Thinking Out Loud

…on all things wise and wonderful.

Did You Know That? 5 Eating Customs You Never Knew Existed


Eating out can be a tricky business, not just because you have to device ways to stuff all that variety down your throat, but because every country eventually makes up their own unwritten, but staunchly followed customs that you might or might not be aware of. Here are a couple of customs you should know about, it’ll help save your skin if you happen to visit one of these countries.

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Where’s all the food gone?? (China)

Have you ever had a ‘dibs on the last chicken leg’ match with your brother? Or a ‘fight till my fingers break’ match for the lone-standing French fry? Clearly, you’re a helpless foodie who’s taken the saying ‘every grain counts’ very seriously. (Don’t fret, I fall into the same bracket)

What you need to remember is that you might feel like a bit of a misfit in China. In China, it is considered rude to finish everything that has been served to you. This gives the host the message that the food served was insufficient and has failed to satisfy your embarrassingly enormous appetite. So, the next time you’re in China and you see the host giving you disapproving looks, take a look at your plate. If there’s nothing on it, well…you’re done for!

Burrrrppppppp! (Egypt)

On my list of ‘Ought to be enforced eating customs,’ making noises of any kind (the innocent ones or the properly disgusting ones) at the dinner table is strictly prohibited. The Egyptians don’t agree with me.

In Egypt, the highest and best compliment you can pay a chef is, well.. a long, easily audible burp! I’m not sure if this is only an Egyptian custom as my dad does this too.

My mom doesn’t take it as a compliment.


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Stingy tipper, you’re banished to Japan! (Japan)

What’s every waiter’s nightmare? The crabby customer, who summons the waiter ten times during a meal, asks a minimum of 20 questions and considers it proper, in fact, necessary to yell at him at least thrice… then, leaves without a tip.

You might be kicked out of some restaurants here, but not in Japan. No way. Tipping of any kind is considered unnecessary, even insulting. Oh! And you can make slurping noises when gobbling your noodles. It’s considered a compliment.

I love Japan.


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Aaaannnd……Statue! (Mexico)

Do you always have to run to the bathroom after you eat? Well, you’re in big trouble if you’re in Mexico. There, it is considered rude to leave the table immediately after you finish a meal. It’s good manners to wait till a sufficient amount of time has passed. (Why? I don’t know)

So, when you need to take in some air, answer your boyfriend’s frantic calls or use the wash room, you’ll have to… wait.

Oh, and you’re supposed to keep your hands ABOVE the table. At all times. (I wonder what made people make this an imperative dining custom?!)

‘Dutch’ (Sweden)

No, not Dutch. I’m talking about this practice of ‘going dutch’ in Sweden. I’ve heard that the Swedes have taken the argument of sexual equality very seriously. So serious are they that they always split the dinner check in half, even on dates!

Girls who are wrongly accused of being gold-diggers, or hogs, Sweden’s the place to be to redeem your honour.

Men who don’t like to spend, please go to Sweden. No one’s dating you here!


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Well, even with all these customs in place, nothing can stop a true foodie from enjoying his meal, no matter where he is, even if it means making a complete ass of himself. Does the very thought of delicious food make you throw caution to the winds?

Here is a website you might like to check out; delicious recipes, food-related trivia and a lot more!


One comment on “Did You Know That? 5 Eating Customs You Never Knew Existed

  1. Samantha
    April 14, 2014

    Great stuff…good to know…fun to read.

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