In a Korean formal setting, a meal is commenced when the eldest or most senior diner at the table begins to eat any of the food on the table. Before partaking, intention to enjoy their meal should be expressed. Similarly, satisfaction or enjoyment of that meal should be expressed at its completion. On occasion, there are some dishes which require additional cooking or serving at the table. In this case, the youngest or lowest-ranked adult diner should perform this task. When serving, diners are served food and drink in descending order starting with the eldest or highest-ranked diner to the youngest or lowest-ranked.
Usually, diners will have a bowl of soup on the right with a bowl of rice to its left. Alternatively, soup may be served in a single large communal pot to be consumed directly or ladled into individual bowls. Dining utensils will include a pair of chopsticks and a spoon. Rice is generally eaten with the spoon instead of chopsticks. Often some form of protein (meat, poultry, fish) will be served as a main course and placed at the center of the table within reach of the diners. The last piece of food on a communal dish should not be served to oneself without first asking for permission, but, if offered the last bit of food in the communal dish, it is considered rude to refuse the offer. Slurping while eating noodles and soup is generally acceptable.
When serving alcohol in Korea, the bottle should be held with the right hand, supported lightly with the left hand. If alcohol is served with the meal, it is common practice that when alcohol is first served for the eldest/highest-ranked diner to make a toast and for diners to clink their glasses together before drinking. A host should never serve alcohol to themselves. Likewise, it is considered rude to drink alone. Instead, keep pace with other diners and both serve and be served the alcohol.