1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Korean
  4. >
  5. "무슨 음식이 맛있습니까?"

"무슨 음식이 맛있습니까?"

Translation:What food is delicious?

September 14, 2017


  • 1789

Korean has too many confusing whats, so here you go:

[Declarative] [Interrogative]
저는 이 좋아요. 무엇이 좋아요?
I like bread. What do you like?
저는 크루아상이 좋아요. 무슨 빵이 좋아요?
I like croissant. What bread do you like?
저는 빵이 좋아요. 어떤 빵이 좋아요?
I like big bread. What (kind of) bread do you like?
저는 빵이 좋아요. 어느 빵이 좋아요?
I like this bread. Which bread do you like?

무엇 is a pronoun, 무슨 is a determiner (a replacement of 무엇 where the category is specified), and 어떤 is an adjective. Since "I like croissant." could also be an answer to "Which food is delicious?", both what and which are accepted here, but please keep in mind there's a slight difference.

For those who say "what food" sounds weird, there is no better translation. Which is too specific, and what kind of is too loose (though we chose to accept all of them). "어떤 스마트폰이 좋아요?" asks what qualities you look for in smartphones while "무슨 스마트폰이 좋아요?" asks what model(s) you like. What kind of is not for the latter. "What food" in this sense shouldn't sound weird.

Personally, I like the hot chicken flavour ramen or 불닭볶음면 though I wish it was spicier. ;)


So, 무슨 is "What sort of bread do you like?" as in, croissant, baguette, bagel.

And 어떤 is more like "What do you look for when choosing your bread?" as in, soft, brown, light?


I will have to think of 무슨 as "what type of" and 어떤 as "what quality of" because I don't think of adjectives as types or kinds, I think of them as qualities. (I would not actually translate 어떤 as "what quality of" because in English that would imply "how good," which is a different meaning. But it will help me remember which is about a category/type and which is about qualities/adjectives.)


Thank you, that makes it a lot easier!


I love hot chicken flavour ramen too! :) Thank you so much for this, this is incredibly helpful!


But have you tried 핵불닭볶음면?


Nuclear Chicken Fried Noodles? That is what I got by Gtranslate:)


I got directed here by the tips and notes on formal moods, so here goes. "I like croissant." should of course be "I like croissants." IMHO "What kind of" meaning "What qualities" is not proper English anyway as bread is made and not bred. Japanese seems to have words meaning all of these (무엇 何, 무슨 何の(なんの), 어떤 何の(どの), 어느(どれ)) used pretty much the same way, or at least running into similar difficulties. 맛있습니까? if like 美味しいですか? is a bit more like "is good to eat?" in my experience. If you say something is not tasty/delicious English speakers will eat it anyway just to try it, and . . .

"What food" is English, but when they state that it's not they mean it doesn't have the meaning you're ascribing to it. In use, extremely rare as it is, it means roughly where's the definite food that's expected, not a choice of it: "What food is for dinner?" generally followed by "Will we be eating tonight?" "So let's eat!" "What food would we eat?" To be broken down into types/kinds/sorts it must be foods or a food. So there you go, basically. In English it would be "What foods are good to eat?" or "What is a food that is good to eat?" The Korean means both as it does not distinguish between singular and plural, obviously.

I'd call "what food" in Japanese (and have heard it called) "何料理(なにりょうり)" which comes back as "무엇 음식". That's what you're saying. It sounds a bit weird, doesn't it? You might even say it is a mistake. Well, that's proof that it's the best translation . . .

P.S. The course notes now say (8 May 2020) there's no "please" in Korean? What happened to 부탁(합니다)? It's not often used, but it gets the job done when you need an emphatic please, no?


삼겹살하고 두루치기도 맛있어요!


Spicier ramen is better! :-D

감사합니다 for the explanation. It makes sense to me.


Can the course-makers add this perfect explanation to the tips of the courses please? Yes there is a link to that, but I saw it too late while I was in big confusion and disheartened.


"Which food is delicious?" is a perfectly valid answer that it marked incorrect.


From how I understand it: "which" is too specific, and here it's actually "what kind of". So "which" would be wrong.


Saying "which" would mean the word "어떤" (eo ddeon) . And "what" is more "무슨" (mu seun). Thoes are two different words. That would make "which food" NOT "무슨 음식" . So thats incorrect. Hope that helps


Idk what English you all speak, but what food is fine in my dialect of suburban Massachusetts, which I consider to be fairly close to General American.

