Ordering food to your home in Korea is easily one of the most wonderful and useful things you can do, and also one of the most intimidating if you’ve never tried it before.
Today’s Challenge involves ordering food to your home, so this post will try to give you plenty of help and tips on how to be successful doing so.
The Basics of Ordering food
To be successful ordering, you’ll need to know:
- Hangul (in order to read the menus) **OPTIONAL
- The names of different foods (to pick what you want)
- Your address (tell them where to come)
- The basic questions you will be asked on the phone (to respond accordingly) **OPTIONAL
The Korean Wiki Project has a great example phone call with Pizza Hut if you’d like to listen and hear what ordering food from a restaurant like that sounds like. But, most food ordering is much simpler than that. Most of the time when you pick up the phone, the dialogue goes a little something like this:
- 배달 (Delivery service): 안녕하세요. XX 입니다…
- 나 (Me): XX (food name) 하나 (one) 주세요.
- 배달: 네. 어디세요?
- 나: 여기는 XX (address) 이예요.
- 배달: 네~
It actually hardly matters if you tell them your address first or the food name first. Often they will ask you for one or the other, but even if you tell them the wrong one, they’ll figure it out easily.
There is a stark lack of options in Korean food ordering that makes it extra simple. One of my Korean friends recalled the first time he ever ordered from an Australian restaurant like this:
I tried to order like a Korean restaurant. I told them my address, then the food I wanted, but he just kept asking me so many questions! I got totally confused! There are way too many options and extras in Western food ordering, so if English isn’t your native language it’s nearly impossible to follow. He asked if I wanted sides, what drinks, what toppings, what crust type, what size, etc, etc. In Korea, it’s just “Large Pepperoni pizza to this address please and thank you.” You’re finished. English ordering is so complicated.
You honestly don’t even need to know a lick of Korean when ordering food – it’s THAT simple. If you know absolutely no Korean, most phone conversations will go like this:
- 배달 (Delivery service): ㄹㅇ모ㅗㄷ마아ㅗㅁㅎ
- 나 (Me): XX (food name) 주세요.
- 배달: ㅓㄹㅇㅁ널ㅇ마ㅏㅇ밀러ㅏ
- 나: XX (address) 이예요.
- 배달: 네~
It’s as simple as that. Simply make sure to give them 1) the food name and 2) your address and wait for a 3) 네 confirming your order and you’ll have success!
(Of course, as the video above indicates, occasionally problems may arise if you mispronounce either your address or food name – somehow even similar pronunciations don’t register with Korean ears well. But if that happens, you can always hang up and try again, try a new place, or get a Korean friend to help out – in fact, it’s probably a good idea to practice ordering food on a Korean friend first so that they can help catch any potential mistakes before you make them.)
#26: Call up a delivery service today and order food to your door. Record the call and your success!
Here are some helpful words and phrases to know when ordering:
- 배달 = delivery
- 주문(하다) = order
- 카드도 되요? = Do you accept cards?
- 현금 = cash
- 곱배기 = double portion (usually noodles/Chinese food)
- 주소 어떻게 되세요? = What’s your address?
- 어디세요? = Where are you?
- 주문 어떻게 되세요? = What do you want to order?
- 개 = general counting, most objects
- 판 = pan, for pizza
- 마리 = animal, for a whole chicken
- 그릇 = bowl, for soups and Chinese
- 줄 = roll/line, for kimbap
- 조각 = piece, for chicken wings
Here are some more resources for learning how to order delivery:
- The KoreanWiki Project food ordering page
- EatYourKimchi video 1
- EatYourKimchi videos (updated) – with links for McDonald’s, Sushi, pizza, and Korean food.
- EatYourKimchi on Arirang TV discussing the delivery culture in Korea
- GalbiJim link
- 2 Example phone conversations from HangukDrama
- Some simple examples from Seoulistic
- Explaining Korea’s quick delivery service