Treating your taste buds to local flavours at the place of your holiday is one of the most sought after experiences for any traveller or foodie. The idea of relishing an authentic meal in a foreign country is all fun till the time you don’t get stared at for your sloppy table manners.
Since dinning customs and rituals around the world vary from one another, and what may be considered appropriate, and even an advisable thing to do at the dining table in one country may be something that offends your fellow diners in another, you need to watch out for common mistakes to avoid while dining around the world.
Slurp All You Like in Japan
While slurping might get you condescending looks from fellow diners in most of the western world, it is a recommended practise while eating in Japan. The Japanese believe that the louder your slurp, the more you appreciate the food at the table. Also, try learning the accepted ways of using the chopstick in Japan and China before you visit. As a principle, don’t lick them, don’t cross them or stick them vertically into a bowl.
The Right is Right and the Left is Wrong in the Middle East
We’re talking of hands here. In the Middle East, and also countries like India and Pakistan, it is considered unclean to eat food with your left hand as the left hand is assigned the tasks of maintaining the basic hygiene of the body. Also, don’t be surprised if you see people eating with their hands, directly off the plate in these parts of the world as it is commonplace to do so.
Use Fork and Spoon or Fork and Bread in France
The French use both their hands for eating and use either a combination of fork and knife or fork and bread. The bread is consumed not only as an appetiser but serves the same purpose of pushing the food onto the fork as a knife. There is also a right way of eating the bread i.e. breaking it into a piece and not biting into it directly.
Pizza with Extra Cheese? Not In Italy
Though the entire world treats itself to cheese-burst and extra-cheese pizzas, it is considered impolite to add extra cheese to your pizza in Italy. As a ritual you should never ask for cheese separately in Italy if you have not been offered some.
Hands on the Table in Russia
The Russians consider keeping your hands in your lap impolite while dining. So if your hands need rest, make sure you rest them on the edge of the table. It is also advisable to always follow the Fork in Left, and Knife in Right rule in Russia.
Sharing is Caring in Ethiopia
The Ethiopians all eat from a single plate of food with hands. You might find it odd, but it is best that you don’t eat in your own plate while dining in the country as it is considered wasteful.