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Table manners refers to the etiquette used while eating, which may also include the appropriate use of utensils. Different cultures observe different rules for table manners. Many table manners evolved out of practicality. For example, it is generally impolite to put elbows on table, since doing so creates a risk of tipping over bowls and cups. Each family or group sets its own standards for how strictly these rules are to be enforced.

Africa

In many African countries, eating is done without cutlery, with the right hand, from a communal dish (or dishes). Muslims often say grace (bismillah) before dining.

Tanzanian table manners

  • It is rude to show up early at dinner; try to be 15–30 minutes later than expected.
  • It is considered pretentious to use forks or knives to eat Chapati or Ugali.
  • If eating on a mat or carpet, do not expose the sole of your foot, it is considered very rude.
  • Topics like sex, religion or politics should be avoided in conversation; Tanzanian meals are meant to be enjoyed not a venue for debate.
  • The eldest male person is served first; the host is the last to start eating. In weddings and other larger events, children are served first.
  • Children may eat with the adults if instructed to do so.
  • Many Tanzanian table manners are similar to British table manners.
  • It is considered rude to talk or laugh with food in your mouth.
  • It is very impolite to bend over and smell or try to smell the food on your plate.
  • Let the host know how good the meal is, but don't exaggerate; it might be taken the wrong way.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, ears and hair while eating.
  • It is rude to drink beer straight from the bottle; you are expected to pour it into a glass.
  • In some regions like Zanzibarmarker, some dinner tables are gender-segregated.


Asia and Oceania

Afghanmarker table manners



  • Guests are always seated farthest from the door; when there are no guests the grandparents are seated farthest away from the door.
  • Depending on the customs of the household, a prayer may be offered before and/or after the meal.
  • Guests are offered food first and expected to eat the most, while the hosts begin to eat last and the least.
  • Guests should refrain from eating too much, unless the hosts coaxes them to eat more, which he/she almost always will. A host who coaxes his/her guests is considered a good, gracious host. The host should always ask at least three times if the guest wants more food, and the guest should refuse at least three times.
  • Guests are always given the best portions of the food. Refusing to eat however is considered bad manners, and guests should eat. Likewise, failure to offer food or to be attentive is considered bad manners for a host.
  • Traditionally food is eaten with bare hands. However, cutlery is sometimes provided, depending on the private culture of the host. Only the right hand should be used when eating with your hands. There are proper ways of picking up rice and other loose food without spilling any, which one should learn and practice. Wasting food is frowned upon. When cutlery is provided it is usually a spoon and fork, since there is seldom need for the use of a knife when eating Afghani food. Even when cutlery is provided it is acceptable to eat with your hands as well.
  • Soup may be eaten by soaking bread in it.
  • Food remnants should be collected with slices of bread.
  • Sometimes it is common to eat collectively from one large plate. One should always eat from one's own side.
  • If bread is dropped on the floor while eating at a table, the bread should be picked up, kissed, and put to one's forehead before putting the bread back somewhere other than the floor. If eating on the floor, make sure that your feet do not touch the food.
  • Compliments to the chef are customary; however, compliments should be acknowledged with extreme modesty.
  • Traditionally, service during dinner is performed by the oldest. First, water is brought in a jug with a very large saucer to wash the hands. The jug and saucer usually are made of some sort of metal. The food is then served. This may be followed by fruit and then tea.
  • Tea is served after dinner, with dried fruits, sweets, and sugar cubes. When tea is served, the cup of a guest must never be empty, and snacks must be offered. The guest should never be asked if he or she wants tea. The host should simply serve the tea. A guest never serves him or herself tea, nor performs a refill. The host must be attentive and refill tea cups until the guest is satiated. Afghans drink a great amount of tea and having 2-3 cups of tea at a sitting is common. Once the guest has finished drinking tea, the guest can flip their tea cup over to signal that they are done.
  • Eating or talking with one's mouth full is frowned upon.
  • Even if one is extremely hungry, one should refrain from being over zealous at the table.
  • One must never sit with one's back to anyone, especially an elder or a guest. One must never sit with feet stretched out toward anyone, especially an elder or a guest.
  • After eating, the jug of water is brought out again to wash hands. A towel may be provided.


Chinesemarker table manners

Generally, Chinese table manners are more informal than the West, although there are more rules concerning interactions with other guests due to high levels of social interaction as a result of the communal style of serving.

