Guest blogger Steve Aston, of the TCC International Language Center, tells us the dos and don'ts of table manners overseas by sharing information he found on various travel websites.
Traveling to another country is exciting, adventuresome, and sometimes rude - if you are not familiar with the culture, that is. These are some etiquette tips to help travelers prepare for overseas trips. Below are some lesser-known formalities in various countries.
In Thailand, don’t put your food in your mouth with a fork!
In Japan, never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice!
In the Middle East, India and parts of Africa, don’t eat with your left hand.
At a traditional feast in Georgia, it’s rude to sip your wine during a toast.
In Mexico, never eat your tacos with a fork and knife.
In Italy, drink cappuccino only before noon!
In Britain, always pass the port to the left!
In France, don’t eat your bread as an appetizer before the meal!
In China, don’t flip your cooked whole fish!
In Italy, don’t ask for Parmesan for your pizza-or any time it’s not explicitly offered!
In Chile, don’t eat anything, even fries, with your fingers at a meal!
In Korea, if an older person offers you a drink, lift your glass to receive it with both hands!
In Russia, never mix, or add ice or turn down vodka!
When drinking coffee with Bedouins in the Middle East, shake the cup at the end.
In Brazil, lay your table token down wisely, green side—get more meat, red side—no more!
In Afghanistan, guests who accidentally drop their bread should pick it up, kiss it, and raise it to their foreheads before setting back down.
In Korea, it’s OK to spit your fish bones on the table or ground during dinner.
In rural Zambia, when eating dried mouse, start with the head, but do not eat the tail, that would be bad manners!
In Mongolia, manners dictate that the woman of the family gives the first bite, to the head of the family.
In Switzerland, Luxembourg & France gum-chewing in public is considered very vulgar.