It is fair to say that Americans have an interesting love of food, but our relationship with it is a tumultuous one. We all hail from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and all have personal limitations on what we do and don’t eat. We generally believe in stringent table manners at a formal dinner, and wouldn’t consider eating anything that could be a domestic animal. The things we consider taboos can vary due to our melting pot roots, but around the world there are some rules that apply to etiquette and actual food consumption as a nation, rules Something we like to refer to as “food taboos.”
Taboos are technically defined as a practice “proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable.” But what makes something taboo isn’t as concrete. Whether social, religious or cultural, culinary customs are commonly associated with a multitude of nationally accepted “rules.” For Brazilians, it is considered taboo for those who are ill to consume predatory fish. Jamaicans generally believe it is taboo for children to eat certain foods and feel it affects who they will be as an adult. Other cultures like Japanese and French have strict ideas about what makes dining etiquette taboo.
Whatever it is that makes something taboo, it’s important to know the local customs if you happen to be traveling through any of these countries. So you can avoid making some of these food flubs, we compiled a list of some of the most interesting and prominent food don’ts around the world. Click through our slideshow to learn which taboos to watch out for.