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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

You are what you eat, but you’re also how you eat. We take a tour around the world, from dinner table to dinner table, and it’s curious and amazing how different table etiquette really is! Here’s your guide to table manners from Chile to China.

Never add salt and pepper to your food in Portugal

If you don’t find salt and pepper on a dinner table in Portugal, it’s because you don’t need them. It’s considered a huge insult to the chef if you ask for them, so tuck in to your dinner as is because if there’s one person you don’t want to offend, it’s the chef!


Never cut your lettuce with a knife in France

If you spend your holidays in Paris and you find yourself ordering salad at a nice restaurant on the banks of the Seine, don’t even think about cutting your lettuce with a knife. Your bad style will be met with a stern French look.


A burp shows you’ve eaten well in China

There’s no better way to show your host that you’ve eaten enough and enjoyed it than letting out a burp at the end of your meal. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that the Chinese Government would like to “civilise” their tourists

Never eat with your hands in Chile

If you’re visiting this South American country, remember to always eat using cutlery. In general, Chileans eat everything with fork, knife or spoon… even their chips!

Chips with ketchup

Never point to a person with chopsticks in China

This is considered a serious insult and one that is steeped in superstition. If you’re someone that gestures a lot while you talk… or if you’re Italian… this is something to remember while you’re abroad.

Don’t eat all the food on your plate if you’re in the Philippines, Cambodia, Korea or Egypt

In many Asian countries and cultures, it’s an insult to your host if you finish all the food on your plate. It’s a sign that they haven’t served you enough food.


Punctuality is bad style in Tanzania

Are you chronically late? Then Tanzania is probably the best place for you! Arriving to a dinner invitation on time is bad style. The best time to arrive is 15-30 minutes late.

Never eat with your left hand in Arabic countries

Lefties will have some difficulties here, as it’s considered very impolite to east with the left hand, which is traditionally used to wipe your rear after going to the bathroom.

What’s proper dinner table etiquette where you come from?

Imgs: menhhai, stevendepolo, fred_v / Flickr cc.

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