Learning the basic dining etiquette do’s and don’ts before you embark on your next trip to an exotic destination should be an important part of your preparation.
In the same way as you would check the climate or pick up a few useful words and phrase in the language spoken at your future destination, learning these simple dining etiquette do’s and don’ts will go a long way in making your trip a pleasant experience and save you from offending the locals.
Leaving a tip, using proper cutlery, and even the right seasoning should be kept in mind, and improper technique of any of these can cause offense to the locals.
Do’s: Do leave a tip of around 10%.
Don’ts: Don’t ask for salt and pepper if it isn’t provided on the table as this is considered offensive to the chef’s seasoning skills.
Do’s: Do rest your wrist on the table and not on your lap and keep your hands above the table.
Don’ts: Don’t split the bill as this is considered highly impolite. Either offer to pay the bill in its entirety or someone else will.
Do’s: Do drink directly from your soup bowl and slurp your food (loudly!) – this shows appreciation to the chef.
Don’ts: Don’t cross your chopsticks, don’t lick them, and do not stick them vertically into a bowl of rice – these are all considered rude.
Don’t pass food using chopsticks either as this is done only during funerals.
Don’t tip the staff as this is seen to be rude.
Do’s: Do opt for something like an espresso after a meal instead of a milk beverage to avoid hindered digestion.
Do tip 5-10% for exceptional service; the rest of the service charge is usually included in the bill.
Don’ts: Don’t ask for cheese if it is not explicitly offered – adding extra cheese to the top of your pizza or your seafood is considered a huge faux pas.
Do’s: Do wash your hands before and after eating, paying close attention to the fingernails.
Do finish your meal in its entirety as wasting food is considered extremely disrespectful.
Don’ts: Don’t eat too quickly or too slowly – maintaining a medium pace is important.
Don’t eat with your left hand as it is considered unclean. Cutlery is rarely provided so use your right hand instead.
Do’s: Do expect to receive all dishes at once rather than in set courses.
Do be ready to share as dishes will often be served to be split amongst the table.
Don’ts: Don’t use your fork to eat – use it only to push food onto your spoon.
Don’t take the last bite from the sharing bowl.
Do’s: Do arrive promptly and dressed well to indicate respect for your fellow diners.
Do burp! Yes, you read it right! This is seen as complimentary to the chef for creating a satisfying meal.
Don’ts: Don’t dig through your food for anything in particular as this is considered very rude.
Don’t finish all your food – instead leave a small amount on the plate to indicate that your host fed you more than enough.
That’s it! These are a few basic dining etiquette do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind while visiting these countries. If you’re eating in a foreign country with locals for the first time, don’t be afraid to ask their customs. They’ll respect you for being interested enough to find out, and see it as respecting their culture.
Can you think of any other dining etiquette and do’s and don’t that may help our other readers? Feel free to let us know in the comment below: