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10 Places to Visit in Seoul


Visiting Seoul can be an enchanting experience, but we all know how stressful planning a trip can be! If you have your heart set on exploring this unique South Korean city, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the best places to visit in Seoul, provide some practical information about the country, and cover a handful of useful phrases you can use to converse with locals.

Travelers Enjoying Their Time by the Ocean of Haeundae Beach in South Korea

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Before You Go…
  2. Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip
  3. Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)
  4. Korean Survival Phrases for Travelers
  5. Want to Learn More Survival Phrases? No Problem!

Before You Go…

Here’s some basic information about South Korea you should know before you travel to Seoul:

  • Language: Korean. (English is becoming increasingly common, as are Chinese and Japanese.)
  • Currency: KRW (won)
  • Electricity info: 220 volts (plugs have two round pins) 
  • Visa: Depending on where you’re from, you may or may not need to obtain a visa in advance. Some countries (including the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Slovenia, and Japan) are allowed up to ninety days, while other countries have different policies. Check out the website of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to see if you need to have a visa to enter South Korea. 
  • Payment methods: Most restaurants, cafes, shops, and even taxis accept credit cards. Because of this, most Koreans rarely carry cash. 
  • Average cost of a meal: While meal prices in South Korea can vary, the cheapest cost of food is about ₩2,500 (for a roll of Kimbap, for example). That said, the average cost of food in South Korea is about ₩29,301 per day. 
  • Technology: South Korea ranks among the most technologically advanced countries in the world. This creates plenty of benefits for travelers in the country, including access to free wifi just about everywhere: on the subway, in restaurants, in cafes, in public places, and so on. 

Transportation: Transportation in South Korea is easy to use, as all of the signs and announcements are written and announced in multiple languages, including Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese.

beautiful scenic shot of Jiri Mountain in South Korea

Must-See Places for a 1-3 Day Trip

Depending on how much time you have to visit this exciting city, you may need to prioritize your agenda to include the places and activities that matter most to you. If you’re on a tight schedule, then there are a few must-visit attractions in Seoul we highly recommend! 

Day 1 in Seoul 

경복궁 – “Gyeongbokgung Palace” (Google map)

경복궁 (gyeongbokgung), or “Gyeongbokgung Palace,” is the largest of the royal palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty and it’s located at the heart of the capital city. This place is famous for travelers walking around the palace dressed up in 한복 (hanbok), or traditional Korean clothing. It’s a great spot for Instagram pictures! You’ll also find guards all around the palace grounds. 

Gyeonbokgung regularly holds traditional Korean ceremonies, so do check out their website for more information. Travelers who visit here can also visit the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum of Korea.

인사동 – “Insadong” (Google map)

인사동 (insadong) is a popular location among travelers, who buy many souvenirs for their family and friends here. You can spend many hours just walking through the streets, exploring the authentic Korean hand-made shops and street food stalls. 

청계천 – “Cheonggyecheon” (Google map)

After spending a few hours shopping at Insadong, you can walk to 청계천 (Cheonggyecheon) to enjoy the sound of the river and take a nice stroll. It’s a great place to chill and get away from the city’s fast-paced lifestyle. Depending on the time of year, there are different exhibitions and events held here as well.

광화문 광장 – “Gwanghwamun Square” (Google map)

This place is a major tourist attraction in Seoul. The statues of the great naval admiral Yi Sun-sin and 세종 대왕 (sejong daewang), or “King Sejong,” are located here and there are many seasonal events in the square throughout the year. It is also a popular place for demonstrations to take place.

북촌한옥마을 – “Bukchon Hanok Village”(Google map)

Many have reported that once you enter 북촌한옥마을 (bukchonhanokmaul), or “Bukchon Hanok Village,” you feel as though you’ve been transported into the past. Like Gyeongbokgung Palace, this is another great place to dress up in Hanbok. It is one of the most-visited places in Seoul, with plenty of mesmerizing architecture to admire. However, while walking around this area, it’s important to respect the locals as it is a residential area.

A Korean Lady in a Pink Hanbok

Day 2 in Seoul

광장시장 – “Gwangjang Market” (Google map)

After your first day and night in Seoul, why not kick off your second day at Gwangjang Market? The market is both a shopping street and a street food area, and it’s famous for having a variety of outdoor food courts. 

서울타워 – “Seoul Tower” (Google map)

서울타워 (Seoultawo), or “Seoul Tower,” previously known as 남산타워 (namsantawo), is a popular location among local couples because there’s a spot to place love locks. On the other hand, travelers enjoy the tower because it offers a view of the entire city. 

명동 – “Myeongdong” (Google map)

명동 (Myeongdong) is a well-known shopping district, featuring many famous Korean cosmetic shops, clothing stores, and some amazing street food. If you’re looking to buy some cosmetics or small gifts for your family or friends, this is the perfect place to do so.

Day 3 in Seoul

인왕산 – “Inwangsan Mountain” (Google map)

인왕산 (Inwangsan), or “Inwang Mountain,” is one of the best places to hike in Seoul, and the entire hike takes about two to three hours. Locals love visiting this place, especially later in the day when they can enjoy the evening light of Seoul. It seems that travelers visit the mountain during the night while locals tend to visit in the evening. If you want to enjoy both, it’s best to start hiking about one or two hours before sunset.

동대문디자인플라자 – “Dongdaemun Design Plaza” (Google map)

The plaza is very easy to visit via subway, and it’s a design-lover’s paradise! The building features a minimalist style of architecture, and if you go inside, you’ll find many shops that sell special items made in Korea. Also, if you visit during Fashion Week, you’ll be able to see many K-pop stars as well as famous Korean fashion models!

강남 – “Gangnam” (Google map)

I’m sure you’ve heard of Gangnam, most likely via the world-famous K-pop star PSY. This is a wonderful place to enjoy shopping and dining, and it’s also a popular meet-up spot for many young locals. You can buy fashionable clothing and cosmetics here, and even visit an underground shopping mall (such as COEX) to find clothes at a cheaper price and enjoy a range of other activities. 

봉은사 – “Bongeunsa” (Google map)

Many tourists enjoy visiting temples in Korea. While there are many temples in Seoul, Bongeunsa is one of the most popular among locals and tourists alike. After spending some time in the bustling Gangnam District, why don’t you take a walk around Bongeunsa and enjoy the peace and quiet?

A Lady Holding a Korean Flag with a Big Smile

Highly Recommended Places for a 4-7 Day Trip (or Longer)

Do you have a longer trip planned? Great! That will give you time to add a few more memorable locations to your itinerary. Here are a few more must-visit Seoul places that are perfect for more flexible schedules. 

한강 – “The Han River” (Google map)

The Han River, or Hangang, is a major hangout area for locals. People can enjoy various activities such as cycling, running, or eating outside with friends. This place is very popular among younger Koreans because you can have food delivered to you while enjoying the outdoors.

이태원 – “Itaewon” (Google map)

If you feel like having a Western dish or have to find places that offer halal food, Itaewon is the place to go. This place is filled with American-style restaurants and bars, as well as plenty of events and parties (including major Halloween parties!). People who live near or often visit this location tend to be very international-minded too, which can make you feel like you’re not even in Korea. 

서울 시립 미술관 – “Seoul Museum of Art” (Google map)

Located behind the Decksungung Palace, this museum is known for its large collection of artwork, most of which is from the modern era. Its artwork collection is displayed over three floors, and the museum has its own collection as well as special exhibitions.

롯데월드 타워 – “Lotte World Tower” (Google map)

Lotte World Tower is the tallest observation deck in Korea, soaring in the air at 123 stories (556 meters or 1824 feet) tall. It’s filled with luxury hotels and shopping malls, and there are often firework shows held in the evenings.

진왕사, 북한산 국립공원 – “Jingwansa Temple,” “Bukhansan National Park” (Google map)

What travelers enjoy the most about Seoul is that you can enjoy both city life and nature. Bukhansan National Park is a wonderful hiking destination where traditional buildings are surrounded by hiking trails. There’s also a temple deep in the mountain where you can have an overnight visit and participate in cultural and learning programs.

