10 Unique Culinary Etiquettes From Around The Globe
Image Credit: Dining etiquettes are very unique and personal to specific countries | Unsplash

Different countries have different cultures, which paved the way for rules that might be unique to their people and land. For centuries, eating has been regarded as a community activity where people sit down together to share a meal. With modern times kicking in, cooking and eating have become more personal acts, but the etiquette guidelines in different countries for eating at public gatherings or at a dinner with friends, family, or community members have remained the same.

Today, let us look at some culinary traditions and dining etiquette from around the globe that might sound a little unique or odd to us but make perfect sense for people who have been brought up with those values. Bookmark this article, as these may come in handy if you plan on visiting any country on this list, as it is important to eat like a local when you travel to a place!


In Japan, the concept of "omotenashi" governs the art of hospitality during meals. It emphasises a deep sense of respect and thoughtfulness towards guests. When dining in Japan, it is customary for hosts to refill their guests' glasses and plates before their own, showing utmost care and consideration. It seems like 'Atithi Devo Bhava' stands as true for Japan as it does for India!

Eating with Hands

In many parts of India, it is common and encouraged to eat with one's hands, as it is believed to enhance the connection between the person and the food. Using fingers to mix and enjoy the different sabzi, bhaji, and chutneys in Indian cuisine is considered a skill, and it is important to wash hands both before and after the meal. Also, it is common to use leaves to serve food in the traditional style of eating.

Sharing a Meal

Ethiopian cuisine is known for its communal style of eating. Diners gather around a large, shared platter known as "injera," a spongy flatbread, on which various stews and dishes are placed. Everyone at the table eats from the same platter, fostering a sense of togetherness and camaraderie. It is seen as a bonding activity. They even have a coffee-brewing tradition that is specially performed by the women of the house during meals.

Bread Etiquette

In France, bread is considered an essential part of the meal. When dining, it is customary to place the bread directly on the table rather than on a plate. Breaking off small pieces and eating them alongside other dishes, rather than buttering the entire slice, is a sign of appreciation for the quality of the bread. Another important point is that it is considered impolite to cut the bread with your hands and not the cutlery provided.

Eating with the Right Hand

In Saudi Arabian culture, eating with the right hand is essential, as the left hand is traditionally associated with personal hygiene and considered unclean. It is customary to use the right hand for eating, passing food, and greeting others during meals. It is very similar to the way Indians also prefer eating with the right hand.

Pasta Etiquette

In Italy, twirling pasta on a spoon is generally frowned upon, especially for long pasta shapes like spaghetti. Instead, Italians use a fork to help guide the pasta into a perfect bite-size portion without cutting it. It is also seen as disrespectful to the chef to add extra flavourings or seasonings to the dish, as this means you doubt the Chef’s choice and process to cook the food.

Chopstick Etiquette

Thai cuisine is often enjoyed with chopsticks, but unlike some other Asian cultures, it is not considered polite to stick chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice. This practise resembles a funeral ritual, and instead, chopsticks should be laid horizontally across the bowl. Food should also not be directly passed from one pair of chopsticks to another, as that is associated with a burial ritual as well.

Wait for the Elderly

In South Korean culture, respecting elders is paramount, even during mealtime. It is considered impolite to begin eating before the eldest person at the table starts their meal. Waiting for them to take the first bite is a sign of respect and gratitude.

Using the Right Hand

Similar to Saudi Arabia, eating with the right hand is customary in Morocco. Using the left hand during a meal is considered disrespectful. Additionally, Moroccans often eat from a communal plate and consider it polite to only eat from the section of the plate closest to them.

Savouring Every Bite

In Mexico, it is common for people to linger over meals, taking their time to savour and enjoy each bite. Rushing through a meal is seen as impolite, as meals are an opportunity for socialising, bonding, and enjoying the flavours and company of others. It is seen as the time to form and solidify connections.