Keeping up with food etiquette rules from innumerable countries and cultures around the globe can be very daunting. Let’s say, you have a fetish for traveling the world. And with that comes trying out the local cuisine of the place by eating out in a public place. Sometimes you can also be simply invited over for dinner or lunch by a native and the last thing you would want while touring such a distant land is to be looked down upon by folks around you. You would want to blend in with the crowd. But sorry to break it to you that a sheer ignorance of table manners can mar your foreign trip. Who would want that? On the other hand, some etiquette rules are just straight weird and you can read more about them here and share a laugh or two.
Don’t put food in your mouth with a fork in Thailand
So what should be done? You can use the fork to transfer food into your spoon, and then put the spoon in your mouth and eat because that is not offensive unlike eating with the fork alone. Or you have got to use your hands. Plain and simple. On top of this, chopsticks are also considered tacky by the countrymen.
Never order a cappuccino after a meal in Italy
The logic is that milk is bad for digestion. So you wouldn’t typically want to have milk just after you have had a meal. And if you do, the Italians will know you’re not not one of them, instead a tourist! If that’s not a problem, you can very well go on. Or maybe order an espresso.
Belch while eating in China
Yes! You heard it. Burping is a sign of your enjoying the meal. It’s also seen as a token of your appreciation for the food that you’re having. So keep burping and making people happy! Another unusual food etiquette rule in the nation is to keep some leftovers in your plate. It may sure sound messy if you are in the habit of finishing everything off your place but in China, food not eaten suggests that the host has given you more food than you can actually eat. Isn’t it weird? Conversely in countries like India and Japan, an empty plate unveils that the eater has very much liked the meal that was offered to him/her.
Never mix your vodka in Russia
You need to have vodka neat, that is, with no adulteration whatsoever. In fact, you’re not even allowed to put ice because it is believed that doing so would hamper the purity of the ‘pure liquid silver’ drink big time. And also, you wouldn’t want to turn down a person who offers you a drink – no matter what. Reason is, a person offering you a drink is taken to be a symbol of trust and friendship.
If an older person offers you a drink, you lift your glass and receive it with both hands in Korea
This is a big deal in Korea because it says how much chaps respect their elders. So now you know what you should be doing to win the hearts of Koreans! Also, a big deal for Korean people is to wait till the eldest person in the particular group starts eating. You are also required to keep pace with that person! Just imagine if the two people at a table are twins, what the ‘younger’ one has to endure!
Never flip the fish in China
In southern parts of China and Hong Kong, you must not flip a fish even when you’re done with one side. It spells ‘bad luck’ outright and the Chinese believe it sends the message that the boat of the fishermen will be capsized. So how do you suppose people over there eat the entire fish? They just remove all the bones, problem solved.
Take care of how you handle the teaspoon in Britain and America
First of all, you might be inclined to let your spoon touch the sides of the cup while stirring but you ought not to do that. And after you’re done with the stirring, you’re not to leave the spoon in your teacup. Keep the spoon in the saucer and make sure that it faces the same direction as the handle of your cup! The English also like to have bananas using a fork and a knife. I mean, so much for table manners people!
Never pass food from chopstick to chopstick in Japan
You must be thinking what can be possibly wrong about passing food from chopstick one to chopstick two, right? Well here’s the thing. During funerals in Japan, chopsticks are generally employed for passing bones. You should also keep in mind that the Japanese appreciate slurping one’s food, in case you’re having either soup or noodles. This is because according to them, slurping goes a long way in improving the flavor of the particular dish and letting you enjoy hot dishes more quickly and it basically shows off the cook in a good light. Making your chef happy is the goal! In many parts of Japan, tipping is not really considered appropriate.
Don’t point your chopsticks in Japan
You shouldn’t put chopsticks at a right angle to your food. Instead they should be parallel to the edge of the table in front of you. The logic behind is that in Japanese funerals, a rice bowl (belonging to the deceased) is placed in front of the coffin (in short, the ceremonial meal offering to the dead person) and the chopsticks are kept upright in the rice bowl. The chopsticks can also look like funeral incense sticks. There you have the reason. If you do it in a Japanese restaurant, the owner will possibly take offense even without your knowing. Another couple of things to look after is that your chopsticks should ideally not point at other people either (as it counts as an insult to them), they shouldn’t be kept upside down and they shouldn’t tap on your bowl.
Never eat with your hands in Chile
No, not even if it’s just fries! You got to make the fork and spoon move! That’s how it works in the Latin American nation of Chile. The folks are quite formal when it comes to their cutlery sets! For foreigners – needless to say – this food etiquette rule is real hard to keep up with.
Now put your traveling pants on and begin exploring all the goodness of the world!