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Minding Our Manners Internationally

Issue 23

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Mind Your Table Manners Internationally!

If you visit another country, it's good to know what is considered good eating etiquette. What is considered polite may vary from country to country.


Juliana Zanvchett


Rules of Eating Etiquette in Brazil

Juliana Zanvchett from Brazil

 
The concept of good manners varies a lot when we compare different cultures, values and ways of living. However, when we talk about the occidental part of the world, the differences are not so big. In my opinion, going to a restaurant in Brazil will rarely be an embarrassing situation. One good way to figure out the rules is to pay attention, in a discrete way, to the people who are eating close to you.

There are some basic and necessary rules of etiquette that Brazilians usually respect everyday. They are:

  • Being on time is polite, but is not a strict rule in Brazil. Being late for up to 15 minutes probably will not make a Brazilian angry.

  • When you go to a restaurant, be careful to greet the people who work at the place, and don't forget to greet the people who are already waiting for you at the table. It's not necessary to hug and kiss everybody if they are already seated.

  • You can ask somebody about how the food is prepared and also about prices or tips if you are not sure about them.

  • Before they start eating, Brazilians usually say "bom apetite" to their friends.

  • You should never talk to another person while you still have some food in your mouth. Probably he or she is not interested in what is happening in it.

  • Making noise while eating is also considered really rude. Avoid doing it.

  • Be careful not to put your elbows on the table while eating. It is not terrible, but it can be considered a little bit rude by those people who are formal.

  • Don't worry about the time. Usually people in Brazil stay seated for a long time, especially when they have interesting things to talk about.

  • It's not necessary to talk in a really low voice because Latin people usually talk a little loudly. But please, don't exaggerate.

  • The tip is usually is 10% of the total of the bill. If you didn't appreciate the place, you can leave less than this.

  • Finally, saying "thank you" and "bye" is always very well seen in Brazil.

 

Alessandra Federici


Eating Politely in Italy

Alessandra Federici from Italy


I think that everybody should have good manners when eating, and basic good manners probably do not differ very much form country to country. Here are some do's and don'ts on how to eat politely in Italy, but all these rules should be obvious from common sense.

  • Don't speak with your mouth full; this is considered impolite.
  • If you want to appear polite, you should remember not to put your elbow on the table.

  • Don't ever touch your hair while seated at the table.

  • Be careful not to use your fork when taking food from the dishes.

For Italian people one thing is very important: don't eat spaghetti with a fork and a spoon, but only with the fork. If you use a spoon, people will immediately understand you are a foreigner and are not able to eat correctly.

 

Ayzin Barista


Eating Politely in Turkey

Ayzin Barista from Turkey


If you come to Turkey, you should learn dining etiquette before you come if you want to eat your meal in a polite way. It is better for you to learn such things as which knife is for which meat. In daily life, you need to remember these rules.

To have good manners in Turkey, first, you shouldn't speak while you are eating. You must keep your mouth closed while you are chewing.

In a restaurant, be sure not to ask the price before you begin your meal because it's rude. Always order your meal before your drink. While your orders are being cooked, then the waiter will have time to bring your drinks. We still have some special notions about eating chicken. For example, while you are eating chicken, you shouldn't use your fork and knife, and you can eat it with your fingers. This doesn't disturb anybody in a restaurant.

Although we have a lot of rules about eating, nowadays you can easily observe people, especially teenagers, eating without paying any attention to these rules. Since these kinds of people are cropping up in every restaurant, you can feel free about how you eat. Enjoy your meal!

 

Jin Kim


Eating Politely in Korea

Jin Kim from Korea



Have you ever been in Korea. Koreans usually regard politeness as a very important thing. If you have a chance to go to Korea and eat, you have to know that there are many dos and don'ts.

Here are some of the basic and necessary rules of etiquette that Koreans usually respect every day:

  • Be careful not to start to eat before other elderly people start. You might look very rude.

  • Don't ever speak out loud with food in your mouth.

  • Don't eat very fast. Remember to keep peace with other people.

  • Always try not to make noise when you are chewing.

  • You are not supposed to leave the table before the oldest person finishes his meal.