Korean Flag Image

Korean Survival Phrases for Travelers 

If you can speak English, you will have no difficulty traveling around Seoul since the majority of young Koreans can speak English, as well as Japanese or Chinese. Many modern restaurants and cafes have menus in English as well. If you want to immerse yourself in the culture and visit Seoul like a local, then you’ll need to learn some basic Korean to get around. Here are the top ten most useful Korean survival phrases for you. 

1. “Hello.” – 안녕하세요. (Annyeonghaseyo.)  

The Korean language has many different politeness levels, and it’s recommended that you stick to the polite form when speaking with Korean locals. 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo) is a polite way of saying hello to people. You’ll also hear a different greeting from restaurant, hotel, or shop staff: 어서오세요 (eoseooseyo). When you hear this, simply reply with 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo)

[As you enter a cafe]

Staff Member: 


2. “Thank you.” – 감사합니다. (Gamsahamnida.)

This is a polite way to thank someone in Korea. When you say this to a clerk, you’ll likely hear one of two responses: 

  • 아니예요 (aniyeyo) – “not at all” 
  • 네 (ne) – “okay”

[As you receive a take-out coffee from an employee]

“Thank you.”

Staff Member:

3. “Goodbye.” – 안녕히 계세요. (Annyeonghi gyeseyo.) / 안녕히 가세요. (Annyeonghi gaseyo.

There are two ways to say “goodbye” in Korean: 안녕히 계세요 (annyeonghi gyeseyo) and 안녕히가세요 (annyeonghi gaseyo). 

안녕히 가세요 (annyeonghi gaseyo) is used when you say “goodbye” to someone who is leaving. On the other hand, 안녕히 계세요 (annyeonghi gyeseyo) is used when you are the one leaving and the other person is staying.

[As you leave a cafe]

Staff Member:  
Annyeonghi gaseyo.

안녕히 계세요.
Annyeonghi gyeseyo.

4. “Sorry.” – 죄송합니다. (Joesonghamnida.)

죄송합니다 (joesonghamnida) is the most commonly used phrase for saying sorry to someone, though you can also say 미안합니다 (mianhamnida); the two phrases have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. However, if you want to say “sorry” or “excuse me” so you can get through a crowd, you should say one of these two phrases instead:

  • 실례합니다 (sillyehamnida) – “excuse me”
  • 지나가겠습니다 (jinagagessseumnida) – “passing through”

[When you step on someone’s foot by mistake]


5. “Sure.” / “Okay.” – 좋아요. (Joayo.

좋아요 (joayo) means “like something,” but is also used to say “sure” or “okay” in Korean. If someone asks a question and you want to say “sure,” simply say 좋아요 (joayo).


오늘 5시에 볼까요?
Oneul daseosie bolkkayo?
“Shall we meet at 5?”


6. “I don’t/can’t speak Korean.” – 한국말 못해요. (Hangugmal mothaeyo.)

You will have no problem ordering food at a cafe or restaurant since most of the staff (university students) can speak decent English. However, many older restaurants run by locals don’t have an English menu or English-speaking staff. To say that you don’t understand or speak Korean, simply say: 한국말 못해요. (Hangugmal motaeyo.)

[When an old person comes to you and speaks to you in Korean]

죄송합니다. 한국말 못해요.
Joesonghamnida. Hangugmal motaeyo.
“Sorry, I don’t speak Korean.”

7. “Where is the restroom?” – 화장실은 어디에 있어요? (Hwajangsireun eodie isseoyo?)

Let’s break it down: 

  • 화장실 (hwajangsil) – “toilet”
  • 어디에 (eodie) – “where”
  • 있어요 (isseoyo) – “is at”

Most restrooms are located near the stairway and the door is always locked for safety reasons. Therefore, it’s always good to ask a staff member directly and get a key (or a key number) so that you can enter. 


화장실은 어디에 있어요?
Hwajangsireun eodie isseoyo?
“Where is the bathroom?”

Staff Member: 
밖에 있어요. 키 가지고 가세요.
Bakke isseoyo. Ki gajigo gaseyo.
“It’s outside. You need to take a key with you.”

8. “How much is it?” – 이거/저거 얼마예요. (Igeo/Jeogeo eolmayeyo.)

We’ll break this one down, too:

  • 이거 (igeo) – “this”
  • 저거 (jeogeo) – “that”
  • 얼마에요 (eolmayeyo) – “how much”

When you’re at an underground shopping mall, it’s a good idea to carry cash with you since the staff will offer additional discounts for people who purchase items with cash. 


You (pointing at a bag):
이거 얼마예요?
Igeo eolmayeyo?
“How much is this?”

Staff Member:  
“50,000 won.”

9. “I want this.” – 이거 주세요. (Igeo juseyo.)

This phrase is commonly used when shopping or ordering food. When you want to order something from a menu and don’t know how to pronounce it, simply point your finger at its picture and say this phrase. 

[You are at an underground shopping mall]

Staff Member: 
“What would you like to order?”

이거 주세요.
Igeo juseyo.
“I want this, please.”

10. “Help!” – 도와주세요! (Dowajuseyo!)

도와주세요 (dowajuseyo) is a polite way to ask for someone’s help in Korean. On the other hand, 살려주세요! (Sallyeojuseyo!) is a stronger phrase used to call for help. It means “Please save (my life),” so if you say this, people will instantly understand that immediate action (such as calling 112) is required. 


누구 없어요? 도와 주세요.
Nugu eopsseoyo? Dowa juseyo.
“Somebody, help!”

There are many emergency assistance services available in Korea for foreigners. Remember to keep these emergency numbers with you at all times in case of an emergency. 

  • Police: 112
  • Fire and ambulance: 119
  • Medical emergencies: 129
  • Foreigner community service: 02-798-7529
  • Seoul help office: 02-3140-1903
  • International SOS Korea LTD: 02-3150-1700

A Guy Holding a Suitcase is at an Airport about to Travel to Korea

Want to Learn More Survival Phrases? No Problem!

Here are more useful pages where you can learn additional Korean phrases before traveling to Korea! 

You can also create an account on KoreanClass101 to learn even more essential Korean phrases and how to use them. 

Before you go, we’re curious: Have you ever visited Korea, or will this be your first time? If you’ve been before, share your experience with us in the comments below!

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Everything You Should Know About Konglish & Korean Loanwords


There are three main word classes in the Korean language: pure Korean words, Sino-Korean words, and foreign words. The foreign words can be broken down further into loanwords and Konglish. 

Konglish refers to words taken directly from the English language and used in Korean. These words are often used with a different meaning than that of the original word, or have a Koreanized pronunciation. Examples include: 

  • 바나나 (banana) – “banana”
  • 뉴욕 (nyeuyok) – “New York” 

In this article, you’ll learn more about Konglish along with other commonly used English words in the Korean language. Let’s get started! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Konglish
  2. A Brief List of Konglish Words
  3. List of Loanwords
  4. English Words Derived from Korean
  5. How KoreanClass101.com Can Help With Your Korean Learning

Introduction to Konglish

Koreans use many English words every day, but foreigners struggle to understand 콩글리시 (Konglish) because the original meanings of the English words are altered and translated differently in Korean. Many English speakers are puzzled by Konglish because the words do sound English, but they do not exist in the English language and have different meanings. 

Here are some examples of Konglish:

  • 리모콘 (rimokon) – “remote control” 
  • 사인 (sain) – “signature” 
  • 아파트 (apateu) – “apartment” 
  • 슈퍼 (syupeo) – “supermarket’ 
  • 셀프 (selpeu) – “self-service”

A Man on the Bus Studying Korean on His Laptop

A Brief List of Konglish Words

Now that you’ve learned what Konglish is, you’re ready to dive in! In this section, we’ll introduce the most commonly used Konglish words in Korea. 

1) 레포츠 (reportseu) – “leisure” and “sports” 

  • English meaning: Combination of “leisure” and “sports”
  • Korean meaning: The sports that are considered luxurious in Korea


레포츠의 종류는 많아요. 
Repocheuui jonglyuneun mannayo.
“There are many kinds of leisure activities.”

예를 들면 승마, 골프, 산악자전거, 카누, 패러글라이딩 등등이 있어요. 
Yereul deulmyeon seungma, golpeu, sanakjajeongeo, kanu, paereogeullaiding deungdeungi isseoyo.
“Examples include horse riding, golfing, mountain biking, canoeing, paragliding, and so on.”

