17 food faux pas to avoid so that you don’t embarrass yourself while traveling

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In Mexico, eating a taco with a fork and knife is seen as snobby.
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Flickr/Krista

One of the best parts about traveling is getting to experience the food and customs of different cultures, many of which date back hundreds of years.

It’s important to understand the dining rules of each country you visit so that you can avoid insulting others or embarrassing yourself.

Luckily, we’re here to help – here’s a list of table manners you should be aware of when visiting 17 different countries around the world.


BRITAIN: In Britain, port is passed to the left, all the way around the table until it is finished. There are varying opinions on why this tradition started — some say it comes from the navy, since the port side of the boat is on your left if you’re facing the helm.

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Flickr/Didriks

Source: CNN


CHILE: It’s considered rude to eat with your fingers, even for french fries. Always use your fork and knife to be on the safe side.

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Flickr/kate hiscock

Source: Huffington Post


CHINA: Never flip over a whole fish after you’ve eaten one side, especially in southern China and Hong Kong, as it’s considered bad luck. Also, don’t leave chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice, as it’s reminiscent of a ritual where people make offerings to the dead.

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Shutterstock/grafvision

Source: Chicago Tribune, CNN


ETHIOPIA: In Ethiopia, eating from individual plates is seen as both bizarre and wasteful. Food is typically shared from a single plate and eaten with hands.

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Flickr/brownpau

Source: Lonely Planet


FRANCE: Don’t eat your bread as an appetizer in this country. Instead, bread is served to accompany your food.

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Flickr/muffinn

Source: CNN


GEORGIA: If you find yourself at a traditional supra feast in Georgia, only drink your wine during a toast. It’s seen as rude to sip it throughout the evening.

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Flickr/Emilio Labrador

Source: CNN


GERMANY: If you’re going to order Weisswurst — white sausages served in a hot watery broth with a side of sweet mustard — don’t do it after noon. They’re cooked fresh in the morning and must be consumed before the clock strikes 12.

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Shutterstock

Source: Matador Network


INDIA: Always be sure to eat using your right hand, as the left is considered unclean. This is also the case in Morocco and parts of the Middle East.

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Flickr/Harsha K R

Source: Travel + Leisure


IRELAND: You should never order an Irish Car Bomb in Ireland. It references a tragic incident in 1989, when a car bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army exploded in a suburban shopping district.

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Flickr/Jim Kelly

Source: The New York Times, Huffington Post


ITALY: If cheese isn’t already offered to you, don’t ask for it. Though we often do it in the US, Italians consider it a sin to top dishes like pizza, pasta dishes, and seafood with Parmesan.

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Flickr/Brian Boucheron

Source: Huffington Post


JAPAN: You should never leave chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice here. You should also never use them to pass food, as this is reminiscent of a funeral tradition where remains of the deceased are passed to family members using chopsticks.

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Shutterstock/Merydolla

Source: Lonely Planet


KOREA: In Korea, when an older person offers you a drink or plate, take it with both hands to show respect. It is also customary to wait for the oldest person at the table to start eating first.

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Shutterstock/racorn

Source: CNN


MEXICO: Different countries have their own rules when it comes to using your hands. In Mexico, if you’re eating a taco, steer clear from using a fork and a knife, as its considered both silly and snobby.

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Flickr/Krista

Source: CNN


NEPAL: Don’t take food without being served, and be sure to ask for seconds when eating at someone’s home. It’s common courtesy that no one leaves the table while others are still eating.

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Flickr/Frontierofficial

Source: BBC


PORTUGAL: When at a restaurant in Portugal, don’t ask for salt and pepper if it isn’t already on the table. Asking for the seasonings is seen as an insult to the cook.

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Flickr/Charlotte Kinzie

Source: Lonely Planet


RUSSIA: If you’re offered a drink of vodka, don’t turn it down. Sharing vodka is considered a symbol of trust and friendship. Also, vodka is typically drunk with toasts, not casual sipping, and should be gulped down in a shot. Also, make sure to keep your wrists on the edge of the table instead of on your lap while eating.

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Flickr/Phil Roeder

Source: Lonely Planet, CNN


THAILAND: Use a fork to push food onto a spoon instead of putting food directly in your mouth with a fork. This rule does not apply to some foods that are not part of rice-based meals.

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Flickr/Dominique Godbout

Source: CNN