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Is burping rude in Korea?

Burping is a common bodily function that we all experience after a meal or a fizzy drink. However, in different cultures around the world, burping can be interpreted as either a polite gesture or an act of rudeness. In Korea, for instance, burping loudly after a meal is considered impolite. While it might be acceptable in some western cultures, burping in Korea is considered rude and offensive. So, if you are planning to visit Korea or just want to learn more about their culture, it’s important to be mindful of your dining etiquette to avoid offending anyone.

The Cultural Context of Burping in Korea

South Korea is a country that is known for its unique culture, cuisine, and customs. Koreans take pride in their traditions and etiquettes, and they expect visitors to respect and abide by them. One of the most interesting and intriguing customs that foreigners often wonder about is burping. In this section, we will explore the cultural context of burping in Korea, its significance, and the dos and don’ts of burping in Korean culture.

The Meaning of Burping

Burping in Korea is not considered rude or impolite as it is in Western cultures. In fact, burping is regarded as a sign of satisfaction and appreciation of a good meal. In Korean culture, it is believed that burping after a meal signifies contentment and gratefulness to the host for serving a delicious meal. Therefore, it is not uncommon for people to burp at the end of their meals, especially in informal settings.

burping korean culture

The Dos of Burping

Although burping is generally accepted in Korean culture, there are still ways to do it properly. Here are the dos of burping in Korea:

  • Make sure to close your mouth when you burp to avoid making noise.
  • Don’t force yourself to burp if you can’t. It’s not necessary or expected.
  • If you’re the host, encourage your guests to burp as a sign that they enjoyed the meal.
  • Burp quietly and discreetly to avoid drawing attention to yourself.

korean meal etiquette

The Don’ts of Burping

While burping is generally acceptable in Korean culture, there are still some situations where it might be considered rude or impolite. Here are the don’ts of burping in Korea:

  • Don’t burp too loudly or in a way that draws unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • Avoid burping in formal settings such as business meetings or formal dinners where it might be considered inappropriate.
  • Don’t make a show of burping or use it as a way to show off. It’s not considered polite behavior.
  • Avoid burping in public places like public transport, shopping malls, or cinemas where it might offend others.

korean meal manners


Burping in Korea is not considered rude or impolite, as it is in Western cultures. Rather, it is a sign of satisfaction and appreciation of a good meal. However, it is still important to be mindful of the context and situation when burping and to do it quietly and discreetly in most situations. By respecting and following the cultural customs of Korea, visitors can gain the respect of locals and enjoy a memorable cultural experience.

Burping in Korean Culture

Burping, or belching, is a common bodily function that occurs after meals. It releases excessive air that has been swallowed while eating or drinking. Although it is usually a natural reflex that is not considered impolite in many cultures, there are some places where burping is frowned upon. Korea is one of those countries where burping can be seen as rude, and its cultural significance is worth discussing.

Understanding Korean Culture

To understand why burping in Korea is considered rude, it is essential to grasp what the country’s culture values. Respect, modesty, and politeness are highly prized traits in Korea. The idea of “saving face” is also a central concept in Korean culture. This means that an individual should avoid any behavior that could make them or others lose face or embarrass themselves in public.

Burping: A Sign of Manners

Burping is viewed as an involuntary action in Korea, but it is also seen to be within one’s control and manners. Controlling the impulse to burp after a meal is viewed as a sign of manners. It shows respect and consideration for others and maintains the dignity of the individual.

The Perception of Burping in Korean Society

Korean society perceives burping as unsanitary and unhygienic. In Korean restaurants, diners are provided with a spoon and chopsticks to eat soup or rice. Drinking soup or slurping is not considered rude, but burping after drinking soup is seen as unacceptable because it is perceived to be noisy and unclean.

Burping in Korean Etiquette

Korean etiquette requires diners to cover their mouths when they burp. This act of covering the mouth is considered polite as it prevents the sound and odor from invading the personal space of others.

Different Perceptions of Burping Across Korean Generation

As Korean culture evolves, the younger generation’s perception of burping has become less strict compared to that of the elder. It is common to see younger people burping without inhibition, but the older people would choose not to burp in public.

Consequences of Burping in Korea

Burping that is done without respect for others and disregard for etiquette can lead to social exclusion in Korean culture. Koreans might see someone who burps as ill-mannered, uncivilized, and disrespectful to others. Burping in front of Korean elders can also result in disrespect which might lead to a loss of reputation.

How to Avoid Burping in Korea

To avoid burping in Korea, it is best to take small bites of food and to chew slowly. This reduces the amount of air swallowed while one eats, reducing the possibility of burping. Drinking slowly and taking time to swallow the liquid also helps reduce air intake.

Alternative Ways to Burp

If one needs to burp, they can excuse themselves to the restroom or to a more private area. Alternatively, practicing patience and waiting for the sensation to pass is another way to avoid burping in public.


In conclusion, burping is generally frowned upon in Korean culture and is perceived as an impolite act. It stems from the values of respect, modesty, and politeness that are highly prized in Korea. To avoid offending others and showing good manners, it is recommended to avoid burping in public, take small bites, and chew food slowly.

How to Avoid Burping in Korea

1. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly

Eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly will help avoid burping as it reduces the amount of air you swallow. In Korea, meals are often eaten in a communal setting, so it is essential to pace yourself and not rush your food. Take your time and enjoy the flavors and textures of the food.

Korean meal

2. Avoid Drinking Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated beverages such as soda and beer can cause bloating and increase the risk of burping. Koreans prefer drinking hot tea and water with their meals as it aids in digestion and has numerous health benefits. If you are looking for something to drink, try traditional Korean rice wine called “Makgeolli,” which is low in alcohol content and is perfect to pair with Korean savory pancakes called “Jeon.”


3. Cover your mouth when burping

Burping without covering your mouth can be considered rude in Korean culture. It’s essential to excuse yourself by placing your hand over your mouth when you feel a burp coming. It shows respect to those around you and helps create a pleasant dining environment.

Cultural Dining Manners

4. Take a break during mealtime

After eating, Koreans take a break to help with digestion and avoid burping. This break is called “Son-ki” or hand press. It involves placing one hand on the stomach and using the other hand to press down gently. It stimulates the digestive organs and helps reduce bloating and gas.

Son-ki break

5. Be mindful of your posture

Sitting up straight while eating helps to prevent burping. When you slouch, it puts pressure on your stomach, which can cause acid reflux and increase the risk of burping. In Korea, sitting on the floor with your legs crossed is common when eating a traditional Korean meal. Sitting in this position helps to regulate your diaphragm and aids in digestion.

Korean traditional meal

Korean Dining Etiquette
Wait for the oldest to start eating before you start
Don’t blow your nose at the table
Avoid using toothpicks at the table
Never leave chopsticks stuck in food upright in a bowl
Don’t pass food with chopsticks, use serving utensils

By following these tips, you can enjoy a delicious meal in Korea without having to worry about offending anyone with a burp. Remember, show respect to the culture by being mindful of your actions at the dining table.

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Say Goodbye to Burping Rudeness in Korea

So there you have it! While burping is considered impolite in Korea, it is not taboo to the level of being offensive. In fact, it can be seen as a sign of contentment after a satisfying meal. However, it’s better to avoid burping in public settings like formal occasions or meeting new people. Respect for locals and their culture is important while travelling to any foreign country. So, keep in mind these etiquettes and enjoy your stay in Korea. Thanks for reading and visit us again for more fun facts and travel hacks!

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