2) 리조텔 (lijotel) – “resort” and “hotel” 

  • English meaning: Combination of “resort” and “hotel”
  • Korean meaning: Resort and hotel


부산에 괜찮은 리조텔 찾아보자. 
Busane gwaenchaneun rijotel chajaboja.
“Let’s find a good resortel in Busan.”

설악산 리조텔 특가
seoraksana rijotel teukga
“Seoraksan Resortel Deals”

3) 셀카 (selka) – “self” and “camera selfie” 

  • English meaning: Selfie
  • Korean meaning: To take a picture of yourself

Note that selka came from “self” and “camera.”


야, 셀카 같이 찍자! 
Ya, selka gat-i jjigja!
“Hey, let’s take a selfie!”

4) 매스컴 (maseukom) – “mass media”

  • English meaning: “Mass communication” and “mass media” 
  • Korean meaning: Mass communication


매스컴이 사회에 미치는 영향 
maeseukeomi sahoee michineun yeonghyang
“the impact of media on society”

5) 아르바이트 (areubaiteu) – “part-time job”

  • Meaning: “Job” and “work” 
  • Korean meaning: A part-time job, such as at a supermarket or restaurant

Note that areubaiteu comes from the German word “Arbeit,” and is influenced by the Japanese derivative of this word (arubaito). 


“Where are you going?”

나 7시부터 아르바이트 있어서 가야돼. 
Na ilgopsibuteo aleubaiteu iss-eoseo gayadwae.
“I need to go because I have work from seven p.m.”

6) 호치키스 (hochikiseu) – “stapler”

E.H. Hotchkiss is the name of a stapler-making company, which is why Koreans call staplers 호치키스 (hochikiseu), or “hotchkiss.”


호치키스 사고 싶어요. 
Hochikiseu sago sipeoyo.
“I want to buy a stapler.”

7) 아이쇼핑 (aishopping) – “window shopping”

“Eye shopping” is the Koreanized word for “window shopping,” and these two words have the same meaning.


쇼핑하고 싶은데 돈이 없네. 
Syopinghago sipeun de doni eomne.
“I want to go shopping, but I’m broke.”

그럼 아이쇼핑하러 가자! 
Geureom aisyopinghareo gaja!
“Let’s go window shopping then!”

8) 콘센트 (konsenteu) – “electrical outlet” 

  • English meaning: ‘Consent’ is a Konglish word referring to an outlet/socket/power point.
  • Korean meaning: Electrical outlet

Koreans also call electrical outlets 돼지코 (dwaejiko), meaning “pig nose,” because outlets resemble the nose of a pig. 


호주 콘센트는 한국이랑 다르지?
Hoju konsenteuneun hangugirang dareuji?
“The Australian outlet is different from the Korean one, right?”

응 달라.
Eung dalla.
“Yes, it’s different.”

9) 노트북 (noteubuk) – “laptop” 

  • English meaning: “Laptop”
  • Korean meaning: It is a combination of the words “note” and “book.” In Korea, the word “notebook” refers to a “laptop.”


노트북 갖다줄래?
Notubuk gatdajullae?
“Can you pass me my laptop?”

자 여기.
Ja yeogi.
“Sure, here you go.”

아니, 공책말고, 노트북! 
Ani, gongchaekmalgo, noteubuk!
“No, I meant a notebook (laptop), not a notebook!”

아. 응 미안.
A. Eung mian.
“Ah, sorry.”

Other Konglish Words

  • 헬스 (helseu) – “health club” / “fitness center” 
  • 클래식 (keullaesik) – “classical music” 
  • 탤런트 (taellenteu) – “TV actor” 
  • 컨닝 (cunning) – “cheating” 
  • 샤프 (syapeu) – “mechanical pencil” 
  • 핸들 (handeul) – “steering wheel”

A Man Waiting for the Subway, Using His iPad to Study Korean

List of Loanwords

In addition to Konglish, there are several English loanwords in the Korean language. These are words taken directly from English without translation; they mean the same thing as their English counterparts, but have Koreanized spelling and pronunciation. 

토크쇼tokeusyotalk show
아이스크림aiseukeurimice cream
훌라후프hulaheupeuhula hoop
쇼핑백syopingbaekshopping bag

While many English loanwords in Korean relate to food, sports, and shopping, there is also a wealth of loanwords related to technology. To learn more about these words, visit the following pages on KoreanClass101.com:

A Man at the Library Studying Korean

English Words Derived from Korean

While there are numerous English words used in Korean, this language and culture exchange goes both ways! Several Korean words have entered the English language and are now used on a daily basis in English-speaking countries. Here are just a few examples. 

1) 먹방 (meokbang

A meokbang is an online broadcast in which a host consumes large quantities of food while interacting with the audience. The host tries a variety of foods, such as pizza or spicy noodles, in front of a camera.


라면 18봉지 먹방
ramyeon sippalbongji meokbang
“18 bags of ramen meokbang”

치즈 돈까스 20개와 크림스프 먹방
Chijeu donkkaseu isipgaewa keurimseupeu meokbang
“20 cheese cutlet and cream soup meokbang”

2) 재벌 (jaebeol

Chaebol refers to a conglomerate business entity. This word appears a lot in Korean dramas.  


저기 있는 남자 재벌이래!
Jeogi itsneun namja jaebeol-ilae!
“The man over there is a chaebol!”

3) 비빔밥 (bibimbap

You may have heard of—or even tried—this dish already. Bibimbap means “mixed rice,” and there are several varieties of this dish, including some vegetarian options. 

The most popular type is 돌솥비빔밥 (dolsotbibimbap), which means “mixed rice in a (hot) stone pot.” The rice is placed inside a stone pot along with vegetables, meats, and egg. The pot is then placed over a fire so that the food is sizzling hot when served. Most service staff will warn you that the pot is very hot and should not be touched until it cools. 


비빔밥 종류가 너무 많아서 못 고르겠어! 
Bibimbap jongnyuga neomu manaseo mot goreugesseo!
“There are so many types of bibimbap, so I can’t choose!”

돌솥비빔밥이 제일 맛있어. 먹어봐.
Dolsotbibimbabi jeil masisseo. Meogeobwa.
“Dolsot Bibimbap is the best. Try it. ”

4) 태권도 (taegwondo)

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that emphasizes head-height kicks, jumping spinning kicks, and various kicking techniques for above the waist. Taekwondo practitioners wear a uniform called 도복 (dobok), which is a white-colored uniform with a belt tied around the waist. There are different-colored belts that correspond to one’s skill level. 


태권도 시작한지 얼마 되지 않은 사람은 하얀 벨트를 매요.
Taegwondo sijakhanji eolma doeji anneun sarameun hayan belteuleul maeyo.
“People who have just started Taekwondo wear white belts.”

태권도를 오래한 사람은 검은 벨트를 매요. 
Taegwondoreul oraehan sarameun geomeun belteureul maeyo.
“People who are experienced in Taekwondo wear black belts.”

5) 불고기 (bulgogi)

Clay Pot Bulgogi Dish

Bulgogi means “fire meat,” and it refers to a dish of marinated slices of beef grilled on a barbecue with different kinds of vegetables. Sirloin, rib eye, and brisket are the most common ingredients for this dish.


외국인이 좋아하는 한식은 무엇이 있을까? 
Oegugini joahaneun hansigeun mueosi isseulkka?
“What Korean foods do foreigners like?”

고기 좋아한다면 불고기 추천! 
Gogi joahandamyeon bulgogi chucheon!
“I recommend Bulgogi if they like meat!”

6) 소주 (soju)

Soju is a Korean alcoholic beverage that comes in a green glass bottle. This is the most popular alcoholic drink in Korean restaurants and it goes well with grilled meat. In recent years, the company that produces Soju beverages has released a variety of flavors—such as fruit-flavored Soju—to meet consumers’ needs. 


소주에도 종류가 많다는거 알고 있었나요? 
Sojuedo jongnyuga mantaneungeo algo isseonnayo?
“Did you know that there are many types of Soju?”

네, 최근에 과일맛 소주도 나왔더라구요. 
Ne, choegeune gwailmat sojudo nawatdeoraguyo.
“Yes, there was a fruit-flavored Soju recently.”

