dining Etiquette mistakes

How To Avoid Dining Etiquette Mistakes Around the World

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Because of modern transportation, the world is a much smaller place. A person can fly from New York at lunchtime and arrive in London in time for dinner.

With this ability to travel the world comes a responsibility to be educated about local customs, traditions, and etiquette.

Being knowledgeable about your host country and its residents is especially important when it comes to dining. You can easily offend your dining companions if you violate the local dining etiquette during the meal.

You can also impress your hosts with your impeccable table manners and be invited to dinner again if you return to your destination.

Below you will learn a few important dining etiquette tips that will help you avoid dining etiquette mistakes around the world and make the most of your global travels.

dining etiquette mistakes

JAPAN – Itadakimasu

General Dining Etiquette Information for Japan

  • Meals are often eaten on low tables while seated on cushions on the floor
  • It is polite to say that you gracefully receive the meal before eating and to say thank you afterward.

Dining Etiquette in Japan 

  • Do drink directly from a soup bowl as spoons are uncommon.
  • Do bring bowls of rice or noodles toward your mouth to avoid spilling food
  • Do pour soy sauce into a separate dish before dipping food
  • Do eat sashimi and sushi whole
  • Do learn to use chopsticks properly. 
    • How to Use Chopsticks
      • Start by holding the chopstick with your pointer finger and thumb. 
      • Slide the second chopstick between your pointer finger and thumb. Use your middle finger to balance it.
      • Use your index and middle fingers to close chopsticks over food.
  • Do keep chopsticks in a parallel position when not using them.

Dining Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid in Japan

  • Don’t cross, lick, or stick chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice.
  • Don’t rest your chopsticks on the edge of a bowl. 
  • Don’t use your chopsticks to pull dishes toward you or use them to pass food.
  • Don’t leave a tip. Tipping can be seen as rude.

dining etiquette mistakes in japan


ITALY – Buon Appetito!

General Dining Etiquette Information for Italy

  • Always follow the lead of the host. Remain standing until you are invited to sit.
  • The host is the first to sit, eat, give a toast, and get up at the end of the meal.

Dining Etiquette in Italy

  • Hold your knife in your left hand and your fork in your right hand while eating.
  • If you are an honored guest, be prepared to make a toast later in the meal.
  • It is acceptable to leave a small amount of food on your plate.

Dining Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid in Italy

  • Do not keep your hands in your lap during the meal.
  • Do not rest your elbows on the table during the meal.

dining etiquette mistakes in italy


SAUDI ARABIA – Bel Hana Wel Shefa!

General Dining Etiquette Information for Saudi Arabia

  • Meals are generally served family-style
  • Honored guests are ofter offer the choice cuts of meat or most prized pieces during the meal.
  • Part of Saudi hospitality and generosity is to shower guests with abundance.

Dining Etiquette in Saudi Arabia

  • Eat only with your right hand
  • If the meal is on the floor, sit cross-legged or kneel on one knee.

Dining Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid in Saudi Arabia

  • Do not eat with your left hand. It is considered unclean.
  • Do not be overly chatty. Conversation is kept to a minimum in order to relish the food.

Dining Etiquette mistakes in Saudi Arabia


COLOMBIA – Buen Provecho!

General Dining Etiquette Information for Colombia

  • Do not sit until your host offers you a seat.
  • It is considered polite to leave a small amount of food on your plate.

Dining Etiquette in Colombia

  • Pass all dishes to your left.
  • When not holding utensils, your hands should be above the table with your wrists on top of the table.
  • When you are finished eating, place your silverware parallel and horizontally across the plate.

Dining Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid in Colombia

  • Never use a toothpick at the table
  • Do not switch knives and forks while eating.

dinding etiquette in colombia


FRANCE –  Bon Appetit!

General Dining Etiquette Information for France

  • If there is a seating plan, you may be directed to a particular seat.

Dining Etiquette in France

  • Do not begin eating until your host says, “Bon Appetit!”
  • Hold your fork in your left hand and your knife in your right hand while eating.
  • Do not rest your elbows on the table. Your hands should be visible, and not on your lap.
  • If you have not finished eating, cross your fork and knife on your plate with the fork over the knife.
  • Leave your wine glass nearly full if you do not want more.

Dining Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid in France

  • Do not leave food on your plate. Finish everything.

dining etiquette in france


 

MOROCCO – Besseha!

General Dining Etiquette Information for Morocco

  • The guest of honor sits next to the host and is offered the choice cuts.
  • Food is served at a knee-high round table or served on a carpet on the floor around a large communal plate.

Dining Etiquette in Morocco

  • Wash and dry your hands with the washing basin and towel provided before eating.
  • Eat from the section of the communal plate that is closest to you.
  • Scoop the food with a piece of bread or your thumb and first two fingers of your right hand.

Dining Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid in Morocco

  • Never put your hand into your mouth as you will be using it to touch the communal food.
  • Do not eat with your left hand.

moroccan food


INDIA – Kripya Bhojan Ka Annand Lijiyai!

General Dining Etiquette Information for India

  • Traditionally, meals are served on a rug on the floor and people sit around in a circle.
  • Flatbreads are served with the meal and can be used to scoop the food.
  • Keep in mind that many Indians are vegetarians.

Dining Etiquette in India

  • Wash your hands before and after eating.
  • The eldest person should be seated first and you should wait on him or her to start eating before you can eat.
  • Use only your right hand while eating.

Dining Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid in India

  • Eat everything you are served. Wasting food is extremely disrespectful.

dining etiquette in india


RUSSIA – Prijatnovo Appetita!

General Dining Etiquette Information for Russia

  • Do not begin eating until the host invites you to start.
  • The oldest or most honored guest is served first.

Dining Etiquette in Russia

  • Hold your fork in your left hand and your knife in your right hand while eating.
  • Men pour drinks for women sitting next to them.
  • It is polite to use bread to soak up sauce.

Dining Etiquette Mistakes to Avoid in Russia

  • Do not rest your elbows on the table. Your hands should be visible at all times.
  • Do not refuse second helpings.

dining etiquette in russia

Graphics by Michelle Mangan via Killarney Hotels.


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