Korean BBQ and how to (not?) eat with Chopsticks

DSC_6629DSC_6635DSC_6618April 2015, Taiwan. 

Korean food, especially the BBQ, is popular in Taiwan. We went to a Taipei restaurant one day to see what it was like.

It was quite fun actually. The restaurant offered an unlimited number of free side dishes to go with the food. We went to pick up more small bowls as often as we dared to (which was very often) and filled the table with peanuts, kimchi and veggies. The meat came in raw on big plates, and we were to fry it ourselves on the table. It kept the conversation going and we competed in who could fry the most tasty pieces. (The other side of the table came up with marinating their meat in sauce before frying it and probably won)

In the middle of the meal a lady sitting to the left on me called for my attention. She was at another table, and a total stranger to me, the restaurant was so crowded she was not more than a few inches from me. “Excuse me, don’t hold you hand like that when you are eating. Hold it like this, around the plate”

I heard her voice, but I couldn’t believe it. Here I am, in a foreign country, eating Asian food with chopsticks together with my Asian friends. Am I not adjusting enough for you? Does my not-native-yet looks bother you? Or was it actually an attempt to be friendly and teach the poor foreigner how to eat properly?

After that I tried to ask a couple of friend how I am supposed to hold my (left) hand while eating with chopsticks (with the right hand). I am not sure what they told me, maybe it was impolite to keep my hand under the table while eating? In that case it’s just another cultural faux pas, in Europe it is rude to rest your hands on table!

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3 thoughts on “Korean BBQ and how to (not?) eat with Chopsticks

  1. As a non-typical Taiwanese, i have followed those custom with silence,and without any idea. While eating, we do keep both hands on the table, one for chopstick , the other for holding the bowel or preparing to handle any accident could happen. BUT ” in Europe it is rude to rest your hands on table!” it sounds harsh! Anyone may act like this without attention~

    • Culture difference! Hahahaha
      You know, we have the fork in one hand and the knife in the other, right? Therefore we don’t need to keep our hands anywhere. Sometimes as home I put my knife down and only eat with a fork, but then my mother will scold me and tell me to eat properly! I think this is a European thing, I have seen a lot of Americans eating with just one fork.

      • ofc i knew this European manner, but feel little while hanging out with European. And I figured out by one second! there were no knife and fork here! also could be found in HIMYM~ “HIMYM” I bet you can speculate what it represent~

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