What Koreans Say Before Eating: Expressions of Gratitude!

What Koreans Say Before Eating

If you are a seasoned Kdrama watchers, you might notice that Korean speak certain sentence before they eat. Have you ever wondered about what Koreans say before eating?

Before digging into a steaming bowl of bibimbap or savoring the crispy perfection of Korean fried chicken, Koreans often utter certain phrases.

These words aren’t just empty formalities; they carry cultural significance, expressing gratitude and setting the stage for a delicious meal.

This time I will share the expressions of gratitude Koreans say before eating that make Korean meals not just delicious but culturally enriching.

Let’s dive right into this culture.

Table of Contents

Common Expressions Before Eating in Korean

What Koreans Say Before Eating

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1. Jal meokkketseumnida "잘 먹겠습니다" (I will eat well)

What Koreans Say Before Eating

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The most widely used expression is “잘 먹겠습니다” (jal meokgetseumnida).

It translates to “I will eat well,” but encompasses a deeper meaning.

It conveys appreciation for the food and the effort put into making it, often directed towards the cook or host.

Similar to the Japanese “itadakimasu,” it’s a way of showing respect and acknowledging the blessings of the meal.

2. Manhi deuseyo 많이 드세요" (Please eat a lot)

Manhi deuseyo 많이 드세요, meaning “Please eat a lot”, is a polite way to encourage others to enjoy the food.

The elders or the one cooked the food usually use this sentence.

3. Masitkke "맛있게 먹겠습니다" (I will eat deliciously)

Masitkke meaning I will eat deliciously, is an expression of gratitude to the one giving the meal to you.

It’s basically the same as a thank you words to the person that cooked or give you the meal.

4. Meok-ja "먹자" (Let’s eat!)

If you want to invite your peers to eat together as the lunch break comes, then you can say 먹자 which means ‘lets eat!’

Do note that Korean only say this word to their peers and friends, never use this word to the elder or your Boss!

This invitation is informal and can only be used to talk with friends.

If you’re talking with colleagues, you can use 먹읍시다 (meogeupsida).

5. Masitkke deuseyo "맛있게 드세요" (Please eat deliciously)

Koreans say this as an expression ‘Please eat well’ or ‘Enjoy your food’.

You can use this to your coworkers and friends.

6. Jal meogeulkeyeo "잘 먹을게요" (I will eat well)

This expression is the informal version of jal meokkketseumnida 잘 먹겠습니다.

However, the meaning is the same, you can use this expression in a less formal setting.

Other Expressions

Depending on the situation, Koreans might use other phrases before a meal:

  • “먹읍시다” (meogeupsida): This informal phrase simply means “Let’s eat!” and is often used among friends or family.
  • “맛있겠네요” (matitgesneyo): Expressing anticipation, this translates to “It looks delicious,” and hints at the joy of about to partake in a scrumptious meal.

Religious Expressions

For practicing Christians, a short prayer before eating is common. 

They might use a simple phrase like “하나님 감사합니다” (hananim gamsahabnida) meaning “Thank you, God,” or recite a longer grace.

Etiquette

What Koreans Say Before Eating

Beyond spoken phrases, Korean dining etiquette also emphasizes showing appreciation through actions. 

Bowing slightly to the cook or elder serving the food demonstrates respect.

Using communal chopsticks and pouring drinks for others are additional ways to express care and consideration.

Conclusion

The simple act of saying a few words before a meal in Korea signifies so much more than just hunger pangs.

It’s a cultural practice rooted in gratitude, respect, and community.

So, the next time you gather around a table with Korean friends or family, remember these expressions and add your own touch of “jal meokkketseumnida” to the occasion.

There you have – What Koreans Say Before Eating!

How do you think about this Korean culture?

Let me know in the comment sections below!

Feel free to look into another articles:

What Koreans Say Before Eating
What Koreans Say Before Eating

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