Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Food Etiquette AROUND the WORLD


I am not as well traveled as most may be but I have had my own share of escapades outside of Philippines, and I tell you, every experience is a UNIQUE one.  I have been to China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore (Although my taste buds have traveled farther than my feet I'd say, ehe). But a recent reading I encountered prompted me to research and share with you the different eating netiquettes and practices observed around the globe.

You do not necessary have to find your way to these destinations but knowing these information will give you a better appreciation of the cultures of the world.  And, who knows, one of these days you may find yourself enjoying in these places.
References: 
When drinking coffee with Bedouins in the Middle East, shake the cup at the end (that is if you want to stop them from refilling your cup).
Typically, anyone Bedouin—or Bedouin-related—will continue to pour you more coffee once you've finished unless you shake the cup, meaning tilting the cup two or three times, when you hand it back.


Never mix—or turn down—vodka in Russia
With Vodka as their 'national drink' ehe this is me just generalizing ok.  But they take on their drink seriously.  So serious actually that it should be drank CLEAN as in pure not even with ice.  But a more critical thing I think we should all know is that it is never polite to turn down an offer to drink.  Russian culture pegs offering a drink as a sign of trust and goodwill so one should never turn it down.




In Korea, if an older person offers you a drink, lift your glass to receive it with both hands.
Korean culture can be considered as one that is highly conservative and is founded by strong family ties (as I was told by Grace Lee, ehe. Joke.).  When you receive a drink with both hands, you are expected to turn your head away and take a discreet sip.  It is viewed impolite to start eating until the eldest male has started.  Lastly, one should never leave the table until the eldest male do so or is finished.




Don't eat anything, even fries, with your hands at a meal in Chile.
Talk about strict manners, the knife and fork are fully utilized in this side of the world.  May be due to the strong European influence, it is a no-no to eat using bare hands.  Even for finger foods such as fries. ehe...
Better step-up with






In Italy, don't ask for Parmesan for your pizza—or any other time it's not explicitly offered.
The basic rule (in almost all parts of the world) is that if a condiment or a typical add-on in your place is not offered, chances are you don't ask for it (or they don't really offer it up).  From the article, an analogy is given to give a better preview of what this item meant.  "Putting Parmesan on pizza may be viewed as a SIN, like putting Jell-O on a fine chocolate mousse".  In Italy, most pasta dishes aren't meant for Parmesan.  There is the traditional cheese PECORINO which is usually paired with pasta dishes.
In Thailand, do not put food in your mouth with fork.
Instead, when eating a dish with cooked rice, use your fork only to push food into your spoon.

In Japan, never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice.
While doing anything else but using your chopsticks, they should be placed together in front of you, parallel to the edge of the table.  If there are chopstick rest, use them with the tips you've been eating with on the rest.  Sticking them upright in a bowl of rice is likened to putting incense during a funeral.


In Middle Eastern countries, India and part of Africa, don't eat with your left hand.
Specifically in South India, you shouldn't even touch your plate with your left hand while eating as this part of the body is commonly associated with cleaning after doing 'your stuff' ehe.  So it is considered dirty.  So how is it for the left hand people?  It's ok to use left, just use all these rules and don't use any of your right hand.




Don't eat your tacos with a fork and a knife --- IN MEXICO!
Mexicans view eating tacos with a fork and knife looks rather silly and worse, snobby.  Think of it as eating a burger with silverware (and napkin ehe).  So be polite, and tadaa... eat with your hands.


Bread is part of MEAL not an APPETIZER, welcome to France

In France, breads are eaten as an accompaniment to your food or, especially, to the cheese course at the end of the meal.  Thus, what might be weird on other places, placing bread directly on the table and not on a plate, is acceptable if not preferred in France.


Flip NOT the fish please in China

Although much of the rest of the world is accustomed to flipping the fish whole once you've finished one side, DO NOT do this when you dine in China (of which they have the best fish dishes), most especially in Southern China and the beautiful city of Hong Kong.  Flipping the fish is viewed as dao yue or bad luck.  It is also viewed as if saying that the fisherman's boat is going to capsize.  Some overly superstitious will even leave the bottom part untouched, but for me, i'd rather just remove the bone to finish that bottom. ehe.....





29 comments:

  1. So how do Thais pick up a chunk of meat that fits enough to be shoved in the mouth?

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    1. guess that's why you are expected to cut your food prior to placing it in the spoon

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  2. That taco info is silly.. very trivial. LOL

    And one last thing, how else will I turn my fish once done with the upper side. It's not like it's served in a lateral position in restos let alone my house.

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    1. you literally eat from under the biggest bone without ever turning the fish... it is actually easier done than imagined...

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  3. So far, I have been eating the right way according to some of the countries that you've mentioned here (even without being in the country itself).. hehe.. I've only been Korea, Thailand and China, and thank God I didn't make a fool out of myself with these. Thanks for sharing this post, now I know. =P

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    1. that's great... the worst thing is being insensitive to the customs of the places you visit.. really separates the 'well traveled' who does the researching prior to any trip

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  4. And you call yourself not well traveled huh? Hongkong, China, Malaysia and Singapore --- So how do I call myself now? :(

    Ohh, I just learned of this fork thingy in Thailand. Interesting.

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    1. considering the places most of our fellow bloggers have been? ehe... kulang pa yan...

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  5. This is informative. Thanks for this. What about Filipino etiquettes?

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  6. omg. Never ever party at Russia!
    I can never drink Vodka without any mix! yikes.

    but this is a cool post. very informative. :)

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  7. oh this is very interesting post. although i have traveled in most of the countries mentioned, i unfortunately not aware of this eating etiquette except for the chopstick thing in Japan. Oh well maybe bec this involves the food that i don't or can't eat - vodka, coffee, tacos, fish, bread, pizza (coz mostly beef toppings) haha and i have not been to India and Africa yet!!

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  8. very interesting post! hahaha i like these :)

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  9. I'm worried about the not flipping of the fish in China. My gosh! How will I eat the other side? Haha!

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    1. you can still eat it... it may sound a little harder than actually doing it..

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  10. interesting and informative post you got here. haven't heard of them except for the Japanese one. but I think eating fries using utensils is less fun that just using your fingers.

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  11. informative though i'm quite scared of vodka without ice! yikes!

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  12. What? They don't allow Parmesan on pizza in Italy? I'd put anything that tastes good on my pizza. Hehehe

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  13. This is such an interesting and entertaining post! :D Patay pala ko when I go to Italy (as if?!) since I love Parmesan.. XD

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  14. Only in the PHILIPPINES...
    nobody can use our exclusive utensils.
    our "KAMAY" so have them washed all the time.

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  15. Can we just eat without these conditions? LOL>.but anyway, culture is culture...and despite the fact that we want to eat in whatever way we want, sometimes, we just need to pay respect...ayt?

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    Replies
    1. i think for one to experience the 'real' culture,,, we'd have to submit ourselves with their decorum requirements..

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