|HOW'S YOUR TABLE MANNERS?
Your mother always told you, don't talk with your mouth
full and keep your elbows
off the table. Was she right? What are the correct table
manners and proper dining etiquette to bring to the table?
Cultural Dining Guide
When you travel to another part of the world, you might
discover that in some cultures, the dining etiquette is
very much different from yours. Here are some tips to
make your dining around the globe a pleasurable experience.
Japanese Table Manners
Filipino Table Manners
- In Japan, some restaurants and private houses have
low tables and cushions on the floor, in leiu of Western
chairs and tables.
- Do not blow your nose in public and especially at
- Some restaurants provide an o-shibori, or damp hand
towel, to wipe your hands before eating. Although
you will see some men wipe their faces with them,
women should only wipe their hands. When you're finished
simply fold the towel and put it back on its tray.
- It is polite and proper to lift small bowls of rice
or soup when you eat. When you do not get a soup spoon,
you can drink the soup out of the bowl (like you do
with a cup) and eat the solid food with chopsticks.
For large pieces of food, just bite a piece off and
put the rest back onto your plate or you may separate
the piece into smaller pieces with your chopsticks.
- Alternate between dishes. Have a bite of fish, then
a bite of vegetable, then a bite of rice rather than
just starting with one dish, finishing it, and then
moving on to the next.
- A very small plate is used for dipping soy sauce.
When you eat sushi, you dip sushi in the soy sauce
by hands or chopsticks. When you eat sashimi (raw
fish), you can add wasabi (Japanese horseradish) into
the soy sauce and mix it to dip sashimi. When you
eat tempura, a small bowl is used for dipping sauce.
- Don't eat directly from a communal dish. Whatever
you take must be set down on your own plate before
you put it in your mouth. You should be using the
other ends of your chopsticks to take things from
a shared plate and you need to reverse your chopsticks
before you can eat from them.
- It is a Japanese custom to make some slurping noises
while eating noodles such as Soba, udon, and somen.
- It is considered good manner to empty your dishes
to the last grain of rice.
- After finishing eating, try to place all your dishes
in the same way as they were at the start of the meal.
This includes replacing the lid of dishes which came
with a lid and replacing your chopsticks on the chopstick
holder or into their paper slip, if applicable.
Indian Table Manners
- If you are invited to a Filipino's house, it is
best to arrive 15 to 30 minutes later than when invited
for a large party.
- Compliment the hostess on the house.
- Wait to be asked before moving into the dining room
or helping yourself to food.
- Wait to be told where to sit. There may be a seating
- It is polite to wait for the host to invite you
to start eating before doing so.
- Meals are often served family- style or are buffets
where you serve yourself.
- A fork and spoon are the typical eating utensils.
- Hold the fork in the left hand and use it to guide
food to the spoon in your right hand.
- Whether you should leave some food on your plate
or finish everything is a matter of personal preference
rather than culture-driven.
German Table Manners
- Indians generally don't use cutlery or utensils
for eating. They eat with the help of fingers.
- The left hand is not used for eating, even if you
are left-handed. It is considered unclean.
- Wait until you are served. Never attempt to help
yourself. Your right hand, with which you are eating,
will leave the serving spoon sticky. And you mustn't
touch it with your left hand.
- Never offer anyone food from your thali, even if
it is in one of the little bowls and you haven't touched
Chinese Table Manners
- When you are invited to someone's home for a meal,
bring a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, or a
box of chocolates.
- Sit where you are told to sit.
- It is polite to try everything offered to you although
you don't have to finish the whole thing.
- When the food for another person is brought to your
table, say Guten Appetit or Mahlzeit. This means you
are wishing them a good meal, and indicating that
they should go ahead and start eating. Do not wait
for others to be served.
- Don't let your elbows touch the table although you
can put your hands on the table if you want to.
- Eat with fork in left hand, knife in right hand.
When pausing and putting utensils down, set knife
and fork down on opposite sides of plate. When finished,
slide fork around to rest next to knife on right side
- If wine or a beverage is served, wait until everyone
has their glass, then raise your glasses together
for a toast and take a sip.
- Be sure to compliment and thank the host/hostess
for the meal.
- In China, it is improper to put the end of the chopstick
in your mouth.
- Don't stick your chopsticks upright in your rice.
This is considered rude because it resembles joss
sticks which are used at Chinese religious rituals.
- When you're done eating, put the chopstick in the
chopstick rest or on the table. Putting them on your
plate is considered bad luck.