When having a meal with foreigners in another country, it is important to know about their table manners. Because what we think are good table manners may be inappropriate in another country. Today, we’re going to learn some different etiquette while eating from around the world. Keep these tips in mind and it could save you from awkward situations.
At First, In Korea, when having a meal with the elderly, wait for the elders to hold their spoon first and keep pace with them. It could be considered rude to show that you have finished your meal before they have. Also, when someone senior pours a drink for you, hold out your cup with both hands to accept.
In China, unlike the West where everyone has their own plate of food, the dishes are placed on the table and everybody shares. When a dish is served, the senior person goes first and then it’s rotated around the table. It’s polite to only take a small portion to make sure everyone gets some. You should leave a small amount of food on your plate to show you are satisfied. Eating everything off your plate means you're still hungry.
In Japan, differently from Korea, it is polite to lift small bowls of rice or soup while eating. When eating ramen or soup, slurping your soup is not only accepted, it shows that you are enjoying the meal. However, passing a piece of food to someone with your chopsticks is extremely taboo. It’s because the gesture is too similar to the passing of cremated bones between chopsticks at funerals.
In Thailand, forks are generally only used to push food onto a spoon. It is bad manners to use your fork to put food in your mouth.
In India, the most important rule of dining is to use your right hand when eating food. Because in the Indian tradition, the right hand is considered sacred whereas the left hand is completely disregarded and looked down upon. Most Indian restaurants serve a finger bowl (lemon and water) to wash hands. So, carefully wash your hands before eating and keep your fingernails short for the sake of cleanliness.
In France, it is very rude if you rest your elbows on the table while eating a meal. Your hands should be visible but not on your lap. This is quite common to most western countries. Salad should never be cut, you should rather try to fold the lettuce and bring it to your mouth with the fork. When a fish is served whole, once one side is eaten, simply lift up the backbone instead of turning the fish over.
Knowing table manners is the way to show your awareness and respect to foreign people. Moreover, you’ll make a favorable impression on others and it helps you make friends. So before going abroad, be familiar with other country’s eating habits!
Lee Ha-eun -
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