Today I will introduce the common Korean restaurant culture which could be not common in other countries.
Many Korean restaurants have bell on the table. This bell is for calling the waiter as pressing the button in airplane for calling the stewardess. When you press the bell, your table number is shown in the screen which is in the wall and also sounds ‘ding-dong’. In some restaurant, if you press the button, the table number is appeared in the waiter’s clock as you can see in the above picture.
If there is the bell in the Korean restaurant, press it when you want to call the waiter. The bell is good for calling the waiter quickly.:) However, if there is no bell, call the waiters as “Ju-gi-yo” which means Hey! Then waiters will come to you. There are many different Korean word to call the waiters, but this could be used for everyone regardless of gender or age of the waiters that I recommend to use this word.
2. Pay your bills in the counter
Except the expensive western restaurants, you should pay the restaurant bill from the counter in most of the Korean restaurant. You don’t have to wait waiter to pay the bill. Just bring the bill which is on the table or if there is no bill, just go to the counter after finished eating, and then pay money in the counter. Base on my experience, comparing paying the restaurant bill to the waiter in other countries, paying bill in counter is more faster. In my opinion, one of the reason why customers pay bill in the counter is in Korean culture which Korean like to do many things quickly. I’m sure many Korean customers didn’t like to wait until the waiters come to their table for paying bill. Also in Korea there is no tip culture that just pay the food price.
3. Self services and free side dishes
In Korea if you want to eat more side dishes like Kimchi, veggie…etc, those are free.:) However, in some restaurants, if you want to eat more, you have to take it by yourself. Also there is some places where the water is also self service. If you want to drink water you have to bring it by yourself from the water purifier.
4. Sitting on the floor
Traditionally Korean sit on the floor and have the underfloor heating system which is called the Ondol. Accordingly, some of the Korean restaurants have the sit on the floor style. So if you visit this kind of the Korean restaurant, first take off your shoes, and sit down on the floor. The floor is warm that it is good in winter, but sitting on the floor can be uncomfortable.
Korean sit on the floor in cross-legged. But at the first time, this position can be uncomfortable to you. In fact, even I lived in whole my life in Korea, this cross-legged position is still uncomfortable and if I sit more than 20 minutes I get pins and needles in my legs.
5. Toilet roll is in restaurant
You will feel the culture shock at the first time, when found the toilet roll in the Korean restaurant’s table. Some of the restaurant put the toilet roll itself on the table, or other uses the case of the toilet roll as you can see in below picture.
I don’t know why…but in some Korean restaurant use the toilet roll, and people wipe their mouth with loo roll. However, me and many Korean also feel uncomfortable when we see the toilet roll on the restaurant.
6. Can wear the Apron
In some of the restaurant, the apron for customers are prepared and if you ask for it, they give you. It is preventing for getting food on the clothes. Many Korean food are boiling soup in the table which is in front of the customers that some of the soup can be easily splash to the clothes. So Korean restaurant especially serve the soup commonly uses the apron for customers. If you think the soup can splash to your clothes during boiling, ask to the waiter to give the apron. Then they will provide it to you.:)
7. Instant coffee machine
In many Korean restaurants, there is instant coffee machine which is for the customers service. 🙂 It is free that, after you finished the meal you can take it.:) This is the self-services that you have to bring it by yourself. The taste is sweet and have the same taste as the Korea instant mix coffee.
Thanks for reading.:)