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The Many Intricacies Of Dining Etiquette Around The World

The Many Intricacies Of Dining Etiquette Around The World

If you’re a mindful traveler, then you want to make sure that you’re doing your best to blend in, avoid making a hassle for the locals, and avoid doing anything that might be seen as rude or disrespectful. Keeping up with etiquette is one of the key challenges a traveler needs to face, and it even applies when you’re trying to sit down to enjoy a meal, too. Here are a few dining and restaurant etiquette instances you should keep in mind.

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Know what to eat with

There are a lot of places that have some social expectations or rules about how you should eat your food. In some cases, this is overblown. For instance, in Japan, most people aren’t going to raise an eyebrow if you ask for a fork at a restaurant instead of trying to eat chopsticks if you’re not used to them. However, there are some you should keep in mind. As Gowri Chandra writes, some countries might look unkindly on those who eat with their left hand.

How to leave your plates and utensils

There are norms about how we leave our plates and utensils after eating our meals. In western English-speaking countries, having your knife and fork crossed on the plate is a common sign that you’re ready for the plate to be taken. In some other countries, like China, you should leave some food on your plate when you’re finished, as an empty plate can be seen as an implication that there wasn’t enough food to satisfy your appetite. Whereas, in Spain, you want to eat everything on the plate and then refuse a second serving.

Know whether or not to tip

When you’re trying to budget for your meals out during your travel, you want to know whether or not you should be setting some money aside to tip. Some countries, like many in Europe, don’t expect tips, but they are usually seen as a nice extra. However, in the Middle East, much like in the US, tipping is often seen as a key part of the restaurant experience. Anne and Carl Deane lay out some of the tipping etiquette norms across the globe. It’s best to do your research as eating without leaving a tip in a place that expects them is usually a big social taboo.

What you’re going to eat

If you have a particular craving for one foodstuff or another, you should make sure that you’re well aware of what kind of foods might be prohibited in certain countries. In most countries that have a majority Muslim population, for instance, you’re not very likely to find pork. Whereas, in India, the majority of people limit their meat consumption and nearly half of the people consider themselves vegetarian, according to a piece by Manolo Corichi, so you should have some expectations of more vegetarian dishes while visiting.

There are no specific rules that are applicable in all situations. Rather, it’s your responsibility to do a little research on every place you visit to ensure you’re not worsening the reputation of travelers across the board.

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