9 Points of Dining Etiquette from around the World ...

Learning about and understanding global eating habits is just one of the things travelers love about their adventures. There are many different rules when eating and drinking all around the world; some a necessity to learn like when the host becomes greatly insulted should you not adhere to protocol. So remember that global eating habits are something to be observed wherever you are, and it makes sense to research the expected behavior before traveling, especially if at some point in your journey you are going to be invited into someone’s home. Here are some global eating habits that are good to know.

1. Portugal

Cooks are held in high regard in Portugal and good dining etiquette in Portugal is not to ask for salt or pepper if there is none present on the table. By asking for salt, pepper or any other seasoning or condiment, this is insulting the chef and so this request should be avoided at all costs to save embarrassment.

2. France

In France it is very important never to discuss money over dinner. This is considered rude and splitting the bill should never be considered. It is also important to keep your hands on the table instead of your lap, and bread must always be torn into small pieces before eating as taking a bite out of a slice of bread is impolite. These are a few rules of dining etiquette in France. Global eating habits are fascinating with each country having differing rules for meals.

3. Germany

There are several points of dining etiquette in Germany and each must be observed carefully to avoid offending your host. The first is that when journeying to the table for dinner, always wait to be shown where to sit and never sit down unless your seat is indicated. Always ensure that you wait for the host to indicate when to start eating, and never put your elbows on the table. Remember that global eating habits are different everywhere and researching the rules before you travel could make a big difference and give a good impression, which is particularly important in the business world.

4. Japan

Before travelling, it is good practice to learn the local customs and habits during mealtimes to ensure that no embarrassing errors are made. The dining etiquette in Japan is very interesting, and there are a number of rules to follow to show great respect to your host. It is vitally important that you never, ever, ever pass food to someone or to a plate using chopsticks – in funerals, cremated bone is often passed between chopsticks so doing this during a meal is very much a big no no! Chopsticks should always be used correctly and should never be pointed at people or foods, never wave them around and whatever you do, do not stab food with your chopstick in order to lift it from one plate to another. Chopstick etiquette is very important.

5. Saudi Arabia

Dining etiquette in Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Middle East, is closely aligned to the tenets of Islam. It is not uncommon to be seated on cushions on the floor for a meal and also in single sex settings. If there are no utensils on the table, do not ask for any – the meal you are about to be served should be eaten by hand – and especially important – your right hand only, as the left is considered unclean. Your left hand should be kept away from the table.

6. Ethiopia

In several areas, global eating habits involve sharing food from one plate. This is very important dining etiquette in Ethiopia as food is always shared from one plate with no cutlery. It is considered wasteful if eating from an individual plate and it is essential not to hurriedly eat more than your fair share of food. Meat dishes should be eaten last.

7. USA

In the United States of America, if someone asks you to pass the salt, if salt and pepper are on the table together, always make sure to pass them together, even if only one is asked for. This keeps the shakers together and is proper dining etiquette. Always taste food before adding salt or pepper as it is considered very rude to the chef to request seasoning or condiments before seeing if it is required to your taste. Never, ever talk with your mouth full of food and when passing items such as salt and pepper or bread, always place them on the table and don’t pass them from hand to hand.

8. Russia

The correct dining etiquette in Russia is to always place your wrists on the edge of the table during the meal, not in your lap. Your fork should be in your left hand and your knife in your right hand while eating. Etiquette when it comes to vodka is very important in Russia also - it should never be diluted and vodka is often used for toasting rather than simply sipping. When the bottle is empty, be sure to place it on the floor, never on the table.

9. Mexico

Pleasant dining etiquette in Mexico is to say ‘provecho’ when the eyes of two people who are eating meet. This means ‘enjoy’ and is considered good manners as well as making everyone feel good.

Global eating habits are an important part of making a good impression wherever you go in the world. Enjoy your food, wherever you are eating! What global eating habits do you know from countries not mentioned?

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