Traveling to a new country this holiday season? Gear your stomach up for a feast, if your itinerary is going to involve tons of food and feasting!
But hold on, guys – do you know about the various dining customs in different countries all around the world? (Yes, there ARE rules to stuffing your face) While travelling, it is not just about exploring new types of food, but also discovering different ways of eating, and learning new perspectives and cultural norms. Check out these unique customs to avoid the embarrassment of commiting dining faux pas, and eat like a pro wherever you go!
In the United Kingdom
Tilt the bowl in the opposite direction, and scoop the soup away from you before sipping at it from the side of the bowl. This is supposed to a classy way of drinking soup. Dine with host Jane in London, and she will be happy to share on other interesting dining customs from UK!
In an Indian Household
Normally, when you clear your plate, it is taken away. In India or Thailand, for example, if you clear your plate, it means that you are still hungry, so it is customary to leave a small morsel of food on the plate.
In Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern households
Traditional families prefer to eat food with their hands, rather than with utensils. Take note to use only your right hand when you dine, and not the left – the left hand is considered to be unclean, for it is used for cleaning up after excretion. Our host, Nadya, will provide deeper insights into other aspects of Southeast Asian dining customs during her dining experiences in Singapore.
In Germany, one never dines with his hands. Utensils, such as a fork and knife, is always used at mealtimes. Also, do not insult your host by using a knife to cut the boiled potates – instead, use the side of a fork, for usage of the knife would imply that the boiled potatoes are not tender and well-cooked. Put this into practice when you dine in Germany!
In a Chinese Household
Never stick the chopsticks into the rice bowl, as this is representative of incense sticks used in funerals, and implies that the dish is to be served as an offering to the dead. Instead, lay it flat on the top of the rice bowl.
Feel free to slurp up your noodles or soup, or to burp loudly after your meal in Japan. Your hosts will be pleased, for it indicates your sense of satisfaction with a delicious meal.
When in Rome…
…eat as the Romans do, and savour your meals at a leisurely pace. You are expected to enjoy each and every bite, and not rush through the meal. Meals are often broken into a few distinct courses, with bread and olive oil available on the table throughout the lunch or dinner.