But you don't need to be scared. I think that the most important thing is to keep respect in mind. If you keep that in mind that it is important to show respect, you won't be regarded as rude.

 

Karina Lacayo


Good Manners are Important in Chile

Karina Lacayo from Chile


If you want to have a great time eating in Chile, you shouldn't forget some etiquette rules.

 

  1. First, you shouldn't forget to raise your right elbow while you are eating.

  2. You have to remember that you can never speak while you have food in your mouth.

  3. Also, you have to eat with your mouth closed.

  4. In Chile you have to cut the meat with the knife in the right hand, and then you have to change the fork from the right hand to the left hand to eat.

  5. Also, when you have a lot of forks, knifes and spoons on the table you have to use the knifes. It's the same with the spoons.

 

Aya Takehisa


Eating Etiquette in Japan

Aya Takehisa from Japan


When you come to Japan, you'll need to learn some rules of etiquette for eating. They aren't difficult to learn.

If you eat something with people, you'll hear them say Itadaki-masu. This is said to show gratitude for the food you eat and to the person who prepared the food

You'll also hear people say gochiso-sama when they finish eating. This is also said to express thanks and to say the dishes were good.

You should start to eat your food only when everybody is seated at the table. We usually have a conversation at meals, but you shouldn't speak while you are eating.

When you have rice or soup, you should lift each bowl towards you to eat. I recommend you eat every dish which you choose because it shows your high regard for everything.

 

Dorothea Baerthlein


Eating Etiquette in Germany

Dorothea Baerthlein from Germany


When traveling to a foreign country, you should ask for information about dining etiquette there. Knowing the general rules lets you enjoy your meal at any place. The eating etiquette in Germany is different, depending on which kind of event you are invited to or which restaurant you choose for eating.

If you are invitd to a great event, like a wedding or a very important business meeting, we are supposed to follow the formal rules of dining etiquette.

 

  1. We put our napkin on our lap, folded once, opening to the front.

  2. We are supposed to sit up straight and never put our elbows on the table.

  3. We use the many glasses and silverware from the outside to the inside, according to the course that is served.

  4. Before and after drinking, we touch our mouth with the napkin. It is severely forbidden to make any noise while eating.

The etiquette for casual dining is not that strict. It's no problem to sit more relaxed and to put the elbows on the table. Of course, some basic rules need to be followed, for example, you should never bring your knife to your mouth, and you should put your silverware down while drinking.

 

Coromoto Michelangelli


Table Manners in Venezuela

Coromoto Michelangelli from Venezuela


For my mother, having good posture at the table and using each piece of silverware were always very important. "Sit up straight!" "Keep your elbows off the table!" are phrases that I'll never forget.

My mother also insisted that when you are eating soup, you should always dip the spoon into the soup until it is about two-thirds full, then sip the liquid and never put the whole spoon into your mouth.

 

Alice Ortiz


Dining Etiquette in Venezuela

Alice Ortiz from Venezuela


In Venequela, there are some special rules of etiquette that people usually follow when they are dining. You need to keep in mind the following things:

  • None of the guests should talk with just one person. The conversation should be with everybody. In addition, it should be related to topics interesting for both men and women.

  • In a formal dinner, the guest is never served more than once. The only thing that can be served more than once is the dessert, the liquor, and the wind.

  • It is not polite to refuse a plate. If you don't want something, just eat a small portion.  

It is important to know to set the table

  • The first plate (the appetizer) should always be served on a separate plate.

  • The silverware should be placed in the same order that it will be used: the first one much farther away from the plate and the last one much nearer the plate. The forks or the dessert spoons can be placed on the table when the dessert is served.

  • The wine and water glasses are placed in front of the plate to the right of each guest. The water glass is on the left side. When we serve the coffee and liquors, we should bring the bottles and the glasses on a tray.

  • Finally, as a sign of good taste, we usually offer the guests a little humid towel with water and lemon so they can clean their hands, even if they never get their fingers dirty during the meal. This should be done after the dessert is finished.

Bt following these little rules, you will be successful at your dinner, as a guest or as a hostess.

 
More: on Manners: Traditional Manners and Changing Manners

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