7) 갈비 (galbi)

갈비 (galbi), which means “ribs” in Korean, is one of the most famous Korean dishes. It’s usually made with beef short ribs.


갈비 1인분 주세요. 
Galbi irinbun juseyo.
“I’d like to order one portion of galbi, please.”

8) 한복 (hanbok)

Hanbok is a traditional Korean clothing item that Koreans wear on special occasions such as Harvest Day, New Year’s Day, and so on. 


한복 너무 이쁘다. 나도 입어보고 싶어.
Hanbok neomu ippeuda. Nado ibeobogo sipeo.
“Hanbok is so pretty. I want to wear it too.”

그래? 광화문 가자! 거기서 한복 렌탈해주는곳 많아!
Geurae? Gwanghwamun gaja! Geogiseo hanbok rentalhaejuneungot manna!
“Yeah? Let’s go to Gwanghwamun then! There are many places where you can rent Hanbok!”

Other English Words Derived from Korean

  • 고추장 (gochujang) – “spicy pepper paste”
  • 막걸리 (makgeolri) – “rice wine”
  • 합기도 (hapgido) – “Korean martial art” 
  • 한글 (hangeul) – “Korean language”  
  • 김밥 (gimbap) – “Korean seaweed rice roll” 

How KoreanClass101.com Can Help With Your Korean Learning

In summary, we’ve explained the definition of “Konglish” and introduced you to some Konglish examples and loanwords. Which of these Konglish words is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! We look forward to hearing from you.

You can continue learning about Konglish and the Korean language on the following pages:

And of course, KoreanClass101.com provides so much more for our learners. From free resources and vocabulary lists to video and audio lessons for learners at every level, there’s so much in store for you. Create your free lifetime account and start learning Korean like never before with our fun and effective materials!

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A Brief Overview of Korean Culture


Every country has its own unique culture and South Korea is no exception. Understanding Korean culture and traditions is important if you’re planning to travel, study, or work in South Korea. This knowledge will also help you acquire the more advanced levels of the Korean language, since many idioms and old sayings are based on Korean culture. Finally, learning about South Korean culture will help you better understand the beliefs and customs of South Koreans, broaden your worldview, and make it possible to build closer relationships during your stay. 

Before we dive in, here are four interesting Korean culture facts:

1. You must take off your shoes when you enter someone’s house.

2. Korean women have little problem showing off their legs, but are very conservative about showing cleavage. 

3. Lots of Korean people, especially younger Koreans, can speak decent English.

4. Korean men are expected to pay for dinner when on a date.

And this only scratches the surface! Keep reading for more practical information about the culture of South Korea. By the way, we encourage you to check out “Korean Etiquette: 7 Do’s and Don’ts in Korea” and  “10 Korean Hand Gestures You Need to Know” on our blog to learn even more Korean culture specifics.

Now let’s dive in!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Values and Beliefs
  2. Family and Work
  3. Food
  4. Traditional Holidays
  5. How Our Website Can Help You Master Korean

1. Values and Beliefs

A Statue of Confucius

A- 유교사상 (yugyosasang) – “Confucianism”

유교사상 (yugyosasang), or “Confucianism,” has had a major influence on Korean culture

It emphasizes the importance of harmonious human interactions and promotes the idea that relationships are unequal, defined by hierarchical roles. Confucianism formally believes that when you accept and respect inequality, it becomes a lot easier to maintain healthy, harmonious relationships with the people around you. 

In Korean culture, Confucianism plays a large role in how people interact with each other. Here are just a few examples:

  • Families are more important than individuals.
  • Men and women have separate roles.
  • Loyalty is an important trait to have.
  • Elders should be respected and obeyed.

However, Confucianism is slowly fading away and the younger generations are becoming more and more Westernized and individualistic. Moreover, younger Koreans reject the traditional idea of gender roles and promote gender equality. 

B- 철학과 종교 (cheolhakgwa jonggyo) – “Korean Philosophies and Religions”

In South Korea, all of the world’s major 종교 (jonggyo), or “religions,” peacefully coexist. 

A few popular religions and belief systems in South Korea include: 

  • 기독교 (gidokgyo) – “Christianity”
  • 불교 (bulgyo) – “Buddhism”
  • 유교 (yugyo) – “Confucianism”
  • 이슬람 (iseullam) – “Islam”

불교 (bulgyo), or “Buddhism,” arrived in Korea in 372, and since then, many Buddhist temples have been built across the country. 유교 (yugyo), or “Confucianism,” was adopted as the state ideology during the Joseon Dynasty and became extremely influential to the Korean culture. 

천주교 (cheonjugyo), or “Catholicism” was introduced to Korea in the late 조선시대 (joseonsidae), or “Joseon Era.” During that time, people who followed the Roman Catholic religion were subjected to persecution, but the religion continued to spread across the country. 

To learn more on the topic of religion in South Korea, you can check out the following materials on KoreanClass101.com:

Korean People Wear Hanbok on Special Occasions

2. Family and Work

Family and work are two key components in any society, so learning about Korean customs and beliefs concerning these topics will help you more easily integrate into the culture. 

A- 가족 우선주의 (gajok useonjuui) – “Family Always Comes First”

Korean culture values 가족 (gajok), or “family,” even placing family before the individual. 

For example, Koreans believe that every member of the family is connected and that the actions of one family member reflect on the entire family. Therefore, if someone commits a crime or does something wrongful to another person/group/society, it will put shame on that person’s entire family. This belief is influenced by Confucianism, which emphasizes the importance of putting family first, showing loyalty, and respecting elders. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Korean family culture, check out our blog articles:

You can also study our useful Korean family-related vocabulary lists:

B- 개인 업적보다 팀워크 (gaein eopjeokboda timwokeu) – “Teamwork Over Individuality”

Korean culture has clear hierarchical structures in the workplace. The higher your position, the more power and respect you will have. Therefore, the work environment can be very tough for those who are new to the workforce or company, since they’re at the bottom of the hierarchical structure. Their opinions won’t carry as much weight in team meetings, it will be difficult to say “no” to managers, and colleagues who have been working at the company for many years may purposely put them in difficult situations just for being new.

Also, Korean companies value “teamwork,” so team building events are very important to them. These events could focus only on your team members, though sometimes the whole company will participate. Usually, the group will go to the countryside together and stay there over the weekend. For younger employees, there will be parties in the evening as well.  

Here are a few useful Korean work-related vocabulary lists for you to review:

A Korean Lady in a Pink Hanbok

3. Food

한국의 음식 문화 (hangugui eumsik munhwa), or “Korean food culture,” is a crucial topic to study before heading over to South Korea!

쌀 (ssal), or “rice,” is the main staple of the Korean diet. It’s usually accompanied by side dishes such as various kimchis, vegetables, and soups. 

김치 (gimchi), or “kimchi,” is one of the most popular Korean dishes. Kimchi is fermented cabbage with a mix of vegetables and spicy pepper powder. Popular kimchi vegetables include cucumbers, radishes, and green onions. Beef and pork are very expensive in Korea, so the Korean diet usually focuses more on vegetables and fish. 

In Korea, it’s common to fight over who pays the bill at a restaurant, but people who are older or of a higher status are usually expected to pay. When at a restaurant with friends, you’ll have to act appropriately depending on the atmosphere. Younger people prefer to either ‘go dutch,’ or pay for one meal and expect his/her friend to pay for the meal next time.

Feeling hungry yet? Here are some useful food-related materials on our website:

4. Traditional Holidays

There are a few 한국의 전통 명절 (hangugui jeontong myeongjeol), or “traditional Korean holidays,” that you should know about before your visit. 

Koreans believe their ancestors are protecting their family, so it’s very important to keep their ancestors’ memorial days. Several times a year, family members gather together and celebrate their ancestors. This is commonly done on the Korean ‘Thanksgiving’ holiday 추석 (chuseok) and on 설날 (seollal), or “New Year’s Day.” 

Korean women (especially daughters-in-law) cook traditional Korean food and bring it to the ancestors’ graves. Traditionally, men are not allowed to be in the kitchen because Korean mothers don’t like seeing their sons help their wife cook and wash dishes. However, this traditional notion is slowly changing. Nowadays, the celebration happens less frequently, families rarely gather together, and men more actively help in the kitchen.

