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Basic Food Etiquette in Different Places Around the World

Updated on April 4, 2011
Hands Above the table in France
Hands Above the table in France



Proper food etiquette in France:


You should bring a bottle of wine for the host. In France eat most things with a fork. If you are in doubt, watch your host.

Keep your hands on the table while eating.

Do not place a napkin in your lap right away. Wait until the lady of the house places her napkin on her lap first.

Do not drink until a toast is made by the host.

Tear your bread into a bite sized piece, and then eat the piece of bread.

If you are dining out, a tip is considered rude.

You can wipe your plate with a piece of bread. Use your glaze across the plate once with the piece of bread.




Proper food etiquette in Germany:

It is good etiquette to remain standing until you are shown where to sit.

Do not begin eating until the host lets you know it is ok to do so.

Eat your meat with a fork. Use a knife only if it is necessary. If you eat meat with a fork, it lets the cook know the meat is tender.

It is rude to put your elbows on the table.

Use a fork in the left hand and knife in right.

It is rude if you do not finish everything on your plate.

 Indicate you have finished by lying the fork and knife parallel across the right hand side of the plate.




Food etiquette in Italy:


DO NOT EAT WITH YOUR FINGERS! This includes Pizza. If you order pizza, cut it with a knife and a fork like you would a steak.

Keep your hands above the table, even when the meal is complete.

Eat plenty; it lets the host know you enjoy the meal.

Place your fork and knife on the right side of the plate to indicate to your server that you are done eating.

Japan table
Japan table



If you are in Japan, and you are visiting someone’s home, it is proper to bring a gift, food is appropriate.

It is proper to give the gift at the end of a visit. Do not expect them to open the gift in front of you, it is usually rude.

You should take your shoes off when entering a home.   

Table etiquette:

Rinse your hands in the water bowl before eating.

Japanese believe you should eat every bite on your plate. It would be rude if you did not clean your plate.

Never pour your own drink. Have someone next to you pour yours, and you should pour the persons next to you. If someone holds their cup up towards you, this is usually not a toast, they are asking you to fill their cup.

Learn to eat with chop sticks.

 If you are eating sushi, eat it in one bite.

 Do nothing to add to the flavor of your food, it will be an insult to the chef.

Slurping is a norm while eating in Japan. You should slurp to show appreciation to your host.

In some Asian cultures, it is polite to burp at the table. Do not make the mistake and think it is polite to burp at a table in Japan. It is rude to burp at a table in Japan.

It is good etiquette to try a bit of everything.

Conversation should be kept minimal.




Proper food etiquette in Mexico:

Do not eat until the host tells you were to sit.

Do not finish your plate. It is proper to leave a little food on your plate when you are done with a meal.

Wait until the host starts eating before you eat.

Keep your hands visible at the table. Rest your wrists on the table.

Men make toasts, women do not.

Arrive at a dinner party thirty minutes late in most places.

At a large party, you may introduce yourself. At a small party, let the host introduce you.

When you have finished eating, place your knife and fork across your plate with the prongs facing down and the handles facing to the right.

Sometimes forks are not used. If this is the case, use a tortilla to eat your food.




Food etiquette in Russia:

Do not turn down an invite to a dinner or a social drink. It is rude to do so.

Do not start eating until the host tells you to do so.

It is polite to let the older guests get their food before the younger guests do.

Use your bread to dip sauce from your plate before you take a bite.

Do not finish your plate. It is polite to leave some food on your plate at the end of a meal.

Spend time socializing after a meal. Do not eat and run. You should not leave the dinner party until the guest of honor has left.

Do not drink until a toast has been made.



Food etiquette in Spain:

Keep your hands visible. Do not put your hands under the table.

Eat with a fork. Do not eat anything with your hands.

Rest your wrists on the table.

Do not eat until the host begins.

Put your knife and fork on your plate parallel with the handles facing to the right to show that you

are done eating.

Do not leave until the host or guest of honor does.




Food etiquette in Turkey:

In Turkey, dining is a social event, everyone will be talkative.

If you invited someone to dine with you, it is your duty to pay for the meal. Bills are not split in Turkey.

If you were invited to eat, you should invite the people that asked you, in return, before you leave Turkey.

Eat with your right hand. Do not use your left hand to eat.

Eat everything on your plate.

Put your knife and fork side-by-side on your plate to indicate you are done

United States
United States

United States

Food etiquette in the USA:

Place a napkin in your lap before you eat.

Do not smack while eating.

Do not talk with your mouth full.

Do not reach over someone’s plate if you need something, ask them to pass it to you.

Do not eat until the host begins.

Keep your elbows off the table.

Sit up straight, and bring the food to your mouth.

If eating a steak, cut one piece at a time, and eat one bite at a time.


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    • profile image

      Unicorn18273645 10 days ago

      i had no idea that we would have to eat differently

    • profile image

      zoriya 2 months ago

      i just realized no one in my family follows our countries etiquette we live in th US

    • profile image

      grace 8 months ago

      very good!

    • profile image

      Ellanore 9 months ago

      I did not know this! Cool!

    • profile image

      un avilable 9 months ago

      talk with your mouth full.

    • profile image

      CakeMaker 9 months ago

      this is a nice site, good information.

    • profile image

      travis 9 months ago

      from Texas you have to put salt on food

    • profile image

      Don't want to say, UNKNOWN 10 months ago

      Good tips for me and others that want to know how to eat proper at other countrys

    • profile image

      desktopclown32 20 months ago

      i like slurping my my mom doesnt approve it so i guess im going to Japan and i know how to use chopsticks it is easy

    • profile image

      c handler 2 years ago

      japan etiquette is weird

    • profile image

      Bob the Blob 2 years ago

      yes indeed this is very great but i dont need to know this

    • profile image

      RickTheSick 2 years ago

      i live in america so the one for america was unnecessary. But the rest of it is great!

    • sarclair profile image

      sarclair 6 years ago

      Thank you:) I am glad it came in handy.

    • danatheteacher profile image

      Dana Rock 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Awesome side by side comparisons!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Great information and the photos made me hungry!

      This came up while I was Hub Hopping. I learn so much this way! Thanks so much. Hyphenbird

    • LoraKayAlexander profile image

      LoraKayAlexander 6 years ago

      Such great tips!