7 Strange Table Manners Around The World


You might consider yourself to have decent table manners, but that could be completely irrelevant when you’re traveling to other countries. It’s one thing to know that you shouldn’t talk with your mouth full or put your elbows on the table, but there are a lot of instances when manners that we think are respectful are uncalled for in other cultures. While not everyone 100 percent adheres to proper etiquette, if you’re familiar with these unexpected table manners, you might have an easier time on your next vacation. It’s always better to keep your host happy. 

1. Slurping Is Good In Japan And Hong Kong

Whether it’s ramen, pho, udon or soba, noodles are one of the best things about Asian cuisine. If you get nervous by someone making a slurping sound, try and shake that when you’re traveling to Japan. While loud slurping may be considered rude in the U.S., it’s a sign that you’re enjoying your meal in Hong Kong and Japan. Slurping is basically like saying the noodles are so delicious you can’t even wait for them to cool off before digging in.


2. Don’t Stick Your Chopsticks Vertically In Your Rice In Japan, China, Korea And Vietnam

While it might be a little hard to remember, you should never stick your chopsticks vertically in a bowl of rice in Japan. It’s considered rude. This also holds true when you’re in China, Korea and Vietnam. This habit is considered taboo since it’s the way a bowl of rice is offered to the spirit of a dead person at a Japanese funeral. It’s usually presented either at his or her deathbed or in front of his or her picture on a household’s Buddhist altar.

3. Tipping Isn’t Necessarily A Good Thing In Numerous Countries

Unlike in the U.S., where tipping from 15 to 20 percent is a way of life in the hospitality industry, many countries believe that good service should be the standard and tipping isn’t necessary. Whether it’s for restaurants, cabs, or a hair cut, tipping isn’t as common as we might think everywhere in the world. From Japan to Australia to Belgium, it’s assumed that the service you request is covered by the price given to you. The next time you’re going on a trip, do some research ahead of time to figure out just how common tipping is.  


4. You Shouldn’t Always Finish The Food On Your Plate In The Philippines, Cambodia, Korea, Egypt And Thailand

Even though your parents might’ve convinced you to be a member of the “clean plate club” growing up, not every culture feels the same way. In Japan, finishing your meal is a sign of appreciation. In the Philippines, Cambodia, Korea, Egypt and Thailand, if you finish all of the food on your plate your host might think he or she didn’t provide you with an adequate amount and he or she’ll continue to serve you more each time. The same goes with beverages.  If you’ve had enough, leave a few crumbs on your plate and a little tea in your cup so that your host knows you’re satisfied.

5. Burping After Your Meal Is A Compliment In India, China And Bahrain

Letting a burp out isn’t always rude. In parts of India, China and Bahrain, burping after a meal is a sign of appreciation and satiety. It shows your host that you’ve been well fed. In China, burping during a meal or following the meal is a sign of good manners. It’s actually regarded as high praise for a cook and the servers. Sometimes guests that are having a meal in China will make a mess around their dishes and plates, leaving some scraps behind, to show that you’re grateful for a bountiful feast.

6. Don’t Cut Your Lettuce With A Knife In France

Instead of going to town on your salad and aggressively cutting the lettuce with a knife and fork, proper etiquette in France is to fold the salad leaves onto your fork if they’re too big to fit into your mouth. French children are taught this habit at a young age. The popular reason for this etiquette is that once upon a time, the vinegar in the salad dressing could oxidize the metal knife and stain it. It’s a little strange, but don’t be alarmed if you get a dirty look for cutting your lettuce the next time you’re in The City Of Love. 


7. Only Eat With Your Right Hand In Ethiopia

Ethiopian cuisine is strong, spicy and rich. The first rule of eating Ethiopian cuisine is to use your right hand. You have to dig in and you can’t be afraid to get your dirty like the locals do. One of the main parts of this African cuisine is Injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread made from teff with a spongy texture. Not only is injera a source of vitamins and protein, but it’s used as a utensil and often a plate in Ethiopian cuisine. It’s also a local custom to feed your loved ones with your right hand as an act of affection. You would use your right hand to strip off a piece of the soft, flat, spongy bread and then wrap it around some meat or curry or use it to scoop up a stew.