It suffices to say that every culture has its eating, and respective individuals in those cultures also have their styles of eating. If you frequently travel, either for business or leisure, you will agree that there is a wide disparity in food cultures and customs, with other people eating completely different from how you are used to doing back at home.
Such diversity is perfectly okay, and as a visitor in strange, it is advisable to try and conform so that you know how you eat and handle the food does not appear to be offensive in any way or manner to your hosts. To add to your knowledge of food customs, here are some of the strange habits you can expect to find in various countries around the globe-:
Don’t use forks for putting food in your mouth in Thailand
If you have gone for renew my passport services and your next destination in Thailand, then be advised that putting food in your mouth using a fork is considered crude. Unlike in the west where you use a fork for normal eating, its only use in Thailand is for pushing food onto the spoon, then use the spoon to put the food in your mouth. King Chulalongkorn brought the utensils after seeing them in Europe in 1877, but apparently, he did not stay long enough to learn how a fork is used.
In Italy, Cappuccino is never taken after meals
Italians believe that milk will hinder digestion and as such, milk beverages like cappuccino are never taken after meals. Instead, they prefer coffee or espresso. You are, however, free to order a cappuccino, only that you will be telling everyone around that you are a tourist who does not know Italian food cultures.
All hands are not equal in Middle Eastern culture
Middle Eastern countries are a cradle of cuisines. It is normal to find people eating with their bare hands, but all hands are not equal. The right hand is considered more superior and more privileged than the left hand. Hence it is the one used for eating. You would be surprised to know that in some Middle Eastern cultures, it is not appropriate to eat with the left hand and it would mean an insult to the host if you were to reach for food with your left hand.
Respect your elders in South Korea
In South Korea, it is considered a sign of great respect to let elders serve first before you reach for the serving bowl. You must wait for them to take the first bite as well before you can serve yours and start eating.
Other than waiting for your elders to take the first bite before you eat in Korea, you should also take cues from them. For instance, after the eldest person has started eating, watch and keep pace with them. Never eat faster than them. This is because there is always plenty of food to go around, hence no need to be in a hurry.
Additionally, you should never pour your drink in Korea. As you take your food, it is considered polite to pour drinks for other people sharing the table with you. Simply keep an eye on your friend’s glass and refill it at the right time.
Don’t flip a fish in China
In China, it is considered bad luck to flip a whole fish after you have eaten one side. Such a practice is associated with a capsized fishing boat, and what you ought to do instead, is to annihilate the bone so that you can have access to the flesh beneath. If you are done with renew your passport and you are headed to China, always remember this if you have any plans of eating fish while there.
It is okay to slurp noodles and soup in Japan
You will agree that making sounds with your mouth and food when eating is not appropriate in many cultures, especially those with noodle dishes. But in Japan, however, there is an exemption. You are free to slurp your noodles and soup, and no one will get offended. It is believed that when you do that, you are improving the flavor of the dishes, and even enjoying them much better.
No bowls and plates in Ethiopia
If you were expecting to have your meals in the normal bowls and plates, complete with forks and knives in Ethiopia, then get ready for a culture shock. In Ethiopia, the meal is served in one giant plate from where everyone eats with their bare hands. Using extra plates is considered wasteful in this culture.
If you leave your chopstick sticking in an upright position in a bowl of rice, the Chinese will consider it as gauche, since that is how they leave ceremonial rice as an offering during funerals. It is also considered the highest level or rudeness if you wave chopsticks in another person’s direction or place them on the table pointing directly at where someone is seated. Again, you should never pass food from one chopstick to another since bones during funeral rituals also get passed from one set of chopsticks to another.
Clean your plate or don’t clean your plate
When you clean your plate in India and Japan, this is seen as honoring the host for preparing a lovely meal for you. However, this is not the same in other places like China, where cleaning your plate will be considered rude and an indication that the host didn’t give you enough food, hence you cleared everything. You have to leave at least some bit of food on the plate. But this is entirely understandable for a place like China where foods are served in huge varieties and huge portions. Indeed, it can be ridiculous if you are not full from what was served until you clear everything on the plate.
The teaspoon in Britain
While stirring your tea in Britain, the spoon should not touch the sides of the cup to create the annoying sounds. You should also never leave the spoon in the cup. Once done, place it in the saucer which will always be provided with every cup of tea.
So as you think about renew your passport, also think about these cultures to blend well with the locals.
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