Things You’re Doing Wrong When Eating Foreign Cuisine

Nothing can go wrong with good food. But for Filipino foodies who are always out to fulfill their international gastronomic cravings, you need to be careful on when to use your hands or raise your glass.

Though your taste buds and customs tell you to eat your sushi like this or cut your pasta like that, there are numerous cuisine faux pas that need to be observed.

Below are some dining customs and etiquette you must observe, especially when in a foreign land.

1. When turning Japanese:

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) - Magnolia Pictures

Don’t dip nigiri (sushi made of thinly sliced fish over rice) in the sauce rice-side-down. You’re meant to keep it intact and not compromise its structural integrity. Do not eat your nigiri using chopsticks either and enjoy it using your hand. Meanwhile, ramen fanatics should never alter their noodle broth with condiments and respect how the chef has crafted it. And as a rule of thumb, never, ever rub your chopsticks together as this is considered rude.

2. When dining French:

Don’t bother bringing a foreign wine as it expected that the host already has the dibs to pick a wine to be served. You may only do so if you upon recommendation by the host, but do not expect your bottle to be opened for the meal. Also, wait for host to toast before you pour a drink or take a sip. Lastly, do not eat your bread as appetizer. It’s customary to eat the bread with your pasta and cheese course at end of the meal.

3. When eating Chinese:


Do not flip over a whole fish as it is seen as bad luck—much like capsizing a boat. Also, tapping your bowl (with chopstick) is a discourteous gesture as it is similar to how homeless people beg for food.

4. When going Vietnamese:

Quit slurping the pho making noise while eating is an act of disgrace to the table. And while it is customary to wait for everyone to be on the table before you start to chow, it’s the other way around for the Vietnamese. Start eating once the food is served because it’s rude to let the food get cold.

5. When living the American dream:

In popular culture, it’s rude for the customers to be given the tab when not asked. However, in the American dining culture, it’s acceptable for the waiter/waitress to hand over the bill when meal is presumed finished. And please stop eating your burgers with fork and knives. Use your two clean hands and grab the whole bun.

6. When going Thai:

Do not take many kinds of food in your plate all at once; take no more than three different varieties only. Also, don’t order a meal that you intend to eat on your own as Thai meals are traditionally shared.

7. When in Rome:

It may be a common practice but never in Italy: Eating your spaghetti with spoon and fork is a no-no to Italians—especially cutting your pasta with a knife. These are considered an act of “culinary terrorism.” Also, drinking your cappuccino after 3 p.m. instantly gives away that you’re a tourist in the country as coffee there is normally served during breakfast (and paired with croissant).