Korean Drinking Culture
(and popular boozy games!)
I would like to preface this post by emphasizing readers to drink responsibly! :)
At the end of August, Luke and I attended the Songdo Beer Festival. It was a pretty huge festival with tons of amazing food, thousands of people, and bands and DJs playing all night long. The selection of beers however was pretty disappointing. The website advertised a ton of different breweries to be at the festival, but unless we missed an entire section of the festival (I wouldn’t put it past us…) the beers were just as good as our selection we get at any convenience store. Regardless, there was beer. And food. And music. So what else could we ask for? We even heard some type of Korean version of DMX’s “Party Up” which was hilariously amazing!
We hung out with a couple new friends on a Friday evening so we indulged in an extravagant all-you-can-eat seafood barbecue dinner. There were huge tanks of different types of clams that you could go pick out and bring to your table. There was another section with various vegetables, meat and side dishes like kimchi. 😊 Two and a half hours later, we were finally finished and feeling very satisfied. We headed to a small bar called “Creamy Beer” with a ton of people sitting outside at plastic tables. We pulled a table out for ourselves and all had a beer for what I learned was known as “ee-cha” or “Round 2”. This blog post explains all of the Korean drinking rounds in much more detail, but in short, the first round is dinner and drinks and each place after that is a new round. Usually, the group goes to a hof as round 2 or 3. A hof is a Korean style bar where friends can hang out at a table or in a private room and play drinking games.
It’s pretty well known that Koreans are some of the hardest working people as a whole culture. But they are also some of the biggest partiers. Often times after work (around 9pm), we’ll see people being held up by their friend or coworker as they stumble to their next destination. The saying “Play hard, work hard,” sums it up pretty nicely.
To end our night, we went to a hof and taught our new friends some Korean drinking games - read about our favorites in detail below.
2+ people and a bottle of soju
How To Play:
Start by placing a small tissue of sorts into the cap (this will become necessary for the following game). Next, the first person will twist the hangy metal piece from the cap into a tight twisty. Pass it around giving everyone a turn to flick the twisty. Continue until someone flicks it off of the cap. The people on either side of the flicker must drink.
3+ people and a bottle of soju
How To Play:
Usually played after “Bottlecap”, the person who flicked off the twisty is now in control. They start by removing the tissue in the cap and reading a small number printed inside. Next, they will tell the table any range of numbers they would like. The rest of the table will take turns by guessing a number and being told either “higher” or “lower” by the flicker until someone correctly guesses the number and must drink.
2+ people, soju, beer
How To Play:
Fill a glass about half to 3/4 full of beer. Place an empty shot glass carefully into the beer so it floats. Each person takes turns pouring a small amount of soju into the shot glass. The person to make the shot glass sink, must drink the entire contents of the glass.
The ironic part about Korean drinking games is that one of their customs is to not let anyone drink alone. So even though someone might have a night of endless losing, they won’t be the only one sipping soju and getting a little sloppy.