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The World’s Most Curious Manners

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  • Never wave chopsticks at another person, bang them like drumsticks, use them to move plates or bowls, or stab them vertically into a bowl of rice. This last gesture indicates that the food is meant for the dead.
  • To serve a guest, use the blunt ends of your own chopsticks to transfer food from a communal dish to the guest’s plate.
  • When chopsticks are not in use, place them neatly on the table, side by side, with the ends even.
  • When picking food out of a communal dish, select only food that is on the top of the pile and the closest distance to your plate. Do not rummage through the serving dish to select specific food items for yourself.


  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after eating.
  • In general, eat with your right hand and use your left hand to pass communal dishes.
  • You must finish everything on your plate.
  • Do not leave the table until all guests have finished eating or your host asks for your help.


  • Do not expose the soles of your feet if you are eating on a carpet or mat.
  • Showing up early for dinner is considered rude; aim to arrive fifteen to thirty minutes late.
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1:40PM PDT on Aug 4, 2013

Interesting,thanks for sharing

11:18AM PDT on Aug 3, 2013

a lot of these are not really exclusive to the cultures to which they're ascribed by this article. and most are cross-cultural.

2:50AM PST on Jan 28, 2013

I don't really understand why it's weird that guest should be served first, that you shouldn't answer your phone during dinner, rummage around the serving dish, leave the table until everyone is finished, chew with your mouth closed... It all just seems like decent manners.

12:55AM PDT on Oct 11, 2012

In Home Ec, we also learned to chew with mouth closed, don't appear hungry by only cutting up one piece of food at a time and to chew and eat slowly. We also learned about nutrition and what to eat if one is a vegetarian. Plus, how to extend meals when low on money.

I am suprised to learn they don't teach Home Economics anymore. It was a really great practical and useful class. I really liked the introduction to using a sewing machine. I have used one since.

12:48AM PDT on Oct 11, 2012

That is, the knife and fork on the plate with the tines facing downward and the napkin to the right side of the plate(for when one is finished eating).

12:46AM PDT on Oct 11, 2012

The mannerisms from Chile seem pretty standard American fare as well. I was also taught to use the Tablespoon to twirl my spaghetti in and when I am done with a meal, place the fork on the plate with the tines facing downward to indicate I am finished/ full. Acutally, in Home Economics in 8th grade we learned how to set a table, what silverware to use for what food, that it is perfectly appropriate to use a knife to cut up large pieces of the salad, fold napkins, the order to serve food in, and how to seat guests as well. We also learned to sew and cook.

4:24AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

i read thru' the list, generally speaking as a Muslim, all the good mannerisms apply. thanks, will re-post!

8:41AM PDT on Oct 8, 2012

there are other customs/habits too in other places. e.g. in borneo islands some tribes consider it rude if you do not eat the meals served. so no matter however full you are from a previous meal, you must take a little bit. there are other eating customs but i cannot recall the rest. e.g. in some malay cultures the wife must serve the entire family before eating the food etc.

11:47AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

Japan: "When eating hot noodles, you are encouraged to make a slurping noise"


Very bizarre manners, thanks for sharing.

3:12AM PDT on Mar 21, 2012

Thank God for home where you can be yourself!

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