Dining Etiquette Rules You Never Knew Existed

Don’t get caught in an awkward situation at the table while you’re abroad

Think your table manners are perfectly acceptable? You’re in for a rude shock — what’s okay in Singapore may not be quite so in other countries around the world. Here are a few specific offensive behaviours to avoid, which every savvy traveller should be aware of.


It’s considered rude to eat with your fingers, even when it comes to French fries. Always use your fork and knife to be on the safe side.


It’s offensive to cut all the food on your plate into small pieces before eating. There’s no rush — cut each portion when you’re ready to eat it.


Here’s where splitting the bill is not cool. If you did the inviting, you’re the one who picks up the tab.


Many restaurants in Italy frown upon customers who ask to take home their leftovers. It is considered gluttonous to ask for a doggy bag, as the food should be eaten as served. 


In Korea, blowing your nose loudly is rude, and doing it at the table is perhaps the most disgusting thing ever. 


Here’s one country where you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about letting a loud burp out after a meal. It signifies your enjoyment of the food, and is a compliment to the chef.


Chinese children would all at some point have been rapped on the knuckles for sticking their chopsticks upright into a bowl of rice. Here’s why the adults don’t allow kids to do this — it’s reminiscent of a ritual where people make offerings to the dead. The same applies in Japan as well.


Never turn down a drink of vodka when it’s offered to you, even if it’s at the breakfast table. It’s a mark of trust and friendship. Also, in the land of vodka, the liquor is always drunk neat — refrain from mixing it with other spirits or even adding ice. 

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