Each culture has its own etiquette that should be obeyed when traveling. Many countries have specific rules and guidelines to follow when it comes time to share a meal, as dining rules tend to be followed more strictly than other rules.
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The dining rules of the world are helpful to know because if there’s one place you don’t want to make a faux pas while traveling, it’s at the dinner table! Keep reading to find out what 10 dining rules you should know about, and always remember to obey around the world. It could save you a lot of embarrassment!
10 Australia: Only Friendly Banter; No Business Talk
Australians have a reputation for being friendly. It only makes sense that when you’re dining with Aussies you should leave the business talk to the boardroom. Unless you’re specifically having a business meeting over dinner, dining with colleagues and clients should involve conversation based on friendly banter rather than business talk.
Because Australians are fairly relaxed, there aren’t too many other dining rules you have to remember when eating Down Under. It’s very hard to offend an Aussie with something like putting your elbows on the table or using the wrong fork.
9 France: Elbows Off The Table
Now, a place where you should remember to keep your elbows off the table is in France. When it comes to table manners, the French tend to be a little pickier than people from other countries. Depending on where you’re eating in France, you could attract a lot of disapproving looks if you forget to keep your elbows off the table.
The bread roll that is typically served with a meal should also be broken with your hands rather than cut with a knife. Remembering these rules will keep you in the good books!
8 Korea: Allow Elders To Eat First
The culture of Korea is heavily influenced by values of hierarchy. In other words, elders are given more respect and admiration than their younger counterparts. There is a huge emphasis on showing respect to elders and this is very obvious during meals. If there’s one social blunder you don’t want to make, it’s disrespecting the elders of the group.
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When dining with elders in Korea, don’t start eating until they have started. You should also remain standing until they have taken their seat and only sit down after them.
7 Middle East: Right Hand Only
In the Middle East and some Asian countries, the right hand is considered the clean hand. Historically, the left hand was used for toilet duties. So even if you’re left-handed, it is considered rude to eat with your left hand. Always use the right hand.
This is especially important when eating from a communal dish, as many of the servings in countries like Morocco can be. Only eat from a certain portion of the communal dish so you’re not treading into other people’s food territory, and always eat with your right hand only.
6 China: Leave Food On Your Plate
Depending on where you grew up, you might have been told that it was rude to leave anything on your plate. In some cultures, this rings true—leaving food on your plate is considered disrespectful to your host. But in some countries, the more disrespectful thing to do is actually eat everything you’re given. This is the case in China.
It’s considered rude to eat everything on your plate because doing so implies that you’re still hungry, even if you’re not. That means that the host hasn’t done a satisfactory job of providing enough food and can make them feel bad.
5 Italy: Don’t Add Condiments To Your Pizza
Italian food has been loved and adopted all around the world. It has also been adapted according to the varying tastes of countries that now serve it. Typically, the authentic food you find in Italy will be very different from the adapted version around the world. Don’t expect to find pineapple on your pizza in Italy!
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When dining in Italy, it is a faux pas to add condiments to your pizza. That would be trying to make the dish into something it’s not rather than appreciating it for what it is: simple.
4 India: Use Flatbread Instead Of A Fork
In India, you might find that much of the food is eaten from communal dishes rather than from individual plates. This could be the case if you’re invited to someone’s home to eat. There are a few things to remember, including to always eat with your right hand and only eat from your portion of the communal dish.
The other thing you should remember is that if you don’t want to eat using your hands, you should eat using flatbread. Silverware is not authentically Indian and flatbread or the hands are typically used to eat.
3 Spain: Eat Everything On Your Plate
Unlike China, Spain is a country where it’s actually considered rude to leave food on your plate. This isn’t seen as an insult to the host, but wasteful. If you’re starting to feel full, it would be better to try to eat as much as you can and then refuse a second serving. Bread is often used to mop up the remnants on the plate, but you don’t have to do that if you’re full.
If you accept a second serving of food, you should still be hungry enough to eat all of it. The last thing you want to do is waste food that someone has put a lot of effort into making.
2 Japan: Slurping Is Okay
In western countries, children are often taught that slurping is bad manners. When eating things like soup or noodles, slurping is considered rude. But in Japan, a country where the etiquette can be quite different from what it is in the west, slurping is actually acceptable. Don’t be surprised if you’re eating noodles in Japan and you hear everyone around you slurping.
Blowing your nose in public, on the other hand, is considered to be the height of rudeness in Japan. This is especially true if you’re eating dinner. Definitely no nose-blowing at meal times!
1 England: Follow The Queen’s Lead
The chances are you’ll never dine with the Queen of England. But if you do stumble upon the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do so, you don’t want to be in the dark about the rules! And when you’re eating with the Queen, there are a lot of them.
Basically, nobody sits until the Queen sits. Nobody eats until the Queen eats. And when the Queen stops eating, you stop eating. Even if you’re still hungry. Don’t worry, though. The Queen has been known to forgive dining blunders and make everyone at her table feel welcome.