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Table manners of different countries

Table manners of different countries
Issue Time:2017-12-07

Table manners are how to behave when you eat a meal. They include how to handle cutlery and how to eat in a civilized manner. The world’s largest travel and digital publisher, Lonely Planet has assembled etiquette tips. It warns of blunders you should avoid at table. “It celebrates the fun of travel. Sometimes they are funny and sometimes they are informative,” said US editor Robert Reid, whose team pulled together tidbits from various cross-cultural books.



Lonely Planet: It is “perfectly” okay to slurp when you eat noodles.

Tradition: Unlike making big noises, slurping mildly is not rude but is a compliment to the chef. Japanese also say it tastes better if you slurp.

What else to watch: It’s important to say traditional phrases of thanks before and after a meal.

Eat sushi whole. Dip the fish part rather than the rice into soy sauce.


Lonely Planet: Your wrists should be placed on the edge of the table while eating, fork in left hand, knife in the right.

Tradition: Keep your hands in sight. It is not good manners to rest them on your lap. Keep your elbows off the table.

What else to watch: Leave some food on your plate to show that the host has given you enough to eat. Or the host will ask if you’d like to have a second helping. It’s polite to mop up excess sauce or gravy with bread.


Lonely Planet: Don’t ask for salt and pepper if it is not on the table. “Asking for any kind of seasoning or condiment” will offend the cook.

Tradition: Cooks are highly respected in Portugal.

What else to watch: Place your napkin on your lap, and don’t eat with your fingers. Don’t switch cutlery between hands.


Lonely Planet: never discuss money or religion over dinner. Going Dutch is considered “the height of unsophistication”.

Tradition: In France, a meal is like a ceremony. People relish it and make it’s a special occasion.

What else to watch: In contrast to the etiquette in Russia, it’s considered good manners to finish everything on your plate.

People often cut bread directly on a table cloth rather than on a plate. Tear your bread into bite-sized pieces before eating. Taking a bite from the whole piece is very impolite。


Lonely Planet: Whenever you catch the eye of someone who’s eating, even a stranger, it’s good manners to say “provecho”, which means enjoy.

Tradition: In Mexico, dining is more than a meal. It’s a social occasion - lunches are rarely quick and suppers can last for hours.

What else to watch: Where you sit matters in the country. Before you get seated, look for place cards, or wait until the host seats you.

And you must say “enjoy your meal” before you leave the table.


If you empty a bottle into someone’s glass, it obliges that person to buy the next bottle. It’s polite to put the last drops into your own glass.


In a pub it’s customary to buy a round of drinks for everyone in your group. When it’s your turn say “It’s my round”. They’ll make it up to you when it’s their round. Don’t leave before you’ve bought a round.


Don’t fill your own glass of alcohol, instead, you should pour for others and wait for them to reciprocate.


Adhere to the vodka rituals. Vodka is for toasting, not sipping. Men, but not women, are expected to down shots in one gulp. Never mix vodka with another beverage or dilute it. And don’t place an empty bottle on the table - it must be placed on the floor.


It’s considered impolite to clink glasses unless you say “cheers”.