Cultural Table Manners

We have been taught at a young age to eat quietly, use our utensils and finish our meal completely. In other cultures however, throughout different cultures and is acceptable to slurp and a compliment to leave some food behind.


  • Meals extensively longer than those in America.
  • In countries like in France, it is necessary to have your hands and forearms on the table (but never your elbows)
  • Most diners in the UK sit with one hand on the table and the other resting on their lap or with both hands placed under the table.


  • Gursha is a tradition of Ethiopia, of hand feeding one another. It is a gesture of hospitality and builds social bonds between the people sharing the meal.


  • In many Muslim cultures people only eat with their right hand. The left hand is used for personal hygiene and is considered unsanitary.
  • They also show respect for their food. If you happen to drop bread on the floor, remember to pick it up, kiss it and raise it to your forehead. This will show your host courtesy and appreciation for the food and the work behind it.



Image result for slurping noodle

  • In Japan and China, slurping your noodles is a must. It shows appreciation and gives a compliment for the meal.
  • Never leave your chop sticks upright in your bowl at the end of completion. This is how food is offered to spirits of the deceased. Instead, let them rest on the right of your bowl .
  • If you find yourself in Japan do not tip your waiter. Tipping the waiter at a restaurant is an insult. It is saying that he is not making enough money and a low member in society.
  • Finishing your plate is frowned upon in many Asian countries. This shows that the host did not feed you enough. They will keep refilling your plate. Leaving a small amount left shows the host that you are satisfied and acknowledges your generosity for the meal.
  • Remember to refill your own glass, if you are thirsty refill another persons glass and then wait for them to do the same to you.
  • When among the indigenous people of China and Taiwan, a light burp at the end of a meal is considered a compliment, as it indicates that you have eaten well.
  • Once food touches your plate it is considered contaminated in India. You shouldn’t share your meal or offer it to anyone. Washing your hands and mouth is required before any meals and licking your fingers shows that you enjoyed the food. Do not thank the host at the end of the meal (it can be seen as a form of payment). Instead, invite the host for dinner to return the favor.




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