What food are we getting tonight? completely normal

Which implies options. What is a blank inquiry.

What food should we get tonight?
Don't know, what food is delicious?
^^ Completely natural. I think which food would be unnatural in the two sentences above unless the speakers were looking at a list of restaurants in the area from which they would choose.


(edited) i understand what you mean about colloquial English. I grew up with standard American English, plus differences in the colloquial choices on my paternal side differing from where my mom was from.

But for me, in order to understand Korean, I realize from Ash-Freds comments here (and those in the online tips and notes), I'll have to accept the grammar and intent of Korean concepts.

I'm looking for classes or meetup groups with native speakers so I can ask about the shades of meanings between the two language's concepts. I know that will make all the difference. Duolingo teaches, but it's structure is mainly to encourage us to study so we can learn basics.


But saying, "what food," is actually incorrect in English. It ought to be, "which food."

  • 1789

"What food" may not sound so natural, but what, as a determiner, can be used with a (countable or uncountable) noun.


"What food" may not be, strictly speaking, standard English, but people use "what" like that all the time in spoken language. Just because a phrase wouldn't be acceptable in an academic paper doesn't mean it's not good English.

If I ask my friend "What food d'you want?", I'm expecting them to tell me about dishes they are willing to eat in the moment, perhaps to help me decide what to cook. In this sense, "which" is too specific and "what kind of" might get too vague an answer. At the very least, "what food" is quicker and easier to say.


You know it's not how English works right?

  • 1789

I just checked the incubator, and "Which food is delicious?" is already accepted. Probably another mod fixed it. :)


떡볶이가 맛있습니다.


불고기는 맛있어요.


"What's tasty in Busan?" was the first thing I thought of


What food is delicious sounds weird because food is usually uncountable in English so when speaking generally is pluralised


I could be wrong, but i think 무슨 translates better to "what kind of"


You're correct. 'what type / kind of '

  • 1789

Depends. In some circumstances 무슨 cannot be translated to "what kind of". Please read my separate comment.


I don't think food is ever pluralized because of its uncountability. Do you say The food *are* in the pantry? And in any case, what is singular and plural:

What is it? What are they?


Food is sometimes made plural. It's grammatically incorrect, but it does get used in spoken English. It wouldn't be strange to hear someone say, "What foods do you like?" despite it being a nonsensical word choice - considering that food is already both singular and plural.

I actually think you're more likely to hear someone say, "What foods do you like?" than you would "What food do you like?" At least in my experience.


What foods works if asking about all types of foods. But if asking about bread as a single type of food with many variations, this would be a case where both "what" and "which" can be used with bread as a general name for a food that has many subgroups. :)


You could say The chips are yummy, the potatoes are buttery, the pancakes are too big for my plate...

  • 1789

‘It would work by asking you a series of questions about what music you like or dislike.’

This is an example from the Oxford Dictionary. "What food" may not sound so natural, but food being uncountable has nothing to do with it sounding weird.


무슨 is a form of What in korean. The word for which is more 어느, but there are variations of that word as well.


"What's tasty in Busan?" "무슨 음식이 부산에 맛있습니까?"

  • 1789

부산, in this case, is usually a location and at the same time a topic, so one would say "부산에는/부산은 무슨 음식이 맛있습니까?"


@TakiyahW. Not sure if that is correct but nice BTS reference ;)


나는 불닭을 좋아해요 :3


"what food" sounds ok to me, though "what kind of food" is perhaps more frequent


"What kind of food is delicious?" is marked wrong. Jan. 6th 2018

  • 1789

I just checked the incubator, and "What kind of food is delicious?" is already accepted. Probably another mod fixed it. :)


For anyone confused between 무슨 & 어떤.

무슨 = What assortment of ____
e.g The assortment of chocolate would be Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate & White chocolate

어떤 = How do you like the specific assortment ? e.g I like the specific assortment (big/small/narrow/wide)


부산에서 맛있는 음식은 무엇인가?


JYP's organic food is very delicious


This seems grammatically incorrect- shouldn't it be, " Which food is delicious? "? Please, tell me if I'm wrong. -3-

Learn Korean in just 5 minutes a day. For free.