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Basic Food Etiquette in Different Places Around the World

I love traveling and sharing my tips and tricks to ensure everyone gets the full cultural experience abroad.

Check out my tips and tricks to ensure you're dining experience is both respectable and fun!

Check out my tips and tricks to ensure you're dining experience is both respectable and fun!

Different Dining Etiquette Every World Traveler Should Know

One of the best parts of traveling is experiencing different types of cuisine. Who doesn't want to devour some pasta in Italy and some sushi in Japan?

However, dining in foreign countries can be both intimating and confusing. Different cultures have different rules and expectations. So, it's wise to brush up on them before heading to the airport.

Follow these tips and tricks to ensure that you don't make a fool of yourself and don't offend any locals.

French Food Etiquette

  • You should bring a bottle of wine for the host. In France, you should eat most things with a fork. If in doubt, watch and follow your host.
  • Keep your hands on the table while eating.
  • Do not place a napkin in your lap right away. Wait until the lady of the house places her napkin on her lap first.
  • Do not drink until the host makes a toast.
  • Tear your bread into a bite-sized piece, and then eat the piece of bread.
  • If you are dining out, a tip is considered rude.
  • You can wipe your plate with a piece of bread.
In Spain, you should always keep your hands visible and above the table.

In Spain, you should always keep your hands visible and above the table.

Dining Etiquette in Spain

  • Always keep your hands visible and above the table.
  • Eat everything with a fork. Do not eat anything with your hands.
  • Rest your wrists on the table.
  • Do not eat until the host begins.
  • Put your knife and fork on your plate parallel with the handles facing to the right to show that you are done eating.
  • Do not leave until the host or guest of honor does.

German Restaurant Etiquette

  • It is good etiquette to remain standing until you are shown where to sit.
  • Do not begin eating until the host lets you know it is ok to do so.
  • Eat your meat with a fork. Use a knife only if it is necessary. If you eat meat with a fork, it lets the cook know the meat is tender.
  • It is rude to put your elbows on the table.
  • Use a fork in the left hand and a knife in the right.
  • It is rude not to finish everything on your plate.
  • Indicate you have finished by lying the fork and knife parallel across the right-hand side of the plate.
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Restaurant Etiquette in Italy

  • DO NOT EAT WITH YOUR FINGERS! (This includes pizza, so if you order a pizza, cut it with a knife and a fork like you would a steak.)
  • Keep your hands above the table, even when the meal is complete.
  • Eat plenty; it lets the host know you enjoy the meal.
  • Place your fork and knife on the right side of the plate to indicate to your server that you are done eating.
Being fashionably late in Mexico is considered normal and acceptable.

Being fashionably late in Mexico is considered normal and acceptable.

Dining Etiquette in Mexico

  • Do not eat until the host tells you where to sit.
  • Do not finish your plate. It is proper to leave a little food on your plate when you are done with a meal.
  • Wait until the host starts eating before you eat.
  • Keep your hands visible at the table. Rest your wrists on the table.
  • Men make toasts; women do not.
  • You should arrive at a dinner party about thirty minutes late in most places.
  • At a large party, you may introduce yourself. At a small party, let the host introduce you.
  • When you have finished eating, place your knife and fork across your plate with the prongs facing down and the handles facing to the right.
  • Sometimes forks are not used. If this is the case, use a tortilla to eat your food.

Japanese Food Etiquette

  • If you are in Japan and visiting someone’s home, it is proper to bring a gift. (Food is appropriate.)
  • It is proper to give a gift at the end of a visit. Do not expect them to open the gift in front of you; it is considered rude.
  • You should take your shoes off when entering a home.
  • Rinse your hands in the water bowl before eating.
  • The Japanese believe you should eat every bite on your plate. It would be rude if you did not clean your plate.
  • Never pour your own drink. Have someone next to you pour yours, and you should pour the person next to you. If someone holds their cup up towards you, this is usually not a toast; they are asking you to fill their cup.
  • Learn to eat with chopsticks.
  • If you are eating sushi, eat it in one bite.
  • Do nothing to add to the flavor of your food; it will be an insult to the chef.
  • Slurping is a norm while eating in Japan. You should slurp to show appreciation to your host.
  • In some Asian cultures, it is polite to burp at a table, but it is rude to burp at a table in Japan.
  • It is good etiquette to try a bit of everything.
  • The conversation should be kept minimal.

Russian Restaurant Etiquette

  • Do not turn down an invite to a dinner or a social drink. It is rude to do so.
  • Do not start eating until the host tells you to do so.
  • It is polite to let the older guests get their food before the younger guests do.
  • Use your bread to dip sauce from your plate before you take a bite.
  • Do not finish your plate. It is polite to leave some food on your plate at the end of a meal.
  • Spend time socializing after a meal. Do not eat and run. You should not leave the dinner party until the guest of honor has left.
  • Do not drink until a toast has been made.
In Turkey, dining is supposed to be extremely social so make sure to join in on the fun!

In Turkey, dining is supposed to be extremely social so make sure to join in on the fun!

Restaurant Etiquette in Turkey

  • In Turkey, dining is a social event; everyone will be talkative. Make sure to participate in the conversation!
  • If you invite someone to dine with you, you must pay for the meal. Bills are not split in Turkey.
  • If you were invited to eat, you should invite the people that asked you, in return, before you leave Turkey.
  • Eat with your right hand. Do not use your left hand to eat.
  • Eat everything on your plate.
  • Put your knife and fork side-by-side on your plate to indicate you are done.

Dining Etiquette in the United States

  • Place a napkin in your lap before you eat.
  • Do not smack while eating.
  • Do not talk with your mouth full.
  • Do not reach over someone’s plate. If you need something, just ask them to pass it to you.
  • Do not eat until the host begins.
  • Keep your elbows off the table.
  • Sit up straight, and bring the food to your mouth.
  • If eating a steak, cut one piece at a time, and eat one bite at a time.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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