Just like most Asian cultures, Korea is a proud people with many traditions and honor. If you find yourself traveling to the country you will quickly see how they take everything slowly and with great care. In this post we will explore the proper way to say cheers and toasting one another so you can fit in and make new friends in a foreign land.
Cheers in Korean
건배 (geonbae) is the term Koreans use when toasting one another. It’s meaning is simply “empty glass” which is another way to say bottom’s up. It is very similar to other Asian counties such as Japan (Kanpai) and China (Ganbei) and as you study up on the languages you will see just how common they are between one another.
As you cheers by saying geonbae, it’s proper to raise your glass and with your friends or colleagues and if you want to stay true to it’s meaning, drink your entire glass. If someone also says geonbae to you, the proper response is saying it right back.
Other Toasts in Korean
1. 건배할까요? (geonbaehalkkayo) – “May I propose a toast”
2. 우리의 건강을 위하여 건배 (uriui geongangeul wihayeo geonbae) – “To our health, bottoms up”
3. 위하여 (wihayeo) – “For the sake of” (This cheers is mainly used during business meetings)
4. 원샷! (wonsyat) – “One shot” (This is used for the heavy drinker who wants to slam there beer instead of sipping it)
Other phrases you can say while drinking
일차 = First round
이차 = Second round
삼차 = Third round
맥주 = Beer
소주 = Soju
막걸리 = Makgeolli