Interested in learning more about traditional Korean holidays? We have several lessons and blog posts we think you’ll love! 

Many Layers of Mountains in Korea

5. How Our Website Can Help You Master Korean

In this Korean culture overview, you learned about the most crucial elements of life in South Korea, from Confucianism to popular dishes. If you would like to learn even more about Korean culture, we recommend visiting our Korean Culture Class lessons. They will take you on a journey through South Korea with an assortment of tips, cultural points, and practical insight. Here are a few lesson series we recommend:

We hope you enjoyed this lesson! If you have any further Korean culture questions, please leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you. Good luck with your Korean studies and have a great day!

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17 Authentic Korean Foods You Must Try


Many foreigners think that all Korean foods are spicy and hot, but this is not true. There are plenty of non-spicy dishes you can enjoy! 

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the top seventeen famous Korean dishes and give you a glimpse of the typical Korean restaurant atmosphere.

Restaurants are one of the most fun places to practice your Korean skills. The waiters and waitresses are friendly to travelers and will be willing to help you choose dishes that aren’t too spicy for you. 

Before we continue, we’d like to give a friendly warning: You’ll be hungry for Korean food by the time you finish reading!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Must-Try Dishes in Korean Restaurants
  2. Authentic Korean Food vs. Overseas Food
  3. Unique Korean Foods to Try
  4. Food-Related Vocabulary
  5. Simple Recipes to Make Authentic Korean Food at Home
  6. Hungry and Want to Go to Korean Restaurants?

1. Must-Try Dishes in Korean Restaurants


Close-up shot of Bulgogi (Photo by brappy!, under CC BY-SA 2.0)

A- 불고기 (bulgogi) – Marinated Beef Barbecue – Recipe

불고기 (bulgogi) is a marinated grilled beef dish you must try when visiting a Korean restaurant. 

Interestingly, 불 (bul) means “fire” and 고기 (gogi) means “meat.” The name might make you think the dish is spicy, but that’s not the case at all. The “fire” refers to the barbecue-style cooking method. In order to cook 불고기 (bulgogi), people use sirloin, tenderloin, or ribeye with a sauce that’s both sweet and savory. This is one of the most popular non-spicy dishes in Korea.

Here’s an interesting fact about this dish: 불고기 (bulgogi) originated from the 고구려 (goguryeo) era. Meats were very expensive at that time, so the dish was served only for the wealthy nobles, such as kings and queens. How lucky we are to be able to enjoy such delicious food in modern times! 

If you want to try bulgogi and other Korean barbeque dishes, look for Korean restaurants with this label: 고기집 (gogijip). This means “Meat House” or “Meat Restaurant.”


A close-up shot of Samgyetang (Photo by Eugene Kim, under CC BY 2.0)

B- 삼계탕 (samgyetang) – Chicken Soup – Recipe 

삼계탕 (samgyetang) is another non-spicy dish that you can enjoy in Korea. This dish is also known as “Ginseng chicken soup” and it’s extremely healthy. A whole chicken is filled with various healthful ingredients such as garlic, rice, and ginseng, and then boiled in a pot for many hours. 

You may be surprised to hear that this soup is a Korean cuisine staple during the summer. This is because of  a three-day period called 삼복 (sambok), or “Sambok days,” during which the weather reaches its hottest point. Koreans eat 삼계탕 (samgyetang) during the hottest days because the soup is believed to promote health.

There are many Korean restaurants that specialize in samgyetang. Look for signs that read: 삼계탕집 (samgyetangjip). This means “Samgyetang House” or “Samgyetang Restaurant.”


A shot of Japchae on a white plate (Photo by Korean Culture and Information Service (Kim Sunjoo), under CC BY 2.0)

C- 잡채 (japchae) – Stir-Fried Noodles – Recipe 

잡채 (japchae) literally means “mixed vegetables.” 

This is a sweet and savory dish of stir-fried sweet potato starch noodles and vegetables. Ingredients vary from place to place, and you can skip the meat if you’re vegan. In fact, japchae is one of the most-loved dishes by vegetarians and vegans. 

By default, slices of beef are added to the dish. If you don’t want the meat, you can ask your waiter: 고기 빼주세요. (Gogi ppaejuseyo.) or “Please remove the meat.”


A close-up shot of bibimbap (Photo by Satomi Abe, under CC BY 2.0)

D- 비빔밥 (bibimbap) – Mixed Rice – Recipe

A popular dish in Korean cuisine, bibimbap means “mixed rice.” You’ve probably heard of this dish before and you may have even tried it already!

There are many different kinds of bibimbap. The most popular type is 돌솥비빔밥 (dolsotbibimbap), or “mixed rice in a (hot) stone pot.” The rice and vegetables, meats, and egg are placed within a stone pot, which is then placed over a hot fire; the pot is sizzling hot when served. Most service staff will warn you that the pot is very hot and should not be touched until it cools. 

There’s also a variety of vegetarian bibimbap dishes that you can enjoy.

2. Authentic Korean Food vs. Overseas Food

Many famous dishes from outside of the country have been localized in Korea, making them far from authentic. Here’s a list of Korean foods that originally came from overseas. 

A- Korean Pizza vs. Italian Pizza 

피자 (pija), or “pizza,” is a popular delivery food item that Koreans love. Many Korean pizza companies have invented ‘Koreanized’ pizzas, some of which are only available in Korea. The price of pizza is relatively cheap since you can order a set menu item that includes a pizza, a large bottle of Coke, spaghetti, french fries, etc., for a reasonable price. 

Some Koreanized pizzas include:

  • Sweet potato pizza
  • Potato and sweet corn pizza
  • Steak and shrimp pizza
  • Cheese crust pizza 
  • And many more!

Are you curious about Korean pizzas? Then type 한국 피자 (hanguk pija), meaning “Korean pizza,” online and see some pictures of these delicious dishes. 

B- Korean Curry vs. Indian Curry

If you ask any of your Korean friends what Korean curry is, they’ll probably mention 3분 카레 (sambun kare), or “three-minute curry.” 

This dish is manufactured curry that’s purchased inside a reheatable aluminum package. All you need to do is put the package in boiling water and heat it in a microwave for three minutes. Meat and vegetables are already included inside and you can enjoy the curry with a bowl of rice that you prepare yourself. 한국 카레 (hanguk kare) tastes very different from the original curries from India. 

C- Korean Hot Dog vs. American Hot Dog

When you think of a hot dog, you instantly imagine the delicious grilled sausage that’s placed inside a bun with ketchup or other condiments. 

한국 핫도그 (hanguk hotdogeu), or “Korean hot dogs,” are very different. They taste slightly sweeter and look like a corn dog. Some include french fries in the batter, and street vendors sprinkle sugar and add ketchup or honey mustard sauce on the batter. 

D- Korean Macaron vs. French Macaron

Macarons are a very popular French dessert and Korea has its own unique version. 

The first notable difference is the size, with a 마카롱 (makarong) being a lot larger than the French original. Koreans also put triple the amount of filling in their version than the French do in theirs. So if you have a sweet tooth, try a Korean macaron!

3. Unique Korean Foods to Try

Now let’s look at a few Korean cuisine dishes you won’t find anywhere else. These are a bit different from the other foods we’ve covered so far, so brace yourself for a flavorful adventure!


Close-up shot of sannakji (Photo by LWY, under CC BY 2.0)

A- 산낙지 (sannakji) – Raw Octopus Dish – Recipe

산낙지 (sannakji) is a raw dish made with long-arm octopus. The octopus is chopped into small pieces and marinated with sesame oil and sesame seeds. You can eat it as-is or dip it in 고추장 (gochujang), or “spicy red pepper paste.”

What makes this dish unique is that the octopus pieces are still active when the dish is served. People who aren’t used to eating raw fish have difficulty eating this dish. Nevertheless, lots of visitors report having enjoyed the dish, so why not give it a try next time you visit Korea? This dish is available at Korean seafood restaurants that serve sliced raw fish.

