. You should check it out. Though I’m sure if Simon and Martina did a video about it, it would be even more amazing ;P
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAysJT9GYhs

      3 years ago
      • Oh yeah, I watched that xD but her roles are alittle annoying for me , not sure why *lol* she’s still helpfull ^-^=V

        3 years ago
      • I love Professor Oh.. how did I miss that? I will check it out. Thanks

        3 years ago
    • I know that in Japan blood type is sometimes used in fortune telling (I think of the romantic kind) so perhaps it’s the same thing in Korea?

      3 years ago
    • I think they are kind of connected to personality and character…

      3 years ago