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Honbap: Eating Alone is the New Trend in Korea – Beeline Language

By March 22, 2018 No Comments

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What is honbap?

When you learn to speak and write Korean, you will find a lot of words that are just made up, and cannot be found in a regular dictionary. Beeline Language Korean will look at some of these vocabularies and explain the origin and background, so you would know what these words or phrases mean. Today, we will start with learning the word honbap, which is a popular phrase among Koreans describing eating alone these days.


Have you ever felt awkward at eating in a restaurant all by yourself? No need to worry if you live in Korea. It is part of a growing phenomenon known as Honbap in Korea, which means eating alone.

In the past years, more and more people are embracing the solitude of the life, a huge shift from Koreans’ group oriented culture and norm. Tons of restaurants have opened for ‘one person only barbeque’ the famous Korean style of cooking, usually meant for two or more people.

The society keeps evolving and the Honbap phenomenon will be continued. In this lesson, we will find out how to say Honbap and when would be the right and appropriate setting to use them.

What is Honbap? How Was the Word created? 

혼밥 is a mixture of the Korean words for “alone” and “rice”. Since “rice” in general also can be used for ‘meal’ or ‘eating’, we could just directly translate that into ‘alone eating’. Some may say this is a short form for 혼자 밥먹기 [hon-ja bap-muk-ki].

Hon is a short form of 혼자[Honja] and often when 혼 [hon] is placed infront of another Korean word, it usually works as adverb for ‘alone’.

Sample Sentences Using Honbap

난 오늘 혼밥할꺼야 [nan o-neul hon-bap hal-ggeo-ya] I will be eating alone today.

나도 그만 혼밥하고 친구들이랑 같이 점심 먹고 싶다. [na-do geu-man hon-bap-ha-go chingoo-deul-ee-rang ga-chee jeomshim muk-ggo sip-da] I would like to stop eating alone, and eat lunch with friends.

Where to ask for Honbap

If you ever visit Korea, make sure that you visit all the honbap restaurants, so you could dine alone.
However, many Korean BBQ restaurants will only accept two or more orders per table cooking, therefore refrain from using the big crowded places for honbap. They might not think of that as a courteous thing for someone having a honbap in a restaurant full of people, while others are waiting.

Now that you know what honbap is and when to use it, go ahead and tell your friends about eating alone in Korea!

Happy Studying everyone!

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