When many people study Korean culture, they hear about the family atmosphere and the sharing of meals with each other. In fact, it was said that a Korean greeting given around the time of the Korean War translated to “Have you eaten today?” People would share what little they had to make sure everyone survived. This help to reinforce the family atmosphere that Koreans have. But now there are more and more stories of Korean people eating out alone, to the point that some young people do not cook any of their meals. In fact, for one YouTuber, I don’t remember seeing a video of him where he was eating with another person. If the sharing of meals together is such an important part of Korean culture, why do so many young people eat out so much? Here are some reasons why you should not be shocked to find out that your friends eat out everyday.
In Korean tradition, people stayed home until they got married. And even after they got married, some still lived at home. This meant that at least 2 meals each day was prepared at home, unless it was a special occasion. But in modern Korean society, more younger people are living on their own before they get married. And for many Korean Americans that move to Korea, they also tend to live on their own. This new trend has resulted in more and more younger people having to eat out by themselves instead of finding eating with their family.
As times change, so do the diets of the people. Now there are more and more McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in Korea. This makes it easier for a person to go out and get a meal by themselves. Also, some fast food restaurants will deliver to your home. So the only person who knows that you don’t eat with other people would be your delivery driver. This makes eating alone a lot easier for many people.
It is said that many grocery stores in Korea sell food that is packaged for families more than it is for single people. Some Korean singles have found that buying food to cook resulted in them wasting a lot of food since they could not eat it fast enough. This caused many Koreans to waste money on food they never ate. But when a person eats out, they eat all of the good that they order. This results in less waste as food is not being thrown away. Also, since restaurants buy food in bulk, they are able to sell Korean meals at a price that is cheaper than it would be for some Koreans to make the food themselves. So time and money would be a factor for many Koreans when deciding to eat out instead of cooking at home.
Does this mean that all people living at home will eat out all the time? No. Some Koreans eat special diets, such as being vegan or gluten free or vegetarian, so it is easier for them to cook their food instead of eating out. But for single Koreans who eat a more traditional diet, eating out tend so be the best option for saving both time and money. Either way, there are plenty of good options for food when visiting or living in Korea.