Why Do Koreans Share Their Food?

It’s common in Korea to share dishes and eat from the same bowls using their own spoons and chopsticks with friends and family. This might be shocking for those from countries that don’t share food.

– Many Koreans, especially younger generations, also prefer using a serving spoon to take food to their own dish when eating.

Look at the ancestors eating on their individual tables.

Back in the Joseon Dynasty, people didn’t share food at all. Each had their own table, referred to as 독상 (pronounced doe-sang), meaning “table for one.” Under the belief of Confucianism, 독상 became the norm of the eating culture in the Joseon Dynasty.

Then… What happened?

This is an article from Dong-A Ilbo in 1936. The title says, “Abolish table for one, family at one table.” It was a period when the Japanese had all power over Korea. The Japanese Colonial Government General of Korea encouraged people to eat at the same table as Koreans suffered from food shortage, starvation, and famine.

– The Japanese colonial period was from 1910 to 1945.
– Dong-A Ilbo is a Korean newspaper founded in 1920.

5 years after being liberated from Japanese colonial rule, the Korean War broke out in 1950, which led Korea to become one of the poorest countries in the world at the time. There was, of course, not enough food for “table for one.”

So, why do Koreans share their food?

We first need to understand a deep, tragic history rooted in the Japanese colonization and the Korean War periods in order to answer this question.

Maybe Koreans had to build a “sharing food” culture.

???? Question for UoH Friends :

✓ Do you share food (eat from the same bowl) in your country?

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