Language of Food

In addition to people with dietary restrictions or personal preferences, this page is aimed at learners of 🇰🇷Korean language🇰🇵, Korean foodies interested in improving their 🇬🇧English skills🇺🇸 and anyone fascinated by 🥢food culture🍴 in general.

If you cannot read Korean yet, here’s an easy and simple guide for learning the Korean letters!

On this page, you can find links to all corresponding articles, which deal with the themes language and food in Korea:

Are you overwhelmed by the extensive lists above, which mention too many items? If you would rather begin small and learn the essentials, here is a short overview of the most necessary Korean phrases and words regarding food below. 👇 With these basics, you know how to tell people that you are vegan🌱 / vegetarian🥕 and understand simple customs regarding eating etiquette in Korea.

Basic words

  • 🥕 (vegan or) vegetarian – 채식주의자 chaesik ju-ui-ja
  • 🥕🌱 vegan – 완전 채식주의자 wanjeon chaesik ju-ui-ja
  • 🌱 vegan – 비건 bigeon [new word that has not widely spread yet]
  • 🥩 meat – 고기 gogi
  • 🐟 fish – 생선 生鮮 saengseon
  • 🦐 seafood – 해산물 海産物 haesanmul
  • 🥛🧀 dairy – 유제품 乳製品 yujepum
  • 🥚🍳 egg – 계란 gyeran
  • 🐝🍯 honey – 꿀 kkul

  • 🍽 food – 음식 eumsik
  • 🍽 food (colloquial) / 🍚 cooked rice – 밥 bap
  • 🍽 food, meal (polite form) – 식사 siksa
  • 🥦 vegetable – 야채 yachae / 채소 chaeso
  • 🍎 fruit – 과일 gwa-il
  • 🥛 milk – 우유 uyu
  • 🧀 cheese – 치즈 chijeu
  • 🐟 anchovy – 멸치 myeolchi [Used in broth of most soups and stews.]
  • 🐟 fish sauce – 젓갈 jeotgal [Used in most kimchi.]
  • 🐚 shellfish, clams 조개 jogae
  • 🦐 shrimp 새우 sae-u
  • 🦀 crab – 게 ge
  • 🦑 squid – 오징어 ojing-eo
  • 🐙 octopus – 문어 muneo
  • 🐄 beef – 쇠고기 so-gogi
  • 🐖 pork – 돼지고기 dwaeji-gogi
  • 🐓 chicken meat – 닭고기 dak-gogi
  • 🦆 duck meat – 오리고기 ori-gogi
  • 🐑 mutton – 양고기 yang-gogi
  • 🐕 dog meat – 개고기 gae-gogi
  • 🐇 rabbit meat – 토끼고기 tokki-gogi
  • 🥓 grilled marinated meat – 불고기 bulgogi [from beef, pork or other]
  • 🌭 sausage – 소시지 sosiji
  • 🍱 lunch box – 도시락 dosirak
  • 🥡 take-out / order to go – 포장 pojang

Simple phrases

  • 🌱🥕 I am a (vegan /) vegetarian. – (완전) 채식주의자예요. Wanjeon chaesik ju-ui-ja yeyo.
  • 🌱🥕 I eat vegan/vegetarian food. – 채식해요. Chaesik haeyo.
  • 🌱 I am a vegan. – 저는 비건입니다. Jeoneun bigeon imnida.
    [“bigeon” is a new word that has not widely spread yet.]
  • 🚫🥩🐟🦐 I cannot eat meat, fish or seafood. – 저는 고기, 생선이나 해산물 못먹어요. Jeoneun gogi, saengseon-ina haesanmul mot meogeoyo.
  • 🚫🥛🧀🥚🍳🐝🍯 I cannot eat dairy, egg or honey. – 저는 유제품, 계란이나 꿀 못먹어요. Jeoneun yujepum, gyeran-ina kkul mot meogeoyo.
  • 🤧 I have an allergy. – 저는 알레르기가 있어요. Jeoneun allereugiga isseoyo. (alternative spellings for 알레르기 allereugi: 알러지 alleoji or 앨러지 aelleoji.)
  • 🤧🚫 I have an allergy against [milk🥛 / pollen🌼 / cats🐈]. – 저는 [우유🥛 / 꽃가루🌼 / 고양이🐈 ] 알레르기가 있어요. Jeoneun [uyu🥛 / kkotgaru🌼 / goyangi🐈] allereugiga isseoyo. (alternative spellings for 알레르기 allereugi: 알러지 alleoji or 앨러지 aelleoji.)

Common phrases of Korean food culture:

  • I will eat well. 잘 먹겠습니다. Jal meok-gess-seumnida. (literally “I will eat well.”)
    👉 Said BEFORE eating the meal.
    👉 Similar to 🇫🇷French “Bon appétit!”, 🇮🇹Italian “Buon appetito!”, 🇪🇸Spain “¡Buen provecho!”, 🇩🇪German “Guten Appetit!”, or 🇯🇵Japanese “いただきます!”
  • I have eaten well. 잘 먹었습니다. Jal meogeoss-seumnida. (literally “I have eaten well.”)
    👉 Said AFTER the meal.
  • Please help yourself! 많이 드세요! Manhi deuseyo! (literally “Please eat a lot!”)
    👉 Normally said by the host.
  • Please enjoy the food! 맛있게 드세요! Masikke deuseyo!
    👉 Similar to 🇩🇪German “Lass es dir schmecken! / Lassen Sie es sich schmecken!”
    👉 Normally said by the host.
  • Cheers! – 건배! Geonbae! [literally “Empty / dry the cups!”]
    👉 Similar to 🇫🇷French “Santé! / Tchin-tchin!”, 🇮🇹Italian “(Alla) salute!”, 🇩🇪German “Prost! / Prosit!”, 🇩🇰Danish “Skål!”, 🇨🇳Chinese “干杯!” or 🇯🇵Japanese “かんぱい!” (乾杯)

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✍️ Work is still in progress! This list will be expanded gradually! ✍️

❓ Didn’t find the word/sentence you need?
❗️ Send me a message! Or comment below!

📝 Any questions, comments, vocabulary suggestions and language feedback are welcome! 🤗

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