Extremely Important Table Manners Around the World

Staff Writer
Extremely Important Table Manners Around the World

Here’s a list of food-related etiquette tips for various different countries to keep in mind while traveling abroad, in order to avoid offending your host, waiter, chef or other diners nearby.

China
Photo by Hannah Lin

Photo by Hannah Lin

In China, it’s considered a compliment to the chef if you burp loudly after your meal. It’s also totally appropriate to channel your inner toddler and make a mess while eating, shifting food around on the plate and indulging in whatever way you choose, because that’s a sign that you are really enjoying your food.

 

Japan
Photo by Hannah Lin

Photo by Hannah Lin

Remember when your parents told you to stop slurping your soup? Well in Japan, slurping noodle soup loudly is a customary practice. However, make sure that when you’re using chopsticks, never cross them, lick them or insert them vertically into your food.

 

India, Middle East and Africa
Photo by Hannah Lin

Photo by Hannah Lin

Don’t eat with your left hand, like ever. At risk of TMI, let’s just say that in these areas of the world, the left hand is usually used for *self-cleansing* and thus, using it for food would be inappropriate.

 

Chile

Chile

There are simply no foods that are considered “finger foods” in Chile, so never touch your food. Period. Always use utensils, even for things like pizza and French fries.

 

France
Photo by Hannah Lin

Photo by Hannah Lin

In France, it’s impolite to suggest splitting the bill. When making dinner plans, either buck up and know you’ll be fronting the meal yourself or invite someone who will. If you’re dining with other Americans, make sure to reimburse the payer after leaving the restaurant, if you have privately decided beforehand to share the cost of the meal.

 

Egypt

Egypt 1

Never refill your own glass. I know this one may sound a little strange, but it’s a sign of respect and courtesy to refill others’ glasses. If you see that someone else’s glass is less than half-full, refill his/her glass ASAP.

 

Luxembourg, Switzerland and France
Photo by Hannah Lin

Photo by Hannah Lin

While this is not specifically a table manner issue, in these countries, it’s considered not only impolite, but actually vulgar to chew gum in public.

Want more?

Look out for a full “Study Abroad” section being released next month, complete with interactive maps listing restaurants in common study abroad destinations and tips for dining behavior and getting around in various countries.

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