Close your mouth when chewing. Remove your elbows from the table. Eat everything on your plate. Although most of us have been reminded of these table etiquette rules since we were young, this set of principles are not standardized worldwide. They generally vary from country to country, and some of these eating guidelines can often be confusing. It is always good to learn what is considered polite in other countries.
Here are some of the most uncommon table manners in the world:
Italy- Never Ask for Parmesan for Your Pizza
Adding more cheese on a pizza might seem familiar in many countries but not in Italy. Although you might know the Italian word for Parmesan (Parmigiano), asking for it is considered not polite there, and you’ll be frowned upon if you do so. The simple rule to follow: if you’ve not been served it, don’t ask for it!
China – Belch and Leave a Bit of Food
In China, if you want to compliment your host and show that you’ve enjoyed the food, you can belch! Leaving a bit of food on your plate serves the same purpose and says you were providing more than enough food.
Thailand – Don’t Use a Fork To Put Rice in Your Mouth
In Thailand, a fork is a utensil that is used for help only. It should never go to your mouth, but you should only use it to push your rice onto your spoon. Another rule is to avoid eating with chopsticks considered tacky unless you eat Chinese style-food from bowls.
Mexico – Eat Tacos with Hands Only
When in Mexico, if you use a knife and a fork to eat your tacos, you’ll be considered as snobby. Use your hands instead: pinch your taco’s top with your thumb, index, and middle finger.
Korea – Use Both Hands to Accept a Dish or a Glass
Never use one hand only to accept food or drinks, especially from elders. In Korea, this is part of the culture and is a sign of respect. Also, don’t start eating before the eldest person at the table begins doing so.
Japan – Keep Your Chopstick Horizontal
If you leave your chopstick sticking up in a bowl of rice for example, it will be considered bad luck in Japan. Why? This is how food is offered to the dead in Japanese Buddhist funeral ceremonies. We recommend that you always keep them horizontal on the table when you are not eating.
Hungary – Clink Any Glasses Except from Beers Ones
This rule comes from an old tradition since the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 where they were defeated. At that time, Austrian celebrated their victory by toasting with beer glasses and although Hungarians vowed not to say cheers with beers for 150 years, this tradition still lives on.
Britain – Asparagus Should Be Eaten with Fingers
When you are served asparagus on their own with some dip or dressings in Britain, don’t use your cutlery to eat them but your fingers. Pick the vegetable up from the end of the stem, dip in the sauce, and eat it.
Russia – Don’t Mix Your Vodka
When drinking Vodka in Russia, you should never mix it, even with ice. The drink is meant to be served extremely cold and pure. “Yorsh”, a popular blend, is the only exception as it consists of beer mixed with Vodka.
France- Consider Bread As a Utensil Not an Appetizer
One of the French table etiquettes is that bread is never eaten as an appetizer. Instead, you can use it to push the food to the fork. And, rather than biting directly into the bread, tear off a piece before eating it.
Do you know any more interesting food customs from around the world? Don’t forget to leave them in the comments below.