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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


      2 hours ago

      i live in US i don't follow the rules lol

    • profile image


      27 hours ago

      *facepalm* NOBODY, I repeat NOBODY who lives in the US actually follows the rules. We reach over the table, eat before the host begins, we don't put napkins on our laps.... I mean we follow the no elbows on the table thing, but what else???

    • profile image


      10 days ago

      This sight is GREAT!!

    • profile image

      please check out my channel Liam4real 

      2 weeks ago

      love it!

    • profile image

      John Flanders 

      2 weeks ago

      Thanks for the info. It will definitely come in handy one day.

    • profile image


      2 weeks ago

      LOL thats so funny

    • profile image


      4 weeks ago

      i love it

    • profile image


      6 weeks ago

      some of this stuff is just crazy like slurping to show appreciation we just say thank you :)

    • profile image


      8 weeks ago

      learned a lot in 7 years of traveling to all these countrys

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      I have FIVE brothers who are old enough to know that you should chew with your mouth closed, but they DON"T and it is SOOOO annoying. They also get food everywhere on the table!! My 13 YEAR OLD BROTHER gets food in his HAIR!! Maybe it is just boys who destined to be disgusting!?!?!

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      I can pray for them.

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      i have friends that chew with there mouth open, ITS ANNOYING!!! And one of them is my age so were friends, we see them at least twice a week, my family doesn't chew with there mouth open,but my sister, when she eats you can hear everything in her mouth, she sometimes makes it louder on purpose it REALLY ANNOYING, i have 2 sister's. Oh yeah, one of my pen pals is sick, most of his family is sick, his dog had a tumer so her hair is shaving off of her legs, please, Please pray for them,

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters and most of the time they chew with their mouths open EEWWWWWWWWW! So disgusting I hate it, I wish they would stop but whenever I try and ask them they say in a rude way SORRY! My Dad needs surgery, My Brother has strep, My Sister is sick, My Mom is exhausted. It's very busy around this household so please pray for our family, please please please pretty please!!!! We need it!!!!!!

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      lol my 5 brothers dont do any of this stuff EEWWWWW!!!!

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      My brothers are rude then I have 5 brothers 3 sisters the boys chew with mouth open ( SO GROSS)

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      i had no idea that we would have to eat differently

    • profile image


      18 months ago

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

    • profile image


      23 months ago

      very good!

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I did not know this! Cool!

    • profile image

      un avilable 

      2 years ago

      talk with your mouth full.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      this is a nice site, good information.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      from Texas you have to put salt on food

    • profile image

      Don't want to say, UNKNOWN 

      2 years ago

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

    • profile image


      2 years 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 

      3 years ago

      japan etiquette is weird

    • profile image

      Bob the Blob 

      3 years ago

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

    • profile image


      3 years ago

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

    • sarclair profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

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

    • danatheteacher profile image

      Dana Rock 

      8 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Awesome side by side comparisons!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      8 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


      8 years ago

      Such great tips!


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