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The World’s Most Curious Manners

  • 3 of 4

Japan

  • Before you commence a meal, wait for your host to tell you three times to begin eating.
  • The youngest person at the table should pour alcohol for the other diners, beginning with the most senior person. A senior should then pour the server’s beverage.
  • Never transfer food from one pair of chopsticks to another. When women transfer food with chopsticks from a serving dish to their mouth, they should cup their hand beneath the food; men should not.
  • Rubbing chopsticks together to remove splinters is a sign of disrespect to the restaurant or host.
  • When eating hot noodles, you are encouraged to make a slurping noise; the Japanese believe that this inhalation of air enhances the noodles’ flavor.
  • Pieces of sushi should be eaten in a single bite whenever possible; if you must eat a piece in more than one bite, never place it back down on your plate between bites.

Pakistan

  • Before each meal, Muslim Pakistanis always recite this phrase: “Bismillah Ar-Rahman al-Rahim.” (“In the name of Allah, who is most beneficial and merciful.”) Afterward, they say, “Al-Hamdu-lillah.” (“Thanks be to God.”)
  • Do not begin eating until the eldest member of the family is seated at the table.
  • Always chew quietly enough that no one else can hear you.
  • Always tear bread into pieces before eating it, and use only your right hand.

  • 3 of 4

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861 comments

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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"

Ew.

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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