Marinated Crab

A shot of marinated crab, bottom-right (Photo by LWY, under CC BY 2.0)

B- 간장게장 (ganjanggejang) – Raw Crabs Marinated in Soy Sauce – Recipe

To make 간장게장 (ganjanggejang), crab is marinated and fermented in soy sauce. There’s a spicy version of it too, called 양념게장 (yangnyeomgejang). You’d be hard-pressed to find this dish in a Korean restaurant in your country, so take your chances while in South Korea and have some delicious marinated crabs with a bowl of rice! 

Did you know that this dish is known as 밥도둑 (bapdoduk) in Korea? The translation of this word is “rice thief,” referring to the fact that the dish tastes so great you’ll end up eating a large quantity of rice.


Close-up shot of dotorimuk (Photo by HapaK, under CC BY-SA 2.0)

C- 도토리묵 (dotorimuk) – Acorn Starch Jelly – Recipe 

도토리묵 (dotorimuk) is a jelly made from acorn starch. 

Although dotorimuk itself is tasteless, it’s usually served with a sauce consisting of sliced carrots, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, red chili pepper powder, and sesame seeds—this ingredient combination tastes great! You’ll enjoy the soft texture of the acorn starch and the hint of spiciness from the sauce. 

It’s served as a side dish these days, usually at a Korean barbecue restaurant or in some authentic Korean restaurants, but it can be served as a standalone dish as well. If you order this, try it with a bottle of 소주 (soju) or 막걸리 (makgeolli), meaning “rice wine”!


A shot of Hongeohoe (Photo by Yun Seon Hong, under CC BY 2.0)

D- 홍어회 (hongeohoe) – Fermented Skate (Available at Markets)

Are you thinking about creating a hilarious video clip of you or your friends trying out a weird dish? Then 홍어회 (hongeohoe), a fermented fish dish from Korea, is the way to go!  

It’s made with skate and emits a very strong, unpleasant ammonia-like odor. It’s usually served  sashimi-style and eaten together with bossam and kimchi. It may also be served with 막걸리 (makgeolli), or “rice wine,” which supposedly helps with digestion. Do be cautious before trying this dish; not many Koreans like it and the odor is sometimes so strong that it makes people want to throw it out. 

Still want to give it a try? This dish is sold in various markets in Korea. 

E- 미더덕 (mideoduk) – Stylela Clava – Recipe

미더덕 (mideoduk), or “Stylela clava,” is one of the most popular Korean cuisine ingredients for 해물탕 (haemultang) or 해물찜 (haemuljjim), and it has an interesting texture. This ingredient is very healthy, and Koreans love it for that reason. 

4. Food-Related Vocabulary

Are you getting hungry yet? In the next section, we’ll show you some recipes for Korean food you can make at home! But first, let’s look at some basic Korean food vocabulary.

A- Restaurant-Related Vocabulary

Here’s a list of ten essential words that you can use at a restaurant.

계산서 (gyesanseo) – “check”
현금 (hyeongeum) – “cash”
카드 (cadeu) – “credit card”
할인 (harin) – “discount”
 메뉴 (menyu) – “menu”
무한리필 (muhanripil) – “unlimited refill”
셀프 (selpeu) – “self-(service)”
물 (mul) – “water”
국물 (gukmeul) – “soup”
주문 (jumun) – “order”

Example sentences:

  • 카드(현금)으로 계산할게요. 
    Kadeu(Hyeongeum)eulo gyesanhalgeyo.
    “I will pay with my card (cash).”
  • 메뉴 주세요. 
    Menyu juseyo.)
    “Please give me a menu.”
  • 물은 셀프입니다. 
    Mureun selpeuimnida.)
    “Water is self-service.”
  • 반찬은 무한리필이에요. 
    Banchaneun muhanripirieyo.
    “You can have unlimited side dishes.”
  • 여기 주문 할게요. 
    Yeogi jumun halgeyo.
    “I would like to order.”

B- Useful Phrases for the Restaurant

Here’s a list of ten commonly used phrases you can use in a Korean restaurant.

  • 물티슈 주시겠어요.
    Multisyu jusigesseoyo.
    “Can I have a wet tissue, please?”
  • 화장실은 어디에 있어요?
    Hwajangsireun eodie isseoyo?
    “Where is the bathroom?”
  • 죄송하지만, 이 음식은 제가 주문한 것이 아니에요.
    Joesonghajiman, i eumsigeun jega jumunhan geosi anieyo.
    “Excuse me, this is not what I ordered.”
  • 얼마나 매워요?
    Eolmana maewoyo?
    “How spicy is it?”
  • 덜 맵게 해주세요. 
    Deol maebge haejuseyo.
    “Please make it less spicy.”
  • 각자 계산해도 될까요? / 따로 계산해도 될까요?
    Gakja gyesanhaedo doelkkayo? / Ttalo gyesanhaedo doelkkayo?
    “Can we pay separately?”
  • 물 더주세요. 
    Mul deojuseyo.
    “Please give me more water.”
  • 반찬 더 주세요. 
    Banchan deo juseyo.
    “Please refill the side dish.”
  • 채식 메뉴 있어요?
    Chaesik menyu isseoyo?
    “Do you have a vegetarian menu?”
  • 맥주 주세요. 
    Makju juseyo.
    “I’ll have a beer.”

There are more useful Korean phrases you can use at any Korean restaurant. Check out our vocabulary list “Useful Phrases for Ordering Food” on KoreanClass101.com!

D- Vocabulary for Essential Ingredients in Korean Dishes

Here’s a list of ten words that are commonly used on Korean recipe websites.

간장 (ganjang) – “soy sauce”
 물엿 (mulyeot) – “sweet cooking syrup”
다진마늘 (dajinmaneul) – “chopped garlic”
후추 (huchu) – “pepper”
 참기름 (chamgireum) – “sesame oil”
식용유 (sigyongyu) – “cooking oil”
고추장 (gochujang) – “spicy pepper sauce”
 설탕 (seoltang) – “sugar”
 소금 (sogeum) – “salt” 
고춧가루 (gochutgaru) – “chili powder” 

5. Simple Recipes to Make Authentic Korean Food at Home

We’ve looked at many different Korean dishes that you can try in Korea and at Korean restaurants in your own country. Now, let’s discuss Korean food to make at home with simple ingredients that you can easily obtain from a Korean supermarket—or even your own pantry! 

A- 짜파구리 (jjapaguri) – Ramdon – Recipe

Ramdon is made by cooking 짜파게티 (jjapagetti), or “instant black noodle ramen,” and 너구리 (neoguri), or “neoguri udon ramen,” noodles together with slices of grilled beef. 

This dish was featured in the 2019 Korean movie 기생충 (gisaengchung), or “Parasite,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture as well as the Cannes Palme d’Or. An interesting fact about the name of this dish is that the people who translated the movie couldn’t translate jjapaguri into English, so they decided to call it “ram-don” which is a combination of “ramen” and “udon.”

Cooking ramdon is extremely simple. 


  • 짜파게티 (jjapagetti
  • 너구리 (neoguri
  • A piece of steak


1. Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces and grill.

2. Boil the water and add the two types of noodles.

3. Add the vegetable mix from the packets (please don’t put the sauce packets in yet).

4. Transfer noodles to the pan with a strainer, along with the steak, and add a little bit of leftover water.

5. Add all of the sauce from 짜파게티 (jjapagetti) and half from 너구리 (neoguri). Stir everything well and the dish is ready.


Close-up shot of Kimchi and Ham gimbap

B- 김밥 (gimbap) – Korean Sushi Roll – Recipe

This is another easy recipe that you can try at home. 

There are many delicious variations of this dish, such as:

    ★ 참치김밥 (chamchigimbap) – “tuna gimbap”
    ★ 야채김밥 (yachaegimbap) – “vegetable gimbap”
    ★ 김치김밥 (gimchigimbap) – “kimchi gimbap”
    ★ 치즈김밥 (chijeugimbap) – “cheese gimbap”
    ★ 충무김밥 (chungmugimbap) – “chungmu gimbap”

This dish goes well with other savory dishes, including 떡볶이 (ddeokbokki), 튀김 (twigim), and 오뎅 (odeng). You can order these foods together at places called 분식점 (bunsikjeom) or 분식집 (bunsikjip), both meaning “snack shop” in Korean. You can find these restaurants anywhere in South Korea, with several of them located near universities; students love these dishes because they’re cheap. 

