> Korean Food Culture > 4 Ceremonial Occasions and Food > Jerye

Table Manners






Examples of Jinseol


Difference exists among regions and families of Korea in arranging food on altar table, like the old saying of 'Each formality in each house.' Arranging food on table at sacrificial ritual is called Jin-Seol of food. Towards ancestral tablet, right side is east and left side is west. Fruits displayed lowest is named '5th line,' followed by 4th, 3rd and 2nd line to upwards. The first line is displayed with rice and soup.


Jin-Seol of food


Jin_Seol of food
1st line: Rice bowl shall be laid on left side and soup on right side.  Specifically, white rice and beef soup boiled with radish are normally used.
2nd line: Noodle, rice cake and honey are brought up on 2nd line of table.  Roasted or steamed food (called 'Jeok') and stewed food ('Jeon') are also displayed on this line.  According to principle of 'Fish east and meat west,' cooked fish shall be laid on eastern side while meat is laid on western side of table.
3rd line: On 3rd line are laid goulash, one bowl each for two tablets.
4th line: To the left of 4th line shall be laid Po (slice meat, dried pollack, cuttlefish or octopus) and to the right are laid various vegetables and sweet drink made from fermented rice.
5th line: Dry fruits such as chestnut, jujube and dried persimmon as well as fresh fruits such as pear, apple, orange and ginkgo nut are laid on 5th line.  Artificial fruit can be also used.  By principle of 'Red color east and white color west,' red fruits are displayed in the east and white fruits in the west.



Food presented to altar


All the offerings used at sacrificial ritual are called 'Je-Su' or 'Je-Chan.' The offerings may be varied according to region or family, however, they have common principle that food shall be prepared with sincerity and cleanness. Food material, to the extent possible, shall be cooked wholly (not in shreds) and simply. Garnishings should not be luxurious.


White rice heaped up in bowls and served by number of ancestral tablets.
Means 'Soup' in bowl covered with lid. Also served by number of tablets.

Boiled noodles scooped up and put into bowl, sometimes with fried egg yolks on them.


Means goulash boiled with no seasonings such as powdered red pepper.
Normally goulash made of 7 elements was served to dead kings, while to noble men 5 elements and to ordinary people 3 elements.

Dishes of roasted meat and fish are provided for ancestors, along with salt as dipping sauce.

Dishes of stewed meat and fish are prepared.  Food material added with flour and egg will be fried with oil.


Means various fresh fruits and fruit-shaped biscuits made of grains and honey.  Chestnuts shelled and trimmed well are also included.  Kinds and quantity of fruit presented to altar can be varied, however, once Confucius had advised to exclude peach from sacrificial rite.

Means slices of fish and meat.  Codfish, cuttlefish and dried pollack are normally included in cooked fish, whereas beef is mainly used as meat.

Means steamed rice cakes with various garnishings.  Mashed red-bean was abstained from using at ritual for the deceased.


Means various vegetables.  Normally 3, 5 and 7 kinds of vegetable are used at ritual.  Vegetables are displayed in separate dishes according to color.


Means 'Water Kimchi' cooked without red pepper powder.


Pure soy sauce served in cup.


Soy sauce mixed with vinegar.


Pickled fish presented to altar.


Sweet drink made from fermented rice offered at altar.


Means rice wine or sake used at ritual.


If wine is unavailable, clean water is used instead, which is dubbed Hyeon-Ju.


Two bowls of water with a few grains of boiled rice in them are served for ceremony.