8 International Food Etiquettes That Might Surprise You

By Gaurav Tembe on Jan 08, 2019
* Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and book something (there is never any extra cost to you for using these links).

We are so accustomed to our own eating habits and eccentricities that when we travel, we often don't think about local customs. Just like how some hand gestures which we think are normal are considered rude in some countries (if you're in the Middle East, don't use the thumbs up sign. You may be saying that you love their food, but they're thinking of the place you're telling them to stuff it), certain eating habits are considered extremely offensive in countries abroad. Here is a handy list of some food etiquettes that you should follow while eating in different countries:

1. Portugal

Don't ask for salt or pepper or even ketchup. If you do, you are basically telling the chef that you don't like their food. Otherwise, they will feel a-salted. Hahaha.

Image source: picshypewallpaper

2. China

The meal may be absolutely scrumptious, but don't finish everything on your plate. It gives the impression that the hosts did not put enough food on your plate. Leave some food on your plate at the end of your meal. For added effect, burp. It's the best compliment you can give to the chef in China .

Image source: huffpost

3. Chile

Chile has a very unusual table manner. According to that, eating with your hands is a strict no-no. It is considered rude. Also, keep your hands above the table while you're eating, otherwise your hidden hands will invite suspicion. I wonder how this tradition started here.

Image source: gocitynews

4. Japan

Never pass food to your fellow diners with chopsticks; this reminds the Japanese of a tradition that is only reserved for funerals. Slurping your soup or even your tea will earn you a great deal of browny points with the hosts. By slurping, you're basically telling them that you love their food!

Image source: pixhadwallpaper

5. Italy

Do you like extra cheese?If you travel to Italy, too bad. Asking for extra cheese is considered extremely offensive. Unless it is explicitly offered, just don't ask for it. Also, only drink wine or water with your meal. Coke or beer are only acceptable when pizza is on the menu. Don't ask for refills!

 Image source: pexelshdwallpaper

6. Thailand

It is considered rude if you use your fork to put food directly into your mouth, especially in formal situations. Use it only to transfer food to your spoon. Makes you wonder why keep a fork there in the first place.

 Image source: fansharewallpaper

7. United Kingdom

Whatever you do, don't slurp! If you're having a bowl of soup, youre supposed to sip it from the side of your spoon while tilting the bowl away from you. Otherwise no crumpets for you, old chap! They ought to learn something from the Chinese.

Image source: wikimedia.commons

8. Middle East/India

As per the dining etiquette of this part of the world, dont eat with your left hand. It is considered unclean, because that's the hand that is generally used to wash up after using the lavatory. If you're a leftie, during your travels to this part of the world would be a great time to learn how to become ambidextrous. Best of luck with that.

Image source: yelp

The world is so diverse and each country's traditions so different. Who knew that the simple act of eating food entails so many rules and directions? Remember to research about a country's local food etiquettes before visiting lest you offend them. Otherwise, may the odds be ever in your favour. Bon Appetit!

You may also like:

Cooking Techniques Around The World

Tipping Guide Around The World  

Related Articles