K-Drama Culture Note: Drinking

So, I don’t drink. If I did, I’d probably have an embarrassing drinking habit and slur my words every time I picked up a glass. I don’t drink, I’ll say that up front–but I don’t have anything against people who do, unless of course they use it as an excuse to get handsy or mouth off at me. Then I mind. Anyway, as I was watching a drama the other day I realized a few things that have become second nature to me watching but may seem odd to a newer viewer.screenshot-4003

Drinking culture in Korea, I think, could be a culture unto itself. At least, that’s the way it seems from all the dramas I’ve seen (and I know, don’t judge a culture by there tv. What kind of place would America be then?) Still, there are a few things I’ve learned from watching so much drama:

  1. When drinking with others, don’t pour a glass for yourself. It’s always more polite to wait for them to pour a drink for you.
  2. The word “oneshot” may have varying meanings across Asia, if Ok Taecyeon and Gui Gui are a source to be trusted (I’m really pretty skeptical about that). According to Gui Gui, oneshot means it literally all has to be drunk in a single breath, regardless of the size–something that really surprised him in an early Hot Cocoa adventure during their “We Got Married” stint.
  3. In Brunei, drinking is completely illegal. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a drink… just that it’s a lot harder. (Ok, I didn’t learn that from a drama, that was google).
  4. At least in a drama, drinking tends to end in being drunk. And if our leading coupe is there, it ends in a piggy-back ride… because OTP. A recent breakthrough on this was Tomorrow With You, where he very sweetly just helped her home, instead of carrying her there (I still want my piggyback ride sometime during the drama, though!)


    She does not look sober to me. If Lee Jong Suk’s giving me a piggyback ride, I darn well want to be sober to appreciate it. ^^

  5. In China, inviting someone to drink (or eat, or do anything) with you comes with a potential caution: the phrase “请你吃饭” (Qing ni chi fan) literally means you’re inviting them to eat, but connotatively means you’re footing the bill. So be careful how you ask, or just open your pockets a little wider.
  6. There is a drink in Korea (and you know I’ve watched a lot of drama when I start noticing things like this) that is a combination of Soju (a cheaper, let’s get drunk quick alcohol) and beer. You drop a glass of soju into your beer and drink. Don’t ask me what it’s like, I wouldn’t know. ... Drinking System from Korea | Intoxicated Abroad - Travel, Drinking and
  7. Beer and Chicken really are a common combination in Korea, it’s not just Cheon Song-Yi. I didn’t really believe they were so commonly paired until sure enough, that’s what they ordered on World of Dave.


Again, I don’t know how current or strictly implemented these are in Korea, never having been there myself. If anybody has more information or a correction, please share below! Also, there is a drama from the same creators as Let’s Eat that’s… all about drinking (not really, I hear this one has more plot that the half-half food commercial and drama Let’s Eat). If you want to check it out, here’s a link. ^^

Drinking Solo » Korean Drama


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