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International dining rules you should know

Passing for a local is every travelers dream. The biggest and most obvious telltale sign that you are in fact *whispers* a tourist is not knowing the correct way to behavior at the dinner table (or floor.)

The dining table is a great place to start if you want to learn about local culture, many years of history and heritage have been passed down from generation to generation, rich in family and country tradition.

Keep in mind that customs vary country to country and aren’t held with equal strictness in every region.

But if you’re looking to fit in with the locals without being detected these dining rules are a great place to start.


Don’t reach for that knife and fork! In Mexico, eating your food with a knife and fork is considered snobbish behavior; so grab that taco and jump right on in. A good travel tip: if you’ve booked a flight to Mexico, make sure you’re prepared with a pocket sized antibacterial wash!


It’s offensive to put extra cheese on a pizza, and unless you’re asked if you would like extra cheese on your pasta or food – don’t request it. If you order pasta you are expected to start eating it as soon as it arrives, even if your party hasn’t received theirs (this only applies to pasta though.)


Don’t even think about using chopsticks, they are considered tacky, so best to stay away from them. Folks are used to push the food onto the spoon, and then the spoon should transfer the food into your mouth.


It’s considered a sin to eat anything with your hands – even fries!


You’re chopsticks should never be placed upright in your bowl of food, always place them together in front of you and parallel to the table. Also, it can be seen as offensive if you tip waiters as this implies they are ‘begging’ for money.


When toasting a celebrating in Georgia it’s no elegant sipping affair, they down the full glass. Luckily for them the toasting glasses tend to be small, so it’s easy to handle. Phew.cheers

IMG: Rich Knowles, Luca Newbuloni, Pedrom Klien, Mike Saechang, jypseygen, Daniel Y go, Al404 / Flickr cc.

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