Korean Phrases To Use In A Korean Restaurant

Korean Phrases To Use In A Korean Restaurant

As you explore South Korea's vibrant culinary scene, knowing the essential Korean phrases can enhance your dining experience. Let's look at some common situations you might encounter in a Korean restaurant and the phrases you can use.

Getting attention:
Imagine you're ready to order in a busy restaurant. To politely get the server's attention, raise your hand slightly and say "저기요" (jeogiyo), which is similar to saying "excuse me," to signal that you're ready to place your order.

Order with confidence:
Now that you've gotten the server's attention, you can confidently place your order. Start by saying "이거 주세요" (igeo juseyo) while pointing to the menu item you want, which means "Please give me this. Alternatively, if you want a specific item, use "저는 ~ 하나 주세요" (jeoneun ~ hana juseyo), where ~ stands for the item you're ordering.

Ask for recommendations:
If you're in the mood for something special, you can ask the server "뭐가 맛있어요?" (mwo ga masisseoyo?), which translates to "What is delicious here?" To get personalized suggestions, ask "이 음식 추천해 주세요" (i eumsik chucheonhae juseyo) for "Please recommend this dish.

Customize your order:
If you have dietary restrictions or prefer certain ingredients, use expressions such as "이거 ~ 없이 해 주세요" (igeo ~ eopsi hae juseyo), replacing the ~ with the specific ingredient you wish to omit. For example, "맵지 않게 해 주세요" (Maepji anke hae juseyo) means "Not too spicy please".

Request for additional side dishes:
In Korean restaurants, side dishes can be added free of charge. Ask the clerk if you need more side dishes. "반찬 좀 더 주세요: (Banchan jom deo juseyo) means "Please give me some more side dishes". If you need water to drink  "물 좀 주세요(Mul jom juseyo)".

Express gratitude:
After enjoying the delicious flavors, express your appreciation by saying "잘 먹었습니다" (jal meogeosseumnida). This is a polite way of saying, "I enjoyed the meal. In addition, acknowledge the server's efforts with a heartfelt "감사합니다" (gamsahamnida) for "thank you.

Ask for the bill gracefully:
As you near the end of your culinary experience, use the expression "계산해 주세요" (gyesanhe juseyo) to request the bill. If you prefer a more subtle approach, simply make a writing motion in the air to indicate that you're ready to pay the bill.

Polite gestures:
Incorporating respectful gestures such as a slight bow and a warm smile when interacting with servers can contribute to a harmonious and enjoyable dining environment.

A rudimentary understanding of numbers can further enhance your ordering process. To request a specific quantity, say "이 개 주세요" (i gae juseyo) for "Please give me two of these," or replace "두" (du) with the desired number.

Armed with these essential expressions, your culinary exploration of Korea will be not only a feast for the palate, but also a delightful cultural exchange. From savoring classics like "불고기" (bulgogi) to indulging in the sensational street food "떡볶이" (tteokbokki), your interactions with locals will undoubtedly be enriched as you learn their language and etiquette.


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