Entertaining Korean Style
Entertaining Korean Style
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The Art of the Table - Entertaining Korean Style

The dishes are served on a low table and are eaten with chopsticks and spoons. The menu varies according to the social class of the guests. Thus until the beginning of the century you would find:
  • At the royal court: 5 soups and 12 dishes
  • In noble families: 3 soups and 9 dishes
  • In middle-class families: 2 soups and 7 dishes
  • In more modest households: 1 soup and 5 dishes

All the dishes are brought to the table at the same time to provide pleasure for the eye and palate. For dessert there are no pastries, but you'll find fresh fruit served either plain or flavored with ginger cooked in syrup, a cup of poricha (roasted barley tea) or a glass of soju, sweet potato liqueur.

When someone celebrates a 61st birthday - because here it is said that life expectancy is 60 years - the family organizes a kujolpan, a meal drawn from Japanese tradition in which "9 celestial varieties" are placed into the nine compartments of a large black lacquer tray. Each guest then places a "pajon," or thin green onion pancake, in the palm of his hand and tops it with meat, vegetables or egg from the tray; then the pancake is rolled up and dipped in the various sauces provided to each diner.

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