Chopstick usage

  • Chopsticks should always be held correctly, i.e. between the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand.
  • When not in use, chopsticks must always be placed neatly on the table with two sticks lying tidily next to each other at both ends. Failure to do so is evocative of the way the dead would be placed in a coffin before the funeral and is a major faux pas.
  • Chopsticks are traditionally held in the right hand only, even for the left-handed. Although chopsticks may now be found in either hand, a few still consider left-handed chopstick use improper etiquette. One explanation for the treatment of such usage as improper is that within the confines of a round table this may be inconvenient.
  • Never point the chopsticks at another person. This amounts to insulting that person and is a major faux pas.
  • Never wave your chopsticks around as if they were an extension of your hand gestures.
  • Never bang chopsticks like drumsticks. This is akin to telling others at the table you are a beggar.
  • Never use chopsticks to move bowls or plates.
  • Never suck the chopsticks.
  • Decide what to pick up before reaching with chopsticks, instead of hovering them over or rummaging through dishes.
  • To keep chopsticks off the table, they can be rested horizontally on one's plate or bowl; a chopstick rest(commonly found in restaurants) can also be used.
  • When picking up a piece of food, never use the tips of your chopsticks to poke through the food as with a fork; exceptions include tearing apart larger items such as vegetables. In more informal settings, smaller items or those more difficult to pick up such as cherry tomatoes or fishballs may be stabbed, but this is frowned upon by traditionalists.
  • Never stab chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice, as this resembles incense sticks used at temples to pay respects to the deceased. This is considered the ultimate dinner table faux pas.


Communal chopsticks
  • When there are communal chopsticks, it is considered impolite to use your own chopsticks to pick up the food from the shared plate, or to eat using the communal chopsticks.
  • It is considered impolite to use the blunt end of one's own chopsticks to transfer food from a common dish to one's own plate or bowl; use the communal chopsticks instead.
  • An exception to the above can usually be made in intimate settings such as at home.


Other utensils
  • If noodle soup is served, many consider a more elegant way to eat by picking the noodle into a serving spoon first, and eating from the spoon, rather than slurping directly from the bowl into the mouth using chopsticks.
  • Chinese traditionally eat rice from a small bowl held in the left hand. The rice bowl is raised to the mouth and the rice pushed into the mouth using the chopsticks. Some Chinese find it offensive to scoop rice from the bowl using a spoon. If rice is served on a plate, as is more common in the West, it is acceptable and more practical to eat it with a fork or spoon. The thumb must always be above the edge of the bowl.


Eating from common dishes

  • Pick the food on the dish that is at the top and nearest to you in distance. Never rummage through the dish or pick from the far side for your favorite food.
  • In general, more conservative Chinese frown upon the practice of picking more than one or two bites of food in your bowl or serving plate as if you were eating in the Western way. Most Chinese would understand the practice during infectious disease epidemics, or if the person is from the West.
  • If both a serving bowl - separate from rice bowl - and plate are provided, never put any food items to be eaten onto the serving plate. This rule may be relaxed for foreigners.
  • If a dish is soupy, pull the serving bowl near the serving dish and reduce the distance the chopsticks need carrying the food. Spilling plenty of sauce on the table is a major faux pas.
  • After you have picked up a food item, do not put it back in the dish.


Seniority and guests at the table

  • The elderly or guest(s) of honour are usually the first to start the meal.
  • The youngest or least senior may serve the eldest or most senior first, as part of the Confucian value of respecting seniors.
  • The youngest on the table addresses all of the elder members at the table before starting, perhaps telling them to please "eat rice" as a signal to help themselves.
  • The best food in a dish should be left to the elderly, children, or the guest of honour, even if they are one's favourite.
  • The eldest person present, or the guest of honour, is given a seat facing the door.
  • When the hostess says her food is not good enough, the guest must disagree and tell her it is one of the finest foods they have ever tasted.


Drinks

  • The host should always make sure everyone's cups are not empty for long. One should not pour for oneself, but if thirsty should first offer to pour for a neighbor. When your drink is being poured, you should say "thank you", and/or tap your index and middle finger on the table to show appreciation, especially when you are in Southern China, e.g. Guangdong Province.
  • When people wish to clink drinks together in the form of a cheer, it is important to observe that younger members should clink the rim of their glass below the rim of an elder's to show respect.
  • Strong alcