etiquette

Shutterstock

Burping Is Good Manners and 25 Other Etiquette Surprises From Around the World Slideshow

What other countries consider to be polite may surprise you
etiquette

Shutterstock

Burping Is Good Manners and 25 Other Etiquette Surprises From Around the World

Shutterstock

The world is a strange and surprising place full of history that is being explored daily by wanderers and adventure-seeking foodies. With so many cultures to explore, each with its own set of social rules and unique backgrounds, it’s no surprise that what is considered to be acceptable etiquette varies culturally depending on the country, region, and tradition. But, if you don't know what's considered acceptable versus what is considered rude, you could be breaking a lot of etiquette rules!

Sometimes what one sees as disrespectful, such as running late to dinner plans or a lunch date, others see as common courtesy — as is so in Venezuela, where showing up early or on time is seen as a rude gesture. In China, if you burp, it indicates to your host that you enjoyed your meal, and the same is true for making loud slurping noises in Japan, whereas in the U.S. it's considered tacky. Regardless of what your thoughts may be of the food itself, it’s important to be careful how you come across in other cultures while traveling. That's why before you dine across the globe, you must check out why burping is good manners and 25 other etiquette surprises from around the world.

Afghanistan: Kiss Bread That Is Dropped on the Floor

Afghanistan: Kiss Bread That Is Dropped on the Floor
istockphoto.com

In Afghanistan, when bread is dropped on the floor, it’s then lifted and kissed. If you're worried about germs, try not to be clumsy when passing those rolls around!

Canada: Arrive Fashionably Late

Canada: Arrive Fashionably Late
Shutterstock

Showing up fashionably late is socially acceptable in Canada, while showing up on time or early is not.

Chile: Never Eat with Your Hands

Chile: Never Eat with Your Hands
Shutterstock

Chileans always use utensils. It’s bad manners to touch any part of your meal with your hands.

China: Make a Mess and Belch

China: Make a Mess and Belch
istockphoto.com

In China, a host can tell that you enjoyed the meal when you’ve made a mess around your table. And leaving just a bit of food on your plate shows that you’re full and you had enough to eat. Although, it’s rude to leave any rice leftover in your bowl. Belching is another way of complimenting the host on the food and isn’t considered rude.

China: Never Flip a Fish

Dreamstime

When you're eating a whole fish in China, never flip it over after finishing one side. People associate it with a capsized fishing boat, which is obviously bad luck. If you're trying to get to the meat on the other side, remove the bones completely!

Egypt: Don’t Refill Your Own Glass

Egypt: Don’t Refill Your Own Glass
istockphoto.com

It’s customary in Egypt to wait for someone else to refill your glass and for you to refill your neighbor’s glass when needed. If a glass is less than half full, it needs refilling. If your neighbor forgets to refill your glass, you can let them know it needs to be refilled by pouring a little more drink into their glass. It’s never acceptable, however, to refill your own glass.

England: Pass the Port to the Left, and Know the Bishop of Norwich

England: Pass the Port to the Left, and Know the Bishop of Norwich
Shutterstock

In England, port is continuously passed to the left side of the table until it’s finished. Some say this has to do with naval tradition — the port side of a boat is on your left if you’re facing the helm — but the true reason is unclear. If the port is not passed, it’s considered impolite to ask for it. Instead, a neighbor can ask the person who has it, "Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?" If they reply that they don’t know him, the response is, "He’s a very good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port."

Ethiopia: Eat with Your Right Hand From One Plate

Ethiopia: Eat with Your Right Hand From One Plate
shutterstock

Ethiopians consider it wasteful to eat with utensils or with more than one plate for a group. Diners share one plate and eat with their right hand. In some parts of Ethiopia, a tradition called "gursha" is practiced, in which people feed each other.

France: Use Bread as a Utensil

France: Use Bread as a Utensil
istockphoto.com

The French never eat bread as an appetizer. Instead, it’s eaten with the meal and is used as a utensil to scoop up food off the plate and into your mouth. Bread is even placed directly on the table as a knife or fork would be.

Georgia: Make a Toast, Then Empty Your Glass in One Sip

Georgia: Make a Toast, Then Empty Your Glass in One Sip
istockphoto.com

In the country of Georgia, toasting lasts for hours. Everyone at the table goes around in a circle making toasts before emptying their glasses in one big sip. Once every person at the table has made a toast, they go around the circle again. Ten to 15 (small) glasses per person are typically consumed in an evening, and Georgians only toast with wine or vodka, or with beer if they wish someone bad luck.

Hungary: Make Eye Contact When Toasting

Hungary: Make Eye Contact When Toasting
istockphoto.com

It’s said that Austrians celebrated Hungary’s defeat in the 1848 revolution by clinking their beers together, and some Hungarians are still hung up on it. So be courteous and don’t clink your beer glasses. As for other drinks, it’s rude if you give cheers without making direct eye contact.

Italy: Don’t Put Parmesan on Pizza

Italy: Don’t Put Parmesan on Pizza
Shutterstock

If your pizza doesn’t have Parmesan on it, it’s not a good idea to ask for it. Putting Parmesan on pizza is considered a culinary sin in Italy.

Italy: Never Order A Cappuccino After A Meal

Dreamstime

When you're dining the Italian way, be sure to order an espresso or a coffee after a meal. Do not order a cappuccino, as Italians believe milk beverages slow down digestion.

Inuit Tribes: Passing Gas

Inuit Tribes: Passing Gas
TeodorLazarev/shutterstock

You’re probably not visiting any Inuit tribes soon, but it’s interesting to know that this culture shows appreciation through… flatulence? Yup, a good meal is praised by letting one rip afterward.

Japan: Slurp Your Food to Say Thank You

Japan: Slurp Your Food to Say Thank You
Shutterstock

Slurping, usually when eating noodles or soup, is a sign of appreciation for the chef. In Japan the louder the slurp, the greater the thanks.

Japan: Never Stick Your Chopsticks Into a Rice Bowl Straight Up

The Japanese associate food that is presented this way with funeral offerings to ghosts. It created quite a stirr last year when a takeout box emoji was designed with the chopsticks sticking straight up! 

Korea: Accept the First Drink

Korea: Accept the First Drink
istockphoto.com

If you want to be seen as sociable in Korea always say yes to the first drink, but don’t be the first pour. You must first pour for others before you go for that refill, or just ask someone to do it for you if you just can’t wait.

Korea: The Oldest Eats First

Dreamstime

In Korea, it is considered polite to wait to eat until the oldest person has begun eating. It's also polite to keep pace with them the entire meal, so if they're eating slowly–so are you.

Middle East: Only Use Your Right Hand

Middle East: Only Use Your Right Hand
Shutterstock

In Middle Eastern countries (also India and parts of Africa) eating with your hand is commonplace, but make sure it’s the right one! No, really. Only eat with your right hand. Your left one should stay away from your food as it is used for self-cleaning.

Portugal: Step Away From the Salt

Portugal: Step Away From the Salt
istockphoto.com

It would make sense that if your food is perfect you wouldn’t add more seasonings to it. With that said, in countries such as Portugal and Egypt the chef will be offended if you use salt or pepper on their dish — so steer clear of the shakers!

Russia: Drink Vodka Neat and Always Accept a Drink

Russia: Drink Vodka Neat and Always Accept a Drink
Shutterstock

In Russia, vodka is always drunk neat. Adding any mixer — even ice — is seen as polluting vodka’s purity. The only exception is beer, which, when mixed with vodka, produces a drink called "yorsh." Also, offering someone a drink is a sign of trust and friendship, and turning it down is very offensive.

South America: Pay Respect to Mother Earth

South America: Pay Respect to Mother Earth
Shutterstock

In parts of Peru, Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia, diners pay respect to Pachamama, the Andean goddess of fertility and harvest, by spilling a few drops of their drink on the ground and saying, "Para la Pachamama." This ritual is called "ch’alla." To make an offering, some tip their glass over, while others flick it with two fingers.

Thailand: Don't Eat Rice with a Fork

Thailand: Don't Eat Rice with a Fork
Shutterstock

In Thailand, forks are mainly used to push food into a spoon. They should only be used to put food that is not rice-based into your mouth. Also, chopsticks are considered tacky eating utensils.

Tanzania: Hide the Soles of Your Feet

Tanzania: Hide the Soles of Your Feet
Feat_Martchan/Shutterstock.com

Eating on a carpet or mat in Tanzania is customary. But showing the soles of your feet is seen as impolite.

Venezuela: Arrive 15 Minutes Late

Venezuela: Arrive 15 Minutes Late
Shutterstock

If you find yourself in Venezuela and are asked to make plans to eat, make sure to arrive to the gathering about 15 minutes late. Being on time, or even early, is seen as rude in these countries. Worried about breaking dining rules abroad? You might as well stay safe and order a beer from our list of the world's 50 best beers

More From The Daily Meal:

The Best Restaurants in America, According to Yelp

The Best Family Restaurants in America

Things Your Restaurant Server Won’t Tell You, But Wishes You Knew

The Most Expensive Restaurant in Every State

The Best Hotel Restaurant in Every State