A korean restaurant had just opened nearby where I live (honestly it may be the only korean restaurant within a hour's drive =P) and I just had to go and try it out. It was actually the very first korean restuarent I ever went to and I was really excited =]
A few weeks ago, I went with 언니 and 엄마 and we had 불고기 for the 1st time and my mom had a seafood soup of some kind, I forgot what exactly. 불고기는 너무 맛있어요!
The place was really tiny and there was only one waitress and a cook and they were mother and daughter. I wanted to try to say some korean but I chickened out
However, today I went with 언니 and two of my 친구 and this time there was different waitress. We ordered some drinks (everyone else got water) but i wanted to try something korean and since I can't drink soju (at least not yet ) I ordered a rice sweet nectar drink I think it was called Sihye or Sikye and when she came and poured the drink into a cup for me, I gather up my courgae and said "김사합니다" The 애기씨 was completely surprised and asked in korean if I was korean but I said "한국[I forgot to say 사람 ]아니에요. But I'm trying learn korean."
Then later when we were ordering our food, I said "비빔밥....주세요" And she looked surprised (but I think pleased nonetheless] and with a chuckle, "네!"
The experience this time was really better than last time for she kept coming to our table and asking if everything was okay and she refilled our 반찬 (there was 김치, hard black beans of a sort, beansprouts, spicy cucumbers, and 잡재)
The 비빔밥 was quite delicious and 애기씨 was nice enough to stir it for me becuase I didn't know what I was doing and I told her when she came back again to inquire if everything was ok "맛있어요!" She smiled =]
then when I went to pay, she asked if I was japanese and I answered slowy, "베...트남 사람입니다"
The 애기씨: "Oh. Your pronunciation is very good!"
저: Really?? I mean...진짜요?
oh my goodness I was so happy afterwards!! 정말 행복었어요!
Then as i was leaving I said: 안녕히...계세요!" (I'm still really unsure of my korean )
Hmmm, I just realized I probably didn't bow....next time i will!
>o< That lady was soo nice. I hope when I go there again, she'll be there
--^^; My story wasn't the most exciting or special but it meant a lot to me so I just wanted to share ^-^
rooraa, I can still remember my first real experience and it was actually pretty similar to yours. I was all grins and just kept smiling like an idiot until I finally mustered up the courage to say like '감사함니다". Of course, like you, I was just so nervous that the server was lucky to get that out of me.
I'm a pretty outgoing guy but I would totally chicken out if I would go by myself to a Korean place. Maybe it was the lack of confidence in speaking, but I can distinctly remember rehearsing in my head what I wanted to order. It turned out like the character Tom Hanks played in The Terminal ("eat to bite eat to bite bite to eat bite to eat"). Of course I mispronounced everything, got embarrassed, and ended up responding in Spanish ("would you like some more water, sir?" "!¡sí!")
I really liked the restaurant experience because my friend would insist that I order in Korean. She would put a lot of pressure on me to order correctly - standing over me as I fumbled through the menu with the cook and server anxiously awaiting my decision. Granted, it was a horribly awkward experience, but because of that, now I feel much more confident.
But, you have to start somewhere, right? I applaud you for posting your experience. It can only get better from there. Eventually, you'll walk into that place like a rockstar and flawlessly order the most difficult item with the greatest of ease 화이팅!
I know how you felt. Half the time I chicken out and speak english, it was actually easier when I was in Korea because I knew I had try to speak Korean even though I was terrible at it.
One time in Melbourne (Australia) I ordered KimChi Jigae at a takeaway place in a shopping centre food court. The guy behind the counter was surprised when he looked up and saw a westerner, he said he had thought I was Korean and praised my pronunciation. (Admittedly they probably don't get many non-Koreans ordering KimChi Jigae).
I felt pretty good at the compliment, but felt a bit odd talking about it later as I really hadn't said much at all.
i always use english at a korean restaurant. in fact i will only use korean only when i think the person doesn't get me. haha. that's why my korean is still so lousy even till now.
i remember when we had a mini gathering with my korean teacher at a restaurant, the waitress spoke such fluent korean like a native. i felt kinda embarrassed at the fact that my korean is so terrible even after learning it for 3 years now ..
I remember my first experience with a Korean restaurant. I was driving down to Annandale, VA with my Korean friend to pick up some food. He had me make the call to order the food, and I said the phrase "To go order 하고 싶은데요. 불고기 4인분 주세요," or something like that. When we got there to pick it up, we told the lady that I was the one that made the order, and she was very surprised .
Dining in person at Korean restaurants, I've said many incoherent things to waitresses due to being nervous, of course.
rooraa: Don't feel too bad! I'm sure the people in the restaurant appreciated your efforts! ^_^
As for myself... well I probably feel more awkward than you! Because I AM Korean, people in restaurants EXPECT me to speak it fluently. So when I don't (I'm adopted), they look at me very strangely... it's quite embarrassing.
i remember my first time going to a korean restaurant - i was nervous too! i did speak korean to the waitress, who was surprised, but i didn't speak much or well. my friend that was with me was still impressed, though, haha!
i'm kind of spoiled now, because i live in nyc, so i can have korean food any time i want to. and i eat it a lot! i have no problem speaking korean in a restaurant now (or anywhere else for that matter - the guy that works at the korean bookstore was very surprised the first time i went in looking for harry potter in korean hehe), but i've found that a lot of people in nyc are not half as excited about an american speaking korean as anywhere else i have been. i am not the only one here i guess, haha!
and matthew, i have also accidentally responded in spanish before, and i don't really speak spanish! hahahahahaha.... i must have been flustered...
today I had an elderly lady in stitches with embarrassment when she realized she was having a conversation with a foreigner. let me set the stage:
i came into an empty korean restaurant at a slow time in the afternoon. a nice korean man says "welcome" and I responded "네, 안녕하세요. 저어, 김밥 있어요?" he responds "네, 있어요". I asked "어떤 김밥 있어요? 매운 김밥은 있어요?" he replies "없어. 그냥 김밥 있어" I tell him "그래요. 세 개 주세요" when the elderly cook came out of the kitchen she whispers a soft ":shock: ...어머.." when I asked her "어머니는 영어를 할 수 있어요?"
my korean is still officially classified as "Lousy" but the times like these are precious and really encouraging.
well, it's not like i don't speak ANY spanish, but i only know a little, and only use it when teaching preschoolers their colors and numbers (: but it was still strange that i replied in spanish. i am convinced that the human brain stores all foreign language in one place. now, even the little bit of spanish that i used to know is gone - every time i try to think of something in spanish it comes out korean. but, i haven't had a problem learning chinese or japanese - they don't become confused with korean.. but spanish does.. strange.
and i can imagine that people in korea will not be as excited about me speaking korean (or being there) as people are here. well, but that's not to say everyone, because i have so many good friends here that are so helpful and so excited that i am interested in the culture (as i am sure there are in korea as well), but some people seem like they don't want me around at all - some people won't even acknowledge that i exist, and if i address them first, they'll reluctantly reply but with barely suppressed sarcasm. i often get the "what are you doing here and why are you even talking to me?" glare quite often. again, not everyone is like that, but there are people like that, and i am quite used to it now - i just hope it doesn't deter anyone away from wanting to learn the language. most korean people are very very nice, everyone! matthew and i are just sharing our experiences of what can happen after you become very very involved in the culture, don't panic! (end of disclaimer)
i wrote a blog about this a long time ago, too, but i'm too tired to look it up right now. ^^