Speaking Korean: What to say when ordering food in Korea

Speaking Korean: What to say when ordering food in Korea

Stripes Korea

So you want to go out in town and try out a restaurant your friends told you about? Well, Here's some helpful tips on how to order, even if your Korean speaking skills are limited.

Meats: When you go out to eat at a Korean restaurant with meat as the main dish, you will want to order a bit differently than you would at an American restaurant.  Of course, if you are ordering a steak or a hamburger it is no different. However, if you are ordering meat to be grilled at your table you will normally order by the serving: 

Give me three servings of ribs . > 갈비 삼인분  주세요  / gal-bi  sam-in-bun  ju-se-yo. The “sam-in-bun”  part of the request is asking for 3 servings/portions.

Beef: 소고기  / so-go-gi 

Common beef orders:
* Beef Ribs > 소갈비 / so-gal-bi.  
* Rib roast cut into small grillable portions but without the bone: 소갈비살/ so-gal-bi-sal.  
* Sirloin cut for grilling Korean style: 등심 / Doong-shim.

Pork: 돼지 고기 / Dwe-ji-go-gi

* Pork ribs: 돼지갈비 / Dwe-ji-gal-bi.
* Side pork (uncured):  삼겹살 /  sam-gyop-sal.

* Though you can eat each of these directly from your grill, when you order them in a restaurant there is normally a way to truly make the experience more enjoyable. With each order of these meats will come a variety of vegetables and condiments. Normally you will receive lettuce leaves, garlic, red pepper paste, and, depending on the restaurant sesame leaves, Julian sliced onions, mushrooms, etc. (With the sam-gyop-sal, you will receive a small bowl of Sesame oil with some seasoning.) When the meat is cooked to your satisfaction, take it from the grill and  place it on a lettuce leaf. Then add a dollop of rice and a little of each of the extras, pepper paste, garlic, onions, mushrooms, etc. Wrap it all into one large ball and stuff it into your mouth. It sounds rude but it is really the best and least offensive way to eat this.

Chicken:  닭고기/ Dalk-go-gi

Chicken Ribs: 닭갈비 /  Dalk-Gal-bi.  Not really what it sounds like. This is actually normally chicken breast cut into pieces and seasoned (spicy) then mixed with vegetables and cooked at your table in a grill or wok.  (Boneless: 뼈없는  / Byeo-eob-nun)
Fried chicken: 닭 튀김 / Dalk-dwi-gim. (It is just as common to hear “Chicken Fry.” 
Fried chicken with spicy sauce or flavoring :  양념 닭 /양념 치긴 / Yang-nyom-dalk / yang-nyom-chi-kin

Rice is a staple of Korean life and there are a number of ways to get it in a restaurant:

Rice: 밥  / bab

Fried Rice : 볶음밥  / Bok-kum-bab

If you want a certain kind of meat in the fried rices just add in the appropriate meat Pork Fried Rice: 돼지 고기볶음밥 / Dwe-ji-go-gi-bok-kum-bab

Chicken Fried Rice: 닭고기볶음밥 / Dalk-go-gi-bok-kum-bab
Shrimp fried rice: 새우 볶음밥  / Se-u-bok-kum-bab
Rice mixed with vegetables and seasoning: 비빔밥  /  Bi-bim-bab.  One variation of this dish is to have the bibimbab served in a hot stone bowl 돌솥비빔밥  /  Dol-sot-bi-bim-bab.

Noodles: 면  /   Myeon

Ramen:  라면 / ra-myeon
Cold noodles: 냉면 / Naeng-myeon  There are two common varieties of cold noodles
1. One is with the noodles served in a broth and is called water naeng myeon:   물냉면  / mul-naeng-myeon
2. Second is  mixed with spicy red pepper sauce, hot mustard, and vegetables which is   비빔냉면 /  Bi-bim-naeng-myeon.

One favorite Korean noodle dish of many westerners is Chap-chae  and though it doesn’t use the “Myeon” is a noodle dish normally using vermicelli noodles  (당면 /  dang-myeon)  mixed with vegetables stir fried in a mixture of sesame oil and other ingredients.

During the next couple of weeks try ordering some of these dishes you won’t be sorry.

Eat well: 많이 잡수세요  / Ma-ni  jab-su-se-yo.

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