Table Manners Around the World

Other countries' table manners may suprise you


In Chile, it’s very bad manners to eat anything with your hands, and in Ethiopia, they only eat with their right hand.

Growing up, our mothers reminded us not to put our elbows on the table, to put our napkins in our laps, and to chew with our mouths closed until one day, good table manners became engrained in us.

Table Manners Around the World (Slideshow)

Just as we in the U.S. practice a standard etiquette for dining, so do people in countries around the world. But when we gather around a table to eat, our table manners may differ from others' manners, depending on where in the world they are. In Chile, for example, it’s bad form to eat anything with your hands, meaning even empanadas and chacareros (a type of Chilean sandwich) should be cut up with a knife and picked up with a fork. Ethiopians, however, consider it wasteful to eat with utensils, and so eat everything with their hands — specifically their right hand.

In countries all over the world — from Afghanistan, where bread that is dropped on the floor is lifted and kissed in reverence, to Thailand, where forks are generally only used to push food into a spoon — polite table manners differ. To show how they vary from culture to culture, we’ve rounded up table manners from around the world.


Haley WIllard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @haleywillrd.