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12 Unexpected Etiquette Rules from Around the World


Do you know other countries’ food etiquette rules? 🍽 When you travel abroad and try the local cuisine, you might notice how a certain country’s table manners are very different from your own. Here are 12 quite unexpected food etiquette rules from across the globe! 🌎

Don’t use forks in Thailand 1:10
Don’t “clean your plate” in China 1:55
Be ready to share a plate in Ethiopia 2:39
In Italy, you’ll insult the chef if you ask for extra cheese 3:22
Don’t ask for salt and pepper in Portugal 4:05
Be careful with chopsticks in Japan 4:45
Don’t touch food with your left hand in the Middle East 5:32
Don’t just sip on your wine in Georgia 6:18
Don’t fill your own glass in Japan 6:56
Only drink cappuccino before noon in Italy 7:32
Guests are welcomed with half a cup of tea in Kazakhstan 8:21
A clean teapot is a teapot without a soul in China 9:17

Music by Epidemic Sound

- In Thailand, picking food up with a fork is considered bad form. However, you are allowed to push food onto a spoon using a fork… that’s it!
- In China, however, it’s impolite to finish eating everything on your plate. Empty plates indicate that a host hasn’t served enough food and guests are still hungry.
- As you sit at the table in Ethiopia waiting for someone to give you a plate to eat from, you might miss the actual meal! Everyone else will just eat from one large serving plate in the middle of the table without using any cutlery.
- Although Italians do love this product, it’s considered rude to ask for extra cheese. It may insult the chef because they take it as you not liking the dish the way they’ve prepared it and wanting to change it.
- If you ask for salt or pepper in Portugal, you may hurt people’s feelings. It’s kinda like with Italy; the cook may feel insulted by the fact that you need to “spice up” the dish they’ve served you.
- According to tradition, people place chopsticks vertically during funerals. In a restaurant, doing this may insult the owner.
- In the Middle East, India, and some African countries, the left hand is used for…uh…cleaning yourself up after going to the bathroom.
- If you find yourself at a dinner party in Japan and wine is involved, never get a refill yourself. You’re supposed to fill the glass of the person sitting next to you at the table, and they’ll return the favor.
- Italians do drink cappuccinos, of course, but it’s mostly a breakfast drink or even a substitute for breakfast. But if you drink this milky foamy coffee later in the day, it can upset your stomach, at least according to the locals.
- When we think “tea ceremony,” we usually associate it with the UK and all their fancy tea-drinking etiquette. But it turns out there are plenty of tea fans in Kazakhstan, and they’ve got rules when it comes to drinking it as well.
- If you’ve been invited to a tea ceremony in China and offer your help with the dishes afterwards, don’t even think about washing that teapot! The Chinese don’t wash teapots, especially traditional clay ones, with dish liquid.

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