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Global Dining Etiquette

When traveling, one of the best ways to experience new cultures is through rich, authentic cuisine. Different areas of the world offer diverse flavors, dishes, and local customs that allow you to try things you never would have prior. Often times, we might think we have a good idea of how something tastes, like mozzarella cheese; however, experiencing it within the authentic local arena offers so much more flavor and texture than you could ever imagine. Food also serves as a way to bring people together and allows us to meet and interact with new people just as excited to share a meal as you.

Before you embark on your next trip abroad, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the dining etiquette of the country in which you plan to visit. Do your research — find out what the locals like to eat and what habits are appropriate and which are considered offensive. A simple gesture in one country may have a completely different interpretation in another. Invaluable created a neat guide that includes many do’s and don’ts when dining in some of the most traveled destinations.

Below are a few of the most interesting takeaways:

  • In India, it’s considered offensive to eat with your left hand because it’s thought to be unclean.
  • In France, avoid asking to split the bill because money is considered a personal matter, and the party that invites should always pay. The party that didn’t pay is expected to invite next time.
  • Always use utensils when in Chile (even with finger foods like french fries)—the Chilean dining experience tends to skew more formal.
  • It’s considered taboo to order a cappuccino after a meal in Italy because drinking milk hinders digestion.
  • Don’t come to a meal ravenous in Mexico—eating is considered a social event so often times conversation, drinking, and mingling happens for a good amount of time before any actual eating.
  • It’s polite to remove your shoes and leave them by the door when entering a guest’s house for dining in Morocco.
  • If eating in Russia, be prepared to take a vodka shot at dinner—it’s a sign of trust and friendship.


Take a look at the rest of the visual to get quick tips on local dining customs throughout the world!