We’ve all joked at some time about funky table manners around the world, with so many wonderful and diverse countries and cultures around the world, there’s certainly some traditions that are both fun and intriguing.
Some cultural traditions may seem strange to you but to others it’s a way of life. What is strange anyway?
Learning and embracing curious details about other cultures is one of the things that makes travel so fun and interesting.
Simple Fun Table Manners around that world that will save you from some embarrassing moments:
As we all know, the Russians love their vodka, so, if you’re offered a shot, don’t turn it down, even if you don’t like it. It means that you trust your host! Don’t mix it with anything, not even a piece of ice.
Did you know that you are a snob if you eat your tacos and burritos with a fork? Use your hands and you’ll fit right in.
Turkey, India and some Middle Eastern countries
In certain situations in a some Middle Eastern countries burping after you finish your meal can sometimes show that it was delicious and everyone should know it.
If you’re with the right crowd and you know it’s good to do so, burp all you want when eating out.
Now be careful, in some of these countries it’s also deemed inappropriate so make sure you when it’s ok and when not!
Another of the mid east’s strange ways- shaking your coffee cup means that you want no more.
If you don’t shake your cup, your host will continue to give you a refill, over and over again.
Japan, China and Thailand
Wild but real – don’t stand your chopsticks up straight in your rice. People from these countries are horrified when we stand them straight up.
Why? Because at a funeral, a bowl of rice is placed in front of the coffin…with chopsticks standing straight up!
It’s a good thing to slurp when you’re eating in Japan.
It shows that you’ve enjoyed your meal and appreciate it very much.
Different areas in Africa and Southern India
Did you know it is dirty to eat with your left hand?
We won’t tell you why, but trust us, it is. Only eat with your right hand.
Always keep your hands off of your lap while eating. Keep them visible, on the table. Hands on the table, yes, but elbows on the table, no. In the U.S. you can lay your hands in your lap and maybe one elbow on the table, but not in Germany table manners.
Understanding the table manners of other cultures will save you from some embarrassing moments in restaurants or with your host family, do your research before leaving home.
As odd as some of them may seem, they are important to those who live there.
So go ahead, burp and slurp all you want, but in the appropriate country, of course.
Always Eat With Your Mouth Closed
When I arrived in Moscow, Russia early last year, and my stomach started to grumble, I realised that my knowledge of Russian cuisine was limited to say the least.
Being a vegetarian, I have always assumed that the Russian menu is akin to the German – hearty, wholesome and meaty. To some extent, I wasn’t wrong, my partner had a lovely time devouring various “мясо” delights.
Yet what vegetarians (or maybe just me), fail to understand is that the food is there, you just have to find it.
For easy vegetarian food, and a feast for the eyes, I would highly recommend the outdoor markets. The food comes from far and wide and is very affordable, especially if you manage a few cheeky haggling words in Russian.
Although it’s no fancy restaurant, there are hot options, including some delicious soups and some scarily sword-like skewers for the carnivores.
If you fancy more of a dining experience then there are countless restaurants to choose from. One I would mention in particular is the ‘Vogue Cafe’.
This is about as far away from your English ‘cafe’ as you can imagine, and can only be described as an ‘experience’.
When the two scantily clad women met us at the door (and I saw my partner’s eyes light up) I began to wonder what we had let ourselves in for.
When we were seated I looked around and quickly realised that this was a place to ‘see and be seen’, with about 80% of the customers being well over the beauty Richter scale.
However, it was as beautiful on the inside as it was on the out! Living up to my true vegetarian stereotype I had a Greek Salad and a risotto and they were both unbelievably delicious, despite the constant feeling that I was being watched by the Vogue clan.
For a more relaxed bohemian vibe, where you can chew as loudly as you like, I would suggest H.L.A.M. It stands for Actors, writers, artists, musicians, and there is a truly creative buzz to the place. The décor is incredible – the ceiling is drenched in gold and the walls are covered in silk.
Although there is no gourmet menu, the food is traditional, comfortably simplistic, and affordable!
They also bring a unique touch to their menu with a ‘Green list’, which has 50 different types of vegetables, fruits and herbs that can be prepared as you like. I had a lot of fun, as you can imagine!
Moscow’s culinary treasures are truly unique; each dining experience an adventure, or a colourful story to recount to friends and family. Although it can be expensive, or somewhat intimidating, it definitely beats the overcooked sight of Pret a Manger, so go tickle your taste buds, your eyes and your ears in Moscow!