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Food Etiquette That Might Totally Surprise You

Food Etiquette That Might Surprise You
Different countries can have really twisted food etiquette. Some might find it okay to burp, while others get offended if you refuse a drink! Being well-informed beforehand can be quite a lifesaver.
Cyna Bhathena
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Noodle on chopsticks with people in background,Girl eating pasta with hands in a profile view
Did You Know?
In China, it is considered bad luck to flip a fish. So, while savoring one, be thoughtful and pull the bone off instead of turning it over!
While all of us are fluent with our native food etiquette, most of us aren't nearly quite as well-versed with those from across the globe. A Japanese will appreciate your slurping sounds at the table but someone else, eh... not so much. Though people from most countries are tolerant and forgiving towards foreigners, some of your innocent mannerisms may earn you distasteful glares, or even enthusiastic hand gestures if you're in a place like Italy!

It may seem surprising to most of us, but in some cultures, small gestures like the way we sit or how we leave the cutlery counts in a huge way. In extreme cases, your host might even be offended if you don't burp! So, if you're not keen on making a spectacle of yourself throughout your journey, keep the following dos and don'ts in mind.
International Food Customs that May Surprise You
Cheers to a Good Sex Life!
Austria: Ensure you make eye contact whilst clinking your drinks, lest you're okay with being cursed to 7 years of bad sex life!

Though the tradition traces back to Austria, many other European countries, like France and Germany are also religious followers!
Watch the Chopsticks
China: Though mastering the usage of these slender sticks is important, remembering not to leave them pointing towards others is equally essential -- it is considered rude and disrespectful to do so. While you're at it, remember to not leave them pointing upwards as well; it reminds them of gravestones.
Relish it with a Fork and Knife
England: You don't get more prim and polished than the English. You'll have to put your best foot forward while you're there, and this includes (but is not limited to) eating a banana with a fork and knife.
It's Good to be Late!
Tanzania: This is one of the few places that people like myself would love to visit. Why? Because it's considered impolite to reach on time! In several places, like Tanzania, it is in fact preferred if you come in late, at least by 20 minutes to half an hour.
You're Bound to Get Sloshed!
Russia: While vodka is quite the hard hitter in most other countries, it is like an everyday beverage in Russia. So you can expect your host to serve a round of vodka almost on a daily basis. The catch is, it is considered extremely rude and impolite to refuse vodka.
Burp Away to Glory!
Canada: In several countries, like Germany, Canada, India and China, it is acceptable to burp; it shows that you have enjoyed the food and hospitality. Especially in Germany, if you don't burp, your host might feel hurt as though the meal was unsatisfactory!
Pour Before You Chug
Beer in a glass
Tanzania: Before you grab that brew, you might want to reconsider. While it's perfectly normal in most countries to hold a beer bottle and sip onto it, in places like Tanzania you might come across to people like a ill-mannered brute for doing so! So spare a minute to pour it into a glass.
Tommy Doesn't Get Many Leftovers
doggie bag
France: Most of us would agree that the French are high on etiquette. This is a small tip, but it could save you a lifetime's worth of embarrassment at a good French restaurant -- never ask for a doggie bag. Unless, you're not too keen on saving face!
Gotta Be Crafty With the Fork
catch the lettuce with fork
France: When eating salad, it's not advisable to cut the lettuce. Fold it over, and pick up the piece with a fork. This sounds mighty easy, but it could be a pain with the leaf opening up right before you take the bite!
Only the Right Hand Please
use the right hand
India: In many eastern countries, like India and Afghanistan, one is supposed to use only their right hand for eating purposes. The left is reserved for specific 'purposes', so that leaves you with only the right. For those who are lefties, it is okay to switch the order.
Don't Pick 'em, Mash 'em!
mash the potatoes instead
Germany: Like potatoes? Don't jump at cutting them with a knife; it's considered impolite in Germany. Instead, mash them with the help of a fork.
Now that's a Glass Half Full!
fill the saucer
Egypt: It is customary for Egyptians to pour tea until it spills over into the saucer. So it's best to be prepared lest you give your host formidable glares for no reason!
Leave 'em on the Table
put the bones on the table
Morocco: Don't be surprised if you catch your hosts chucking leftover bones on the table itself. In Morocco, if the table is covered in plastic, it's acceptable to toss the bones onto the table itself!
Don't Chop Off the Last Bite
leave the chopsticks together on the rim
China: Though the food was lovely, don't munch off the last bite unless you want a second serving -- as it is customary for the host to give you another helping if your plate is empty.
Some Other Unique Food Etiquette
Green Salad and fork
In France Both your hands must be on the table, otherwise it is assumed that you're up to some mischief under the table! However, this is no excuse for the elbows to come up. Place your wrists along the edge of the table, ensuring that the elbows are off while the hands stay visible.
Sushi roll in chopsticks
In Japan When picking sushi from a common platter, use the thicker end of your chopsticks. Also, licking your chopsticks is definitely not advisable.
Family lunch
In Korea When giving or taking something from an elder, using both hands to do so is considered appropriate.
In Brazil Never touch your food. Always use appropriate cutlery, or else resort to tissues or napkins in case of messy food like rolls etc.
Wasting food
In Russia Wasting or throwing food, especially bread, is considered disrespectful.
Man eating bread and omelette
In Egypt It is insulting to the chef if one salts their food.
In China Rubbing chopsticks is insulting to the host or the restaurant -- it implies that they were of poor quality. So, unless you've got splinters sticking out from the chopsticks, rubbing is a big "no." Also, avoid filling your own glass.
In Italy Though common courtesy across the globe demands that one waits till everyone is served before digging into the food, in Italy, one can start eating pasta as soon as you're served. Bear in mind that the exception is exclusively for pasta only.
In Portugal Presenting your host with a bottle of wine is a strict no.
In Afghanistan People usually sit down and eat with their hands. Here it is considered rude if the soles of your feet are visible.