International Food Etiquette You Need to Know

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If you want to avoid offending the locals or standing out like a blatant tourist, you’ll need to know the food etiquette of the country you’re visiting.

As the saying goes: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

MSNBC has compiled a list of some interesting food etiquette from around the globe.

In Chile, don’t eat with your hands. Eating even finger foods such as French Fries with your hands is considered bad manners.

In the Middle East, India and parts of Africa, don’t eat with your left hand. In these places, the left hand is associated with going to the toilet, so using it to eat (or even touch your plate) is considered a no-no.

In Mexico, don’t eat tacos with a knife and fork. Doing so is seen as snobby. Use your hands instead.

Pouring SakeIn Japan, if you’re eating with chopsticks, don’t leave them standing upright in your rice at any point in the meal.

If you need to free your hands of them, place them down in front of you parallel to the edge of the table (most will have a chopstick stand to lay them on).

Also in Japan, if you finish your drink, the host is obliged to refill your glass. If you want to let them know you’re done drinking, simply leave your glass half-full, otherwise they’ll keep refilling it.

A friend of mine was once in a situation where he was drinking sake in a Japanese restaurant. Every time a glass was poured for him, he felt obliged to drink (and finish) it out of politeness (as the restaurant owner had been so kind to him). Needless to say, the sake kept on flowing and the night didn’t end well for him!

Of course, how seriously and strictly you should obey this etiquette is largely dependent on where you’re eating and who you’re eating with. For example, if you’re eating in a fancy restaurant, you’ll want to take things a little more seriously than if you’re eating with a few local friends.

Have you encountered any surprising/interesting food customs while traveling? Leave a comment below to let us know!

Source: MSNBC

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