A crash course in the drinking culture of South Korea

How about we learn a bit about the drinking culture of South Korea?

© Netflix- Itaewon Class

For sure, there were times when you could not understand the Korean way of drinking in a K-drama that you’ve seen or the experiences your favorite K-pop idols share. Especially when you’re just new to the fangirling/fanboying life.

Don’t worry we’ll walk you through it so you’ll understand the unique and fun drinking culture of South Koreans. It can also help you when you travel to South Korea and experience the fun of drinking while still respecting their culture.

In South Korea, drinking is a social practice that is strongly and deeply rooted in the culture. It goes beyond simply consuming alcohol.

Let’s first dive in with their drinking etiquette. You may have seen some actors or idols turning away, and covering their mouths when drinking alcohol with a companion. This is a sign of respect. They value respect for a person with older age or a higher position in society. When someone offers a drink, both hands should be used as a sign of respect. If it’s your turn to pour a drink to others, you should also use both hands. These are just some of them.

© Dingo Music - Tipsy Live

How about when drinking with friends or people of the same age? This is when the unique drinking games come in. When youngsters drink together, they usually play games such as mafia game, finger flick, baskin robbins, and more. You can see samples of these games played on Korean variety shows.

                                  © KBS -  The Effect of a Finger Flick on a Breakup

What do Koreans usually drink in this kind of gathering? Of course, you can’t leave out soju among all the alcoholic drinks. They also have different flavors and mixes for it. You might be familiar with somaek (a mixture of soju and beer). There’s also the makgeolli (rice wine) and the Korean beers which are usually modeled by top stars.

© Netflix- The King Eternal Monarch

After a long day of drinking, Koreans also have a way to somehow cure their hangovers. There are hangover drinks you can easily purchase in convenience stores. Another unique thing, Koreans cure their hangovers with hot and spicy soups. There are even dedicated restaurants for these kinds of hangover soups called haejangguk. There are different kinds of haejangguk with either pork, fish, beef, and more as the main ingredient.

How about in your country, do you also have a unique drinking culture? Share it with us in the comments!

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