TTMIK Culture Ramblings – Eating Alone

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Do you often eat alone when you are out in public? Do you feel like other people are judging you and it makes you feel awkward? In this episode of TTMIK Culture Ramblings, Hyojin, Hyunwoo, and Stephanie talk about their experiences of eating alone in Korea and the United States.

Welcome to  “TTMIK Culture Ramblings”! In each episode, you will listen to a roundtable discussion, in English, between people who were born and raised in Korea and someone with a different perspective. These 100% real and unscripted laid-back conversations cover various topics related to Korea and Korean culture. If you have any topics that you’d like us to discuss, be sure to tell us in the episode’s comments section


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What do you do when you are alone and have some spare time? In this Iyagi Lesson, Yoona and Seokjin talk about how they spend time alone. Enjoy!

TTMIK Culture Ramblings – Eating Alone
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  • Valery Huang

    Well, being an immigrant here working here in Hong Kong, I have to do a lot of stuff alone. Shopping alone? Done that. Eating alone out in small restaurants in the neighborhood? That too. Kind of been used to that already. Thinking of moving to Korea in a few years. Maybe I’ll have to find you guys to eat with so as not to be weird eating alone. Haha!

  • rigo

    Interesting topic
    In my case i have no problem sitting alone in a restaurant
    And i see other people do it all the time
    I’ll be waiting for the next rambling

  • Valery Huang

    Hi guys, could you talk about finding a job in Korea in the next talk?

  • chreliz

    I think that, at least in the USA, it varies from person to person. I personally enjoy a meal out alone every now and then. It can be a nice break from a busy work environment, a chance to read a good book, or even just to get in some people watching. It can be unnerving if you are worried about what other people might think, but once you can relax you can enjoy the peace!
    I enjoy these “rambling” episodes, keep ’em coming!

  • gg

    This reminds me of the first two weeks I arrived in korea. I was craving for pasta and went to an Italian restaurant in Gangnam. The staff gave me a weird look when I told them I was alone, but they ushered me to a table and served me anyway. Throughout the meal, I noticed I was the only one eating alone and most of the people around me were couples. Perhaps I was being overly sensitive but I did notice quite a number of glances being cast at me, and I guess they were probably thinking “Poor girl just fell out of love”… haha. I didn’t feel the slightest bit embarrassed though, and was just disappointed that the pasta wasn’t as good as I’d expected it to be.

  • Molly Carmer

    I’m late to the party, but thought I’d contribute since it seems I’m in the minority here. My favorite activity is going to a movie by myself! The best time is Monday or Tuesday for the matinee because hardly anybody else will be there and I can have a nearly empty theater.

    Eating alone is torture, though! Not because I hate having a quiet meal, but because it’s embarrassing, like you all discussed. Hyunwoo’s story about his sunbaes buying his lunch sounds like a nightmare! Poor guy!

  • hannah moren

    I don’t really mind eating alone in the United States if it’s a restaurant out in public, but if it’s a college cafeteria it can be more difficult. I travelled in South Korea alone for part of the time and I found finding a place to eat really really difficult. It seemed that a lot of restaurants were group meal oriented and so full of couples, so I was nervous to go in. I was hungry a lot. When I travelled in other countries alone it was easier for me to walk in and order, especially in Japan where they have restaurants where you can order with a machine and get a ticket then sit at the counter without ever speaking to anyone! :(((

  • Emily

    I’m from the States, and I am always comfortable eating alone and going to movies, etc. alone. Most of my friends are, too! I wonder if this depends on the area you’re from, because I worked at a restaurant and we always had people coming in alone. None of us thought anything of it. I don’t mean to discount Stephanie’s experience in her home country, but I disagree with it (in terms of what I have experienced). I live in Korea now, and it’s just so strange to eat alone. It’s very inconvenient for me because I’m a bit of an introvert and I like to spend a lot of time by myself.

    • Seokjin Jin

      I sometimes go to fastfood restaurant like McDonald’s when I have to eat alone. When I got there, I could find many people eat alone. Compare to other restaurant, people feel more comfortable to eat alone at fastfood restaurant.

  • Leslie

    People don’t eat in their car alone that often. I think most people eat in the fast food restaurant or bring in home. That’s extremely weird to go through the drive thru and just sit in the parking lot and eat. That’s really embarrassing.