Making 김밥 (gimbap) is extremely simple, but you’ll need to have a tool called a “bamboo gimbap roller.” This will help you roll the ingredients in. 


  • Various vegetables of your choice 
  • Rice 
  • 단무지 (danmuji) or “yellow radish pickle”
  • Dried seaweed sheets


  • Slice all the vegetables into thin strips and lightly cook them in cooking oil.
  • Mix the cooked rice, sesame oil, and sea salt together.
  • Place one dried seaweed sheet on the bamboo mat and put some rice on the seaweed sheet. Spread it evenly.
  • Slowly roll the seaweed with all the ingredients inside.
Dalgona Coffee

A close-up shot of Dalgona coffee (Photo by Wikieditkid, under CC BY-SA 4.0)

C- 달고나커피 (dalgonakeopi) – “Dalgona Coffee” – Recipe

달고나커피 (dalgonakeopi), or “Dalgona coffee,” was originally introduced on a South Korean TV show and has become an extremely famous beverage since then. It’s also simple to make! 


  • Instant black coffee
  • Sugar
  • Hot water
  • Milk


  • Combine instant coffee, sugar, and hot water. Whip it until it becomes frothy.
  • Pour milk in a cup and pour the whipped coffee on top.

D- 삼겹살 (samgyepsal) – “Grilled Pork Belly” – Recipe

삼겹살 (samgyepsal) is a popular Korean barbecue dish. You can enjoy it while camping, at home, at parties, and on many other occasions! The ingredients are easy to obtain and the dish goes well with many other Korean dishes, such as 파채무침 (pachaemuchim) and 된장찌개 (dwenjangjjigae). 


  • Pork belly
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sesame oil
  • Hot pepper flakes


  • Prepare sliced pork belly.
  • Combine sesame oil, salt, and sesame seeds together (for dipping sauce).
  • Prepare other small Korean side dishes to eat with this meal.

6. Hungry and Want to Go to Korean Restaurants?

Reading a menu and ordering dishes in Korean is a great way to practice your Korean language skills. Do you want to learn how to order Korean dishes in Korean? We can help you with that!

Of course, we provide many other free Korean study materials that you can study on KoreanClass101.com or download to look at later. We have lessons on various aspects of the Korean language and culture, including several food-related materials. So if you enjoyed this article, make sure you check out our website when you have time! 

What’s your favorite Korean dish? Comment below and share why you like the dish!

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Korean Grammar Rules: Everything You Need to Know


Learning a new language has many benefits, such as boosting your brain power and improving your understanding of the world. To master any language, you must have a good foundation of basic grammar knowledge. 

Once you master the basic Korean grammar rules, communication and many other aspects of the language will become a lot easier for you. Grammar is the foundation of effective communication, so let’s make sure that you gain a good understanding of the basic Korean grammar rules today! As you continue in your language studies, feel free to refer back to this Korean grammar overview to keep your skills sharp.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Before We Start: General Korean Grammar Rules
  2. Special Grammar Point 1: Word Order and Sentence Structure
  3. Special Grammar Point 2: Tenses
  4. Special Grammar Point 3: Simplifying Pronouns and Plurals
  5. Special Grammar Point 4: Korean Particles
  6. Want to Learn Even More Korean Grammar Rules? We Can Help!

1. Before We Start: General Korean Grammar Rules 

To begin, we’ll look at a couple of Korean grammar topics that are fairly simple but absolutely crucial to your language studies. We’ll be covering these a bit more throughout the article, but we wanted to introduce them to you here. 

1) Word Order 

As a Korean learner, you’ll quickly learn that English and Korean have a different word order and sentence structure. For example, English sentences follow this basic structure:


But in Korean grammar, sentences follow this basic structure, with the verb at the end:


Since the object comes right after the subject, you’ll have to listen to every word in a sentence to understand the meaning and the context.

 2) Tenses 

Did you know that Korean tenses are a lot simpler than those in English? In Korean, there are only three tenses: past, present, and future. In comparison, English has these tenses as well as the present progressive and present perfect. 

You’ll notice that many Korean students who are learning English struggle to understand the concept of present progressive and present perfect since we only use three tenses in Korea.

Learning Korean Grammar Isn't Too Difficult

2. Special Grammar Point 1: Word Order and Sentence Structure

Here’s a short list of basic sentence structures you may want to memorize. Learning these now will make the rest of your studies go a lot smoother. 






The S + N word order is very similar to its English counterpart, and is used to say that the subject is something. While in English, we use the word “is” to make the association, in Korean, we simply put the words next to each other and add 이다 (ida)—the Korean positive copula—to the end of the second noun.

Here are some examples.

  • 조쉬학생이다. (Joswineun hagsaengida.) – “Josh is a student.”
  • 레슬리변호사이다. (Leseullineun byeonhosaida.) – “Leslie is a lawyer.”
  • 연아한국인이다. (Yeonaneun hanguginida.) – “Yeona is Korean.”


You’ll learn how to use the past, present, and future tenses in the next section, so for now let’s focus on the present tense of S + V.

  • 효선요리한다. (Hyoseon-eun yorihanda.) – “Hyosun cooks.”
  • 주현먹어요. (Juhyeoneun meogeoyo.) – “Juhyung eats.”
  • 카오린자요. (Kaorineun jayo.) – “Kaorin sleeps.”
  • 달려요. (Poreun dalryeoyo.) – “Paul runs.”

Keep in mind that verbs don’t conjugate for person or number. In English, there has to be an “s” at the end of “cooks” since the subject is third person. You don’t need to think about this in Korean because we don’t have this feature. All verb forms are used the same way regardless of the subject.


In Korean grammar, adjectives can also be used as verbs and can therefore change depending on the tense. For example, 예뻐요 (yeoppeoyo) is a word used to say that something is “pretty,” and if you want to say that something “was pretty,” then the word changes to 예뻤어요. (yeppeotseoyo). 

You’ll learn about the tenses in the next section, so for now, let’s focus only on the present tense form of adjectives:

  • 민경예뻐요. (Mingyeongeun yeppeoyo.) – “Minkyung is pretty.”
  • 미키작아요. (Mikineun jagayo.) – “Miki is small.” 
  • 날씨 좋아요. (Nalssiga joayo.) – “The weather is nice.” 

Want to learn new adjectives to practice with? Check out our article “The Top 100 Korean Adjectives You Must Know” and practice the S + A grammar rule with your favorites! 


This S + O + V grammar rule is very important because it’s used every day and mastering it will immediately make your conversations much smoother. Here are some examples of how to use this pattern in the present tense:

  • 조쉬사과먹어요. (Joswiga sagwaleul meogeoyo.) – “Josh eats an apple.”
  • 토끼건초먹어요. (Tokkiga geoncholeul meogeoyo.) – “A rabbit eats hay.”
  • 친구 설거지해요. (Chinguga seolgeojireul haeyo.) – “A friend washes dishes.”

Now, Tomorrow, and Yesterday Written on Road Signs

3. Special Grammar Point 2: Tenses

Korean tenses aren’t that complicated, especially when compared to those in English. In Korean grammar,  tenses are categorized as past, present, and future. Keep in mind, though, that there are two tense systems—absolute tense and relative tense—which you might want to have a look at after mastering the basic three Korean tenses. 


Here’s the rule for constructing a past tense sentence in Korean:

 verb/adjective stem  + 아/어 + ㅆ + closing end

For example:

  • 먹다 (meokda), “to eat” -> 먹었다 (meogeotda) – written / 먹었어 (meogeosseo) – spoken
    • 먹 + 어 (eo) + ㅆ + 다 (da)
  • 받다 (batda), “to receive” -> 받았다 (badatda) / 받았어 (badasseo)
    • 받 + 아 (a) + ㅆ + 다 (da)
  • 앉다 (anta), “to sit” -> 앉았다 (anjatda) / 앉았어 (anjasseo).
    • 앉 +아 (a) + ㅆ + 다 (da)
  • 예쁘다 (yeppeuda), “to be pretty” -> 예뻤다 (yeppeotda) / 예뻤어요 (yeppeosseoyo) – polite form
    • 예 + 뻐 (ppeo) + ㅆ + 다 (da)
  • 있다 (itda), “to be” -> 있었다 (isseotda) / 있었어요 (isseosseoyo) – polite form
    • 있 (it) + 어 (eo) + ㅆ + 다 (da)


Here’s the rule for constructing a present tense sentence in Korean:

verb stem + ㄴ + closing end

For example:

  • 가다 (gada), “to go” -> 간다 (ganda) – written / 갔어 (gatseo) – spoken
    • 가 (ga) + ㄴ + 다 (da)
  • 먹다 (meokda), “to eat” ->먹는다 (meongneunda) / 먹어 (meogeo)
    • 먹 (meok) + ㄴ+ 다 (da)

You don’t need to change adjectives for the present tense.

