15 Do’s and Don’ts of Dinning Etiquette Around The World
Eating seems like it is a simple task for everyone to do. It is something that we do everyday and is something we need to do to stay alive. They way people eat differs in different parts of the world. If you are a global citizen then you should be aware of the different dining etiquette practices of other countries. These practices can help you connect with people abroad and it pulls you out of the naive tourist bubble. Read the following list of dining do’s and don’ts in other countries if you are preparing to go abroad.
In Thailand, don’t put food in your mouth with a fork In America and other places the fork is used to grab pieces of food. In Thailand the fork is is only used to assist the spoon. When eating a dish with cooked rice, use your fork only to push food onto your spoon. Some Thai dishes are typically eaten with the hands and should not be eaten with any utensils. There are very few exceptions to the rule. One of the worst things to do besides using a fork is using chop sticks.
In Japan, never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice Chop sticks are not the idea eating utensils in the states, but in Japan they are preferred over the spoon, fork and knife. Using chop sticks is like riding a bike, once you learn, you will never forget. There are rules to using chops sticks though. Between bites, your chopsticks should be placed together right in front of you, parallel to the edge of the table and nowhere else. If there is a chopsticks rest, you use it, putting the tips you’ve been eating with on the rest. But sticking them upright in a bowl of rice is even worse and should never be done. During funerals in Japan, the rice bowl of the deceased is placed before their coffin, with their chopsticks upright in the rice.
In the Middle East, India and parts of Africa, don’t eat with your left hand In many cultures the left hand is seen as dirty, unlucky and even sinful. Countries in South India, the Middle Wast and Africa this is a well known fact. When it comes to eating you shouldn’t even touch the plate with your left hand. Don’t even pass important documents with your left hand. If you are a lefty then it’s okay to use your left hand, just make sure you never use your right hand.
In Georgia, it’s rude to sip your wine Wine is a very important and traditional drink to consume at a dinner. All over the world wine it is the drink of choice. In Georgia ( the country not the state) the people have traditional feast called a supra. Wine is drunk only at toasts and sipping it at any other time is frowned upon. Wait for a toast to be made and then down the whole glass at once. The glasses tend to be on the smaller than usual and depending on your love for wine that can be a good or bad thing.
In Mexico, never eat tacos with a fork and knife This should be a given, but just to remind you. Tacos is a Mexican dish that has become a favorite food to people all over the world. They can be a little messy to eat but that is all in the fun of having a taco. Just deal with it. Mexicans think that eating tacos with a fork and knife looks silly and snobby. Eat with your hands.
In Italy, only drink a cappuccino before noon. With Starbucks and other cafe chains all over the world it is easy to get your caffeine fix at any time of the day. In Italy caffeine drinks are like a fine art. They also feel that they should be consumed in moderation. A rule of thumb when in Italy is to never order a cappuccino after noon. Some Italians say that a late-day cappuccino upsets your stomach. If you need that caffeine fix, an espresso is an appropriate cultural choice.
In Britain, always pass the port to the left and remember the Bishop of Norwich Port is a type of wine that is popular in Britain. When dinning the port is always passed to the left. It is a naval tradition. Port side in the navy mean the left, so when passing port wine its always to the left. Passing it to the right is a mistake and not passing it at all is not good either. The wine should make a full go around the table. If a someone at the dinner table does not pass the wine, then ask the person with it, “Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?” This suppose to prompt them to continue to pass the port. If they answer the question with “No,” then reply, “He’s a very good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port.” It sounds weird but this is the proper etiquette.
In France, don’t eat your bread as an appetizer before the meal At most restaurants the server will bring out bread as an appetizer to eat before your entree arrives. In France they do things a little differently. Instead, eat the bread as an accompaniment to your food or, especially, to the cheese course at the end of the meal. Another thing that the French do differently is the placement of the bread. Anywhere else placing bread directly on the table and not on a plate is unacceptable in France it’s actually preferred.
In China, don’t flip the fish. Fish is a popular meal all over the world. China has some of the most popular fish markets and fishing is one of the most important things that keep the countries economy afloat. Eating fish has its own set of rules in China. In southern China and Hong Kong do not flip your fish. When you eat one side of the fish, either leave it alone or take the bones out and continue to eat it. In China flipping the fish is “dao yue”, a phrase similar to “bad luck.” Also to to flip the fish over is like saying that the fisherman’s boat is going to capsize. It’s very superstitious but you don’t want to chance it with these fishermen.
In Italy, don’t ask for Parmesan It is common for people to put Parmesan cheese on their pizza and pasta when they eat Italian food. They don’t do that in Italy. Putting Parmesan cheese is on pizza is seen as a sin. It’s like putting Jell-O on a fine chocolate mousse. Many pasta dishes in Italy aren’t meant for Parmesan. The traditional cheese is pecorino. If you ask for Parmesan cheese it is seen as offensive. If they don’t offer it to you, don’t ask for it.
Don’t eat anything with your hands at a meal in Chile In some countries eating with your hands is a must, in other countries eating with your hands is optional. In Chile, eating with your hands is not acceptable at all. Manners here are a little more formal than many other South American countries. Even french fries are eaten with a knife and fork. They try to appeal more to the European style of dinning.
In Korea, if an older person offers you a drink, lift your glass to receive it with both hands Korea is a strict place overall, so it’s not a surprise that dinning etiquette is the same. Showing respect to elders is an important tenet of Korean culture. When an older person offers you a drink, lift your glass to receive it with both hands. After receiving the pour with both hands, you should turn your head away and take a discreet sip. You should not start eating until the eldest male has done so and don’t leave the table until that person is finished.
Never mix or turn down vodka in Russia. Russians have a special love for vodka. That is no secret. Some of the greatest vodka brands come from Russia. While in Russia don’t expect to drink too many screwdrivers, or white russians. Vodka is commonly served straight, not even with ice. Adding anything is seen as polluting the drink’s purity. Beer is the exception to this rule, which produces a formidable beverage known as yorsh. Even when worst than mixing vodka, when some one offers you a drink, don’t turn it down. Offering someone a drink is a sign of trust and friendship, so it’s a good idea to take it, no matter what time of day.
When drinking coffee with Bedouins in the Middle East, shake the cup at the end Coffee is a universal drink. You can go anywhere in the world and have a conversation over a decent cup of coffee. The Bedouin people in the Middle East will continue to pour you more coffee once you’ve finished unless you shake the cup. Tilting the cup two or three times, when you hand it back means that you had enough. It’s such an important thing to the Bedouins.
In Brazil, play your tokens wisely Dinning in Brazil is an experience that you don’t get any where else. At a churrascaria, or a Brazilian steakhouse, servers circle with cuts of meat and tokens are used to place an order. If a server comes out with something you want, make sure your token, which you’ll have at your table, has the green side up. If you don’t want any more, flip it with the red side up. Its a never ending parade of food so choose what you want wisely. If you leave that token green side up you could end up ordering a lot more than you intended.