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12 International Dining Etiquette Dos & Don’ts

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

So, you are all ready for a fantastic holiday and your thoughts are turning to the delicious local cuisine you are going to sample whilst away. Whether you plan to tickle your taste buds with some exquisite tapas in Madrid, or snap up some freshly prepared sushi in Tokyo, it important to be aware of local dining etiquette to ensure that you don’t accidentally come across as rude! Here is a handy guide to some international customs.

Table(photo by: colros)

1) In Japan, slurping your food is seen as a sign of appreciation – something that would be frowned upon in the UK!

2) In many Middle Eastern, African, and Indian cultures, diners do not use cutlery when eating, and are very strict about eating only with their right hands, never the left.

3) When dining on fish in China, it is considered an honour to be presented with the fish’s eye by your host.

4) In some parts of Spain, it is thought highly unlucky to toast with a glass of water.

5) In France, offering to split the bill is considered a faux pas. Pay either all or nothing!

6) In Mexico, the use of cutlery can be considered overly pretentious!

7) Some hosts are pleased to see guests lick their plates clean. In China, leaving a little food on the plate is considered polite.

8)Never cross your chopsticks – it is considered ill-mannered!

9) In Italy, asking for extra cheese (unless it’s offered to you) can be seen as an insult to the chef’s cooking.

10) Never lift food to your mouth with a fork in Thailand – use your spoon.

11) In Russia, it is considered impolite to refuse a shot of vodka that is offered to you.

12) In Chile, touching food with your hands is bad etiquette.

Why not do some quick research on local dining etiquette before you leave, so that you know what to expect? Look around you to see how native diners are behaving. And, if in doubt – ask! Your host will be glad to explain the significance of that fish-eye watching you from your plate.


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