Every culture seems to have its own way to politely eat and when it comes to travel etiquette, it’s important to know what’s right and what’s not.
Traveling can be great but if one isn’t careful with the so-called ‘rules’ of whichever country you’re in, it can be very bad form, especially when it comes to dining etiquette. Dining etiquette rules, if broken, can send negative messages to your fellow diners/host or even reflect badly on the taste of the dish. Thus, learning how to eat right in the country you plan to visit is an important part of the preparation before a trip.
Just like looking up little phrases in the foreign destination’s language, such as “thank you”, “excuse me, where is the toilet?”, etc or even researching the type of weather you’ll be experiencing during your trip, researching the dining etiquette can save you from seeming rude.
Tipping can be a bit confusing when it comes to traveling to different countries. Some countries like Portugal and Italy don’t look down on tipping, but the habit is that one only tips when the food and service were absolutely exceptional. Tipping, on the other hand, is expected in countries like Canada and the United States of America. So, do your research so you won’t get caught out.
Now, this you may find rather odd but it’s an important thing to know nonetheless – how the food goes from the plate to one’s mouth? Does one use hands? Or use a fork and spoon? Or do we use chopsticks? How does one place my chopsticks when not in use? All these questions can be answered by a little bit of research.
Foreigners aren’t going to judge you too harshly for being ignorant of their customs as most people are fairly forgiving because they know you don’t know their customs. However, it does pay to know what to do and what not to do as people will appreciate that. If you’re eating with locals for the first time don’t be afraid to ask their customs. They’ll respect you for respecting their culture.