Cultural dining etiquette might surprise you with some of its important rules. Don’t get caught making a serious faux pas at a restaurant. Knowing these tips will help ensure that you have an enjoyable meal with friends or family—no matter where you are in the world.
The way you handle chopsticks is important to avoid offending your companions. When you put them down between bites, always put them down together so they are parallel with the edge of the table in front of you. Never stick them upright in your food or cross them as you use them.
Hands or Utensils
In India and the Middle East, it’s considered very rude to eat with your left hand. People in France expect you to eat with a utensil in each hand. Mexicans consider it snobbish to eat with utensils, instead preferring to use their hands. In Chile, you may never touch any morsel of food with your fingers. People in Thailand generally use their forks only to push food onto their spoons.
Compliments to the Chef
The Japanese consider it good cultural dining etiquette if you slurp your food loudly. When you want to show your appreciation for a meal in China, let loose with a loud belch. It’s also a good sign for the chef if you make a mess around your plate in China. You can assure your Chinese chef that you had just the right portion of food by leaving about one bite of uneaten food on your plate.
It may seem like a simple request to ask for salt and pepper at a meal. In Portugal, this would be a serious gaffe, because it shows the chef that you don’t like their seasoning skills. Similarly, in Italy, never ask for extra cheese to add to your food.
Some of these cultural dining etiquette rules may seem random and odd, but they are important in various countries—and as with everything else, the more time you spend in any given country, the more comfortable you’ll begin to feel with its foreign cultural practices.
Photo Credit: ShellVacationsHospitality