International Eating Etiquette

International Eating Etiquette

When traveling to another country, you must be aware of different eating etiquette rules in order to not offend and make a good impression. Be respectful to other cultures by reviewing a few etiquette rules below and be humble if you make a mistake:


  • Continental style
    • Europeans eat Continental style meaning you hold your knife in your right hand and fork in your left. Never switch utensils to your other hand; you eat with your fork in the left hand the entire time.
  • Be on time
    • Don’t plan on arriving fashionably late. Europeans are punctual and expect you to arrive early.


  • Eat with your hands
    • In many African countries, it is tradition to eat with your hands with no utensils. Eat only using your right hand, your left hand is only used in the bathroom. Generally one bowl of water is passed around the table after the meal to wash your hand.
  • Eat all the food on your plate
    • It can be disrespectful not to finish your plate of food, so do your best to finish your plate.


  • Use chopsticks
    • Eating with chopsticks is expected in most Asian countries, so try to use them if you can. When not using your chopsticks, do not rest them in or across your bowl but set on the side of your bowl. Ask your host for help if you need it.


  • Dinner hours
    • Most countries in South America have business lunches around 1:00pm until 3:00pm. Dinner is more of a social event and can occur late in the evening.
  • Use right hand when passing food
  • Keep hands above the table when eating

When traveling and uncertain of what to do, follow your host. Comment below and share with us any other international eating etiquette rules that you have learned.

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