As a kid, were you ever scolded for talking with your mouth full or putting your elbows on the table? Across the globe are worlds of cultural anomalies that sometimes contradict those basic manners we learnt in our younger years.
When it comes to travel, it's not just new cultures that are learnt, but different ways in enjoying our food. Dining in local haunts and homes often form some of the most memorable parts of a holiday. However, one chef's compliment can be another's criticism.
Save face with our eating etiquette guide to ensure you don't offend any of your new travelling buddies, lest you be shunned and forced to dine at the Golden Arches.
- Never stand your chopsticks upright in your rice bowl or pierce your food
Any vertical stick-like objects in rice resemble burning incense to commemorate passed family members in churches and temples which naturally makes for bad ju-ju at the dinner table.
- Never tip at a restaurant
Leaving a tip implies your waiter or waitress does not make enough money.
- Don't drown your sushi in soy sauce
If you must, dip only the fish side into the soy. Oh, and gobble it up in one bite.
- Slurp away to show your appreciation for that bowl of ramen
Noodles are Asia's comfort food. Make as much lip-smacking noise as you want while you eat, as it shows your host you're enjoying what they have prepared for you. Quiet eaters may get an uncomfortable, seat-shifting glance from the cook as it may signal you don't like the dish. Like many aspects in the eastern world, it's all about balance. Slurp away; just don't shower your dining companions in broth. You can ditch the spoon too – guzzle that gloriously fragrant broth straight from the bowl.
- Try not to finish everything on your plate
It can be an insult to your host as it means they have not fed you enough. Simply leave a small bite or two in your bowl to show you've had your fill.
- Don't pick up food directly from the share plate and eat it
Use the reverse end of your chopsticks (or serving utensil) to place food onto your plate or serve others.
- Never eat the last morsel
As much as you're dying to wrap your lips around that last piece of beef in black bean sauce, it's considered bad luck and makes you look greedy. Instead, wait until you're encouraged to do so.
- Use both hands when toasting
Toasts are generally performed multiple times throughout meals but be sure to use both hands to show respect, and never raise your glass higher than the eldest person at the table.
- Eat with your right hand only
Leave the cutlery in the drawer. Most Indian food is eaten by hand (fingers only), using your thumb to push food into your mouth. Never, ever use your left hand as it is associated with, er, bathroom hygiene and thus considered unclean. Any lefties out there? Good luck.
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- It's considered offensive to the chef to sprinkle cheese on pasta
Step away from the Parmesan. It's also absolute sacrilege on seafood.
- Don't cut your pasta with a knife
Twirl it around your spoon, like the fancy, cultured person you are.
- Never drink coffee with a main meal
You'll get more than a glare from your waiter. Like no service.
- Don't cut your lettuce with a knife
It's said to bruise the delicate salad leaves. Instead, fold lettuce into a bundle around your fork.
- Lunch is considered a leisurely affair
Rushing is not an option.
- Never touch the sides of your cup with the teaspoon
- Never leave your spoon in the teacup
- If in a formal setting, never dunk biscuits in your tea
'Havin' a cuppa' is practically a national pastime. An art form that has stood the test of time, it's best to follow the lead of your tea-sipping companions in order to avoid committing any faux pas.
- When eating soup, tilt the bowl away from you
Feel posh while doing so.