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Etiquette can vary widely from country to country. From tipping to handshakes and removing shoes at the door to knocking knuckles on the table for applause, there are many different gestures around the globe. Let’s focus on dining etiquette around the world and see how customs vary depending on your destination.
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In Japan, you will be expected to eat your meals with chopsticks. If you’re not sure how to use your chopsticks, ask your hosts, and they will certainly be happy to oblige. Food is usually eaten out of beautiful authentic Japanese quality ceramic bowls too. And there are also certain things you should and shouldn’t do with your chopsticks. When not using them, always place them on the chopstick holder and never cross them. Always pick up food with chopsticks from common bowls and place in your own bowl before eating. And don’t hold your chopsticks over food while deciding what to eat. This is seen as being greedy. And never point with your chopsticks when you are talking.
Africa is a vast continent, and different rules apply depending on where you are. In certain parts of Africa and predominantly in Muslim regions, you should never eat with your left hand. And remember that hand-to-mouth eating is still a common custom in certain parts of Africa. If you are eating with your hands, use your right one, and use your thumb and first two fingers to pick up and put food in your mouth. And don’t forget to wash your hands before and after the meal in the bowls provided.
Appreciating Your Meal
In western cultures, it is seen as rude to slurp your food or belch after a meal. But in Japan, slurping noodles and soup is common practice and shows you appreciate your meal. And if you belch after a meal in China, it’s a sign that you’ve had a fantastic meal and is seen as a compliment to the chef.
In Thailand, all food ordered is served at the same time and is delivered to share. Courses here are designed to be split, s expect to order lots of smaller dishes to tuck into. But don’t ever take the last bite from a sharing bowl as this is seen as disrespectful. Also, don’t eat food directly from your fork. Only use the fork to push the food onto your spoon.
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Never ask for extra cheese on your meal if you are at a restaurant in Italy. This is seen as an insult to the chef. And after your meal, for true Italian flair, always order an espresso.
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When dining in France always keep your hands above the table and rest your wrists here and not on your lap. Use your side bread to help food onto your fork. But never bite directly into your bread. Always tear the bread if you are eating it without other food from your plate. And In true French style, never split the bill. Always either offer to pay the entirety or wait for someone else to pay. It’s seen as highly unsophisticated to go ‘Dutch’ Especially as you are in the wrong country!