It Matters: International Manners & Etiquette

manners

It is not safe to assume that your way is the right when you are abroad.  The expression, “When in Rome…” sheds light on the general rule about manners when abroad.  Believe it or not in many countries including Tanzania, Brazil and Mexico showing up early for dinner is considered rude.  Ever wondered why some countries do not use a fork or knife?  Believe it or not once upon a time many Asian and African countries thought it rude to use weapons(a knife) while dining.  European use of the knife to eat was thought to be barbaric.   In efforts to improve table etiquette Europeans rounded the table knife edge and added a fork and spoon to the dining experience. Part Two of this series will include France, Switzerland, the Philippines, Afghanistan, the United Kingdom and the United States.  MCCN spotlights International  Manners (Click Here to view article on International Manners) for Tanzania, India, Japan, Mexico and Brazil in part one.

Tanzania

In many African countries dinner is done without cutlery, with the right hand, from a communal dish or dishes.  Expect Muslims to say grace before dining.

  •  It is considered pretentious to use forks or knives to eat Chapati or Ugali.
  •  If eating on a mat or carpet, do not expose the sole of your foot, it is considered very rude.
  •  Children may eat with the adults if instructed to do so.
  • Many Tanzanian table manners are similar to British table manners.
  •  It is considered rude to talk or laugh with food in your mouth.
  •  Let the host know how good the meal is, but don’t exaggerate; it might be taken the wrong way.
  •  Avoid touching your face, nose, ears and hair while eating.
  •  It is rude to drink beer straight from the bottle; you are expected to pour it into a glass.
  • In some regions like Zanzibar, some dinner tables are gender-segregated.

India

Like many African countries, food is expected to be eaten with the right hand. It is fine to use the left hand to pass the dish.

  • It is acceptable, and many times, even expected, not to use cutlery for eating, as many foods – such as Indian breads and curry – are commonly eaten in this manner.
  •  Wash hands thoroughly before sitting at the table as some Indian foods are primarily eaten by hand. Also, wash hands after eating the food. Usually, a finger bowl (with luke warm water and lemon) is served to each person for rinsing fingers.
  •  In North India, when eating curry, the sauce must not be allowed to stain the fingers – only the fingertips are used.
  •  When flat breads such as chapati, roti, or naan are served with the meal, it is acceptable and expected to use pieces of them to gather food and sop-up sauces and curries.
  • In South India, it is acceptable to use the hand up to the second segment of the fingers (middle phalanx till the interphalangeal joint) and the first segment of the thumb (distal phalanx) to pick up food. In South Indian culture, the four fingers are used only to pick up or spoon the food. The thumb is the digit used to push the meal into the mouth. It is considered rude if all five digits are used to place food into the mouth.
  •  It is considered inappropriate to use your fingers to share food from someone else’s plate once you have started using your own. Instead, ask for a clean spoon to transfer the food from the common dish to your plate.
  •  It is not necessary to taste each and every dish prepared, but you must finish everything on your plate as it is considered respectful. For that reason, put only as much food on your plate as you can eat.
  •  As most of the Indian delicacies are eaten with the hands, it is necessary to make sure that one’s drinking glass should not become messy.

* Do not leave the table until others have finished or the host requests you. If you must, ask permission from the host before leavin

 

Japan

Click Here For How to Use Chopsticks

how to use chopsticks

Some Table Rules

* Blowing your nose in public, and especially at the table, is considered bad manners.
* It is considered good manners to empty your dishes to the last grain of rice.
* Talking about toilet related and similarly unappetizing topics during or before a meal is not appreciated by most people.
* Unlike in some other parts of East Asia, it is considered bad manner to burp.
* After eating, try to move all your dishes back to the same position they were at the start of the meal. This includes replacing the lids on dishes and putting your chopsticks on the chopstick holder or back into their paper slip.

Drinking rules

When drinking alcoholic beverages, it is customary to serve each other, rather than pouring your own beverage. Periodically check your friends’ cups and refill their drinks if their cups are getting empty. Likewise, if someone wants to serve you more alcohol, you should quickly empty your glass and hold it towards that person.

 

Brazil

From an early age, children are taught to follow proper table manners. It’s a good idea to learn some of these manners before taking a trip to Brazil.

Read more: How to Follow Brazilian Table Manners | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2228058_follow-brazilian-table-manners.html#ixzz0tWKDnlRJ

Mexico

Mexico is certainly a place where is a lot more regard for formality.  Here are some pointers:

If you are invited to a Mexican’s home:

  • Arrive 30 minutes late in most places (check with colleagues to see if you should arrive later than that).
  •  Arriving on time or early is considered inappropriate.
  •  At a large party you may introduce yourself.
  •  At a smaller gathering the host usually handles the introductions.

Learn More:  http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/mexico-country-profile.html