9 Weird Food Customs And Etiquettes Across The World
Image Credit: A boy stuffed with food, Image Source: Image Source: dreamstime.com

The world of food and drinks is mind-boggling. The sheer variety of recipes, the usage of unique or little-known ingredients, the method of cooking or even the taste profile is just the tip of the iceberg of a massive culinary culture. The more you explore, the more you get amazed and, at times, flabbergasted too. Let's shift our focus only on unusual customs, practices or beliefs around food and drinks across the globe. While a few seem logical and scientific, a few can leave you with a poker face. For example, in India, eating with hands has been a part of Hindu culture, and Veda says that the five fingers represent the five energies and thus help in better digestion and absorption of food. But if you are in Chile, dare you use your hands to eat anything. Only cutleries can pass the food to your mouth. 

The adage, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," applies to many countries and regions. If you question or fail to follow such customs, then be prepared for the worse.  

Be ready for a mouthful

Gursha, which means "mouthful" in Amharic, is a gesture of hospitality often made during a meal in Ethiopian homes. The host places a huge chunk of food in another person's mouth at the table. The recipient then reciprocates the gursha as a gesture of respect and trust among those dining together. The guests and the elderly are typically the first to receive gursha. Ethiopian dining tradition emphasises sharing a meal. Individual plates are viewed as wasteful and are rarely used. 

Upright chopsticks mean being curt

Eating with chopsticks, Image Source: Pexels

You shouldn't put your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl. Especially in China, it is a big no. This gesture is related to the ceremonial offering of food to the souls of the deceased. Additionally, it is considered offensive to point or wave your chopsticks at other people.

Don't chop potatoes

Visiting Germany? Remember to never chop potatoes on your plate if you go out to eat. Using a knife to cut potatoes could be seen as not thinking of them being fully cooked in Germany. Instead of chopping potatoes, crush them with a fork to avoid offending the cook. 

Cheese can cost you your reputation

An array of cheese, Image Source: Pexels

Italians are renowned for their love of food and famous for their parmesan and mozzarella cheese. You shouldn't ask for more cheese unless it is offered in Italy. It is considered disrespectful to ask for additional cheese after the food is already served with cheese, which is deemed sufficient. While there, never attempt to combine cheese with fish. Why? In Italy, it is regarded as a gastronomic catastrophe.

Come late to get the best guest tag

You will admire this Tanzanian meal tradition if you struggle with timeliness and punctuality. Coming to dinner too early or even on time is frowned upon here. It's customary to arrive at least 15 minutes late in order to be seen as a good guest.

Don't go Dutch 

Paying bill at eatery, Image Source: Pexels

In France, bringing up money at the dinner table is taboo, even to divide the cost. In reality, it is anticipated that one person will cover all expenses at once. Either you or someone else will decide to pick up the pace.

No hands please

Eating a burger with knife and fork, Image Source: Pexels

Never again should you eat with your hands while visiting Chile. Food should only be consumed using cutlery. Thus, exercise caution when ordering or eating in public. Some foods require manual involvement. But you can be judged by this nation. So, get ready to use knives and forks to devour burger, pizza and French fries.

Making noise is expressing satisfaction

Slurping noodles, Image Source: Pexels

If you can't pass gas or belch or burp in public or even at home in the presence of others, we got you solutions. Farting after a meal is considered a true expression of gratitude in some Canadian Inuit tribes. Likewise, Japanese cooks view slurping loudly as a gesture of respect. Additionally, it is believed to enhance the broth's flavour and speed up digestion.

Floors, the messier, the merrier

Popcorns spilled on the floor, Image Source: Pexels

If you have OCD, don't go close to the tapas bar in Spain. However, you can suggest to your friends to find a bar with a trash-covered floor. An old saying from the nineteenth century states that the nicer a bar is, the more trash is left on the floor. Back then, the pub had a lot of trash, which suggested that many people frequented there. The custom is still practised in numerous tapas bars around Spain and never fails to astound visitors.