When in Rome, they say, do as the Romans do.
Well exactly how do Romans – okay, Italians in general – eat spaghetti so perfectly? You’re not the only one who’s asked that question as you struggle to maintain an air of sophistication with your spaghetti-scooping skills.
One of the best ways into a culture is to embrace local cuisine, whether it’s stepping outside your comfort zone to try foods that you never thought would touch your lips, or trying to follow table traditions wherever you happen to be.
Yet eating like a local is not always easy; sure, people could tell you to avoid restaurants with menus in 16 languages out front and to look for where the policemen or the cab drivers are having their meals, but there is more to this than knowing where to eat; sometimes, it’s knowing how to eat.
Having lived in Italy, China, Korea, and Australia, I know that there is a certain form of comfort that comes with knowing how to blend in at the dinner table. It keeps you from feeling like such an outsider when you can join in on the festivities, whether it’s knowing exactly how to position your fork in your spaghetti in Italy so as to not let even one single strand hang down, or knowing that in Korea you should taste the soup before starting on any of the meal’s side dishes.
Don’t you want to know how to drink vodka like a Russian? Well, we do, and The Daily Meal has put together the ultimate how-to guide to help you eat like a local in nine different countries around the world.
In France, you would never leave a piece of bread on your food plate; bread (usually sliced baguette) either remains in the bread basket or on the table clothe just near your plate, or, at more upscale dining venues, it has its own special plate that it sits on while you eat your meal.
In India, you’ll find there are stand-alone sinks in many small eateries for you to wash your hands before you eat; this is incredibly important to do. And here, it’s all using only your right hand and using only your fingers, a tough task for many who are not used to it. Bread, be it naan, roti, or chapati, is used as a fork to scoop up curries. You can use the bread to break up any foods, wrap it around foods, and eat.