  • 예쁘다 (yeppeuda), “to be pretty” -> 예쁘다 (yeppeuda)
  • 나쁘다 (nappeuda), “to be bad” -> 나쁘다 (nappeuda)
  • 무섭다. (museopda), “to be scary” -> 무섭다 (museopda)


verb/adjective stem + 겠 + closing end

For example: 

  • 가다 (gada) -> 가겠다 (gagetda) – written / 가겠어 (gagesseo) – spoken
    • 가 (ga) + 겠 (get) + 다 (da)
  • 먹다 (meokda) -> 먹겠다 (meoggessda) / 먹겠어 (meoggesseo)
    • 먹 (meok) + 겠 (get) + 다 (da)
  • 예쁘다 (yeppeuda) -> 예쁘겠다 (yeppeugetda) / 에쁘겠어 (yeppeugesseo)
    • 예쁘 (yeppeu) + 겠 (get) + 다 (da)
  • 나쁘다 (nappeuda) -> 나쁘겠다 (nappeugetda) / 나쁘겠어 (nappeugesseo)
    • 나쁘 (nappeu) + 겠 (get) + 다 (da)


Verb form:

verb stem + (으)ㄴ


  • 가다 (gada), “to go” -> 간 (gan)
    • 가 (ga) + ㄴ
  • 먹다 (meokda), “to eat” -> 먹은 (meogeun)
    • 먹 (meok) + ㄴ
  • 오다 (oda) “to come” -> 온 (on)
    • 오 (o) + ㄴ
  • 받다 (batda) “to receive” -> 받은 (badeun)
    • 받 (bat) + ㄴ

Adjective form:

adjective stem + (아/어)ㅆ던


  • 예쁘다 (yeppeuda), “to be pretty” -> 예뻤던 (yeppeutdeon)
    • 예 (ye) + 뻐 (ppeo) + ㅆ + 던 (deon)
  • 나쁘다 (nappeuda), “to be bad” -> 나빴던 (nappattdeon)
    •  나 (na) + 빠 (ppa) + ㅆ + 던 (deon

Phrase examples: 

  • 철수먹은 사과 (Cheolsuga meogeun sagwa) – “An apple that Cheolsu ate
  • 수미받은 소포 (Sumiga badeun sopo) – “A parcel that Sumi received” 


Verb form:

verb stem + 는


  • 가다 (gada), “to go” -> 가는 (ganeun)
    • 가 (ga) + 는 (neun)
  • 먹다 (meokda), “to eat” -> 먹는 (meogneun)
    • 먹 (meok) + 는 (neun)
  • 자다 (jada), “to sleep” -> 자는 (janeun)
    • 자 (ja)  + 는 (neun)

Adjective form:

adjective stem + (으)ㄴ


  • 예쁘다 (yeppeuda), “to be pretty” -> 예쁜 (yeppeun)
    • 예 (ye) + 쁘 (peu) + ㄴ 
  • 좋다 (jota), “to be good” -> 좋은 (joeun)
    • 좋 (joh) + ㄴ
  • 나쁘다 (nappeuda), “to be bad” -> 나쁜 (nappeun)
    • 나쁘 (nappeu) + ㄴ

Phrase examples:

  • 지금오는 음악 (jigeum naoneun eumak) – “The music that plays now
  • 수미듣는 음악 (sumiga deudneun eumak) – “The music that Sumi is listening to


Verb and adjective form:

verb/adjective stem + (으)ㄹ


  • 가다 (gada), “to go” -> 갈 (gal)
    • 가 (ga) + ㄹ
  • 먹다 (meokda), “to eat” -> 먹을 (meogeul)
    • 먹 (meok) + ㄹ
  • 예쁘다  (yeppeuda), “to be pretty” -> 예쁠 (yeppeul)
    • 예쁘 (yeppeu) + ㄹ
  • 좋다 (jota), “to be good” -> 좋을 (joeul)
    •   좋 (joh) + ㄹ
  • 나쁘다 (nappeuda), “to be bad” -> 나쁠 (nappeul)
    • 나쁘 (nappeu) + ㄹ

Phrase examples: 

  • 내가 먹을 라면 (naega meogeul ramyeon) – “The ramen that I will eat
  • 내가 학교 (naega gal hakgyo) – “The school I will go to

Learning Basic Korean grammar Will Help You in Many Situations.

4. Special Grammar Point 3: Simplifying Pronouns and Plurals 

Now let’s take a look at how to make a singular noun plural:

  • 국가 (gukga), “a country” / 국가 (gukga), “countries” 
  • 호수 (hosu), “a lake” /  호수들 (hosudeul), “lakes”
  • 언어 (eoneo), “a language” / 언어들 (eoneodeul), “languages” 
  • 여자 (yeoja), “woman” / 여자들 (yeojadeul), “women” 
  • 남자 (namja), “man” /  남자들 (namjadeul), “men”  

While some plural forms are the same as the singular forms, most words require that you add 들 (deul) to the end. 

By the way, Wikipedia has some useful information on how to use 들 (deul) with personal pronouns. Check it out!

5. Special Grammar Point 4: Korean Particles

You may find Korean particles tricky because there is nothing like them in the English language, and they therefore cannot be translated. But the good news is that they’re easy to learn! Here are the basic particles that you must master. 

Subject: 는 (neun) or 은 (eun)

These particles are placed after a word to indicate that it is the subject of a sentence. The rule that you need to remember is very simple: 

  • If the subject’s last syllable ends in a vowel, use 는 (neun).
  • If the subject’s last syllable ends in a consonant, use 은 (eun).


1. Subject’s last syllable ends in a vowel: 

토끼 바나나를 먹는다. (Tokkineun bananaleul meogneunda.) – “A rabbit eats a banana.”
철수 사과를 먹는다. (Cheolsuneun sagwaleul meogneunda.) – “Cheolsu eats an apple.”

2. Subject’s last syllable ends in a consonant:

소연 밥을 먹는다. (Soyeoneun babeul meogneunda.) – “Soyeon eats some rice.”
효선 청소를 한다. (Hyoseoneun cheongsoreul handa.) – “Hyosun cleans the house.”

Check out our forum on the topic and read what others have said about it. 

Object: 를 (reul) or 을 (eul) 

These particles are placed after a word to indicate that it is the object of a sentence. The rule that you need to remember is: 

  • If the last syllable of the object ends in a vowel, use 를 (reul).
  • If the last syllable of the object ends in a consonant, use 을 (eul).


1. Object’s last syllable ends in a vowel:

토끼는 바나나 먹는다. (Tokkineun bananaleul meogneunda.) – “A rabbit eats a banana.”
철수는 사과 먹는다. (Cheolsuneun sagwareul meogneunda.) – “Cheolsu eats an apple.”

2. Object’s last syllable ends in a consonant:

소연은 먹는다. (Soyeoneun babeul meogneunda.) – “Soyeon eats some rice.”
강아지는 마신다. (Gangajineun mureul masinda.) – A dog drinks water.”

Check out our forum page “About OBJECT PARTICLE – 을 [eul] / 를 [reul]” and learn more. 

Want to practice using more particles and conjunctions? Check out our article “Korean Conjunctions List: Essential Korean Conjunctions“!

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6. Want to Learn Even More Korean Grammar Rules? We Can Help!

You learned a lot of Korean grammar rules in this article. I hope you’re not too overwhelmed! Learning a language takes time, so don’t pressure yourself by trying to learn everything in one go. Take your time to understand each grammar rule and practice it by writing a Korean diary or talking with a native Korean speaker. 

Here are some recommendations for your further studies:

Do you have a question about anything we covered today? Feel free to leave us a comment or contact us

Good luck with your studies!

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