Folium: Dining Etiquette From Around the World via JoinDarkSide


Folium: Dining Etiquette From Around the World via JoinDarkSide

Dining Etiquette From Around the World via JoinDarkSide (Click for Graphic!)

“Do NOT talk with food in your mouth!”  Every child has probably heard this phrase at one time or another as well as “Keep your elbows off the table.”  Both of these phrases correspond to the dining etiquette that is part of the American culture (although some did not get the memo).  Table manners are how people view others as being respectable and exceptionally polite.  Other table manners that are widely encouraged in the United States are placing the napkin provided on your lap until the end of the meal, waiting until everyone is served at the table before eating, and use the silverware farthest from your plate first.  These are courtesies one learns during their adolescence and should become a constant routine when enjoying their dining experience as a respect to those who accompany them or are nearby.

But were you aware that other countries have their own version of dining etiquette?  There are some table manners that might seem quite bizarre to those born under American influence, but learning the beauty of another culture is what the thrill is all about.  I will be specifically speaking in regards to the DO’s and DONT’s of the cultures residing within Portugal, France, Japan, Italy, India, Thailand, and China.

Bom apetite.

In Portugal, it is considered extremely insulting if one asks for salt and pepper when there are none sitting on the table.  This is in regards to the chef and would be considered offensive.  They would assume that you are downright bashing the chef’s culinary skills.  But a DO in this country is leaving a tip of around ten percent.

Bon appétit.

In France, one should keep their hands on the table even resting one’s wrists on the edge of the table is considerate enough, but one should never lay their hands on their lap.  Another DO is using the bread provided as practically another utensil for the bread should be used to move food onto the fork.  The bread must also never be directly bit into, but rather tearing of a small piece and then consuming it.  Once the bread is no longer used, it should be placed on the table and never on a plate.  A huge DON’T in France is to split the bill because it is considered unsophisticated and one should pay it in its totality.


In Japan, they have a few DON’T’s in which one might want to be very cautious about.  The first one is that you should not do anything with your chopsticks but eat properly with them and you cannot place them vertically in the bowl of rice for that is considered dangerously rude.  Don’t even cross them either!  Another DON’T is passing food using chopsticks for this is only done during funerals and nowhere else.  Also one does not need to leave a tip for the staff because it could be taken incorrectly.  But one should drink straight from the soup bowl and make loud slurping noises because it is taken as a kindness towards the chef.

Buon appetite.

In Italy, it is considered rude to add extra cheese to pizza unless it is offered by the server, but it is even worse to add it to any type of seafood.  They recommend avoiding milk beverages after a dinner for it would complicate digestive issues, but one can go for the espresso on the menu.  Now if the service that one has received is remarkable then one should leave a five to ten percent tip, otherwise no need.

भोजन का लुत्फ उठाएं

In India, a definite DON’T is leaving any food on the plate for one needs to finish it all because it would be considered wasteful.  Also one must be eat their food at a moderate pace, cannot be too fast or too slow.  It is also hygienically important that one cleans their hands before and after dinner especially cleaning under the fingernails where unwanted particles might lie.  They actually prefer to eat with the right hand rather than the left because it is considered unclean to use the opposing hand.


In Thailand, one actually receives all of their meals at the same time for this is a custom in this country.  Dishes are always expected to be shared between all individuals accounted for at the table.  A major DON’T is to use your fork to eat, it should only be used to move the food onto the spoon.  It is also customary to not take the final bite from the plate in which is being shared within the group.


In China, it is very common to dress fashionably as well as being on time as a kindness for the diners nearby.  A DO in this country is to belch once one if finished with their meal to show gratitude to the chef for serving such a wonderful meal.  Several DON’T’s that one should be aware of in China is that one must not finish their food entirely as opposed to the customs in India.  This is merely for the fact that is expected that the chef has given you plenty to eat and then some extra left over.  You also cannot dig through the food to find something specific that you want to devour, everything is eaten together.  Finally, restaurants specifically have a no tip policy in this country.  Cool huh?

Comparing all of these manners to the ones practiced in the United States, it is evident how distinctive each and every country can be with regards to their culture.  But remember that etiquette is courteous and should be respected within each country no matter how different it is.  Now go out and enjoy the pleasantries of other cultures.  Bon appetite!

LEAF Contributor
Yaneczka Flores


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