One of the best parts of traveling is trying new foods and experiencing new traditions and customs. While we may not be traveling as soon as we’d like, we can make sure we are ready for when we are able to get out and explore! To help you not embarrass yourself, or offend anyone else, we’ve put together a list of different food customs from around the world that will help you on your next foodie adventure.
1. Eating with your hands
In many places eating with your hands is customary, but it’s important to know which hand you eat with. If you’re tucking into a meal in India, the Middle East, or in some parts of Africa, make sure you use your right hand – and only your right hand. This can take a little practice for those newer to this way of eating but once you’ve mastered the art of ripping bread with one hand you’ll be munching away without any issues!
While in some countries it’s thought of as rude and ill-mannered to slurp your food, in Japan it’s a sign of respect to the chef. So you can slurp away on your soup and noodles to show how much you enjoy the meal & the chef will be beaming from ear to ear. It is also thought that slurping can improve the flavor of the food too, so give it a try and see for yourself!
3. Chopstick etiquette
Chopsticks are a new way of eating for many, but not only do you need to master the art of holding and picking up food with your chopsticks (rice being a particular challenge) but also how to place them when you’re not using them. If you’re in Japan, as tempting as it may seem, never stick chopsticks upright into your bowl of rice. This is because it looks similar to a tradition that is used in funeral ceremonies so it is thought of as bad luck. If you’re in China you should make sure not to use your chopsticks to point, push bowls, or stab food, as this is seen as rude & disrespectful.
4. Who eats first?
If you’re in South Korea then those older than you should always eat first. If you’re eating with someone senior to you, you should match your pace with theirs to ensure that you don’t finish your plate before they’ve finished.
5. A forks job
For many, a fork’s job is getting food from your plate to your mouth, but if you’re in Thailand it’s a big no-no. In Thailand, you should only use your fork to push food onto your spoon, and use the spoon to transport the delicious cuisine to your mouth.
While we all wait for our next big adventure, you can test out the above cultural eating tips when you order that cuisine next on MUNCH:ON! We’d also love to know what food customs you’ve come across on your travels or through your friends that have surprised you? Let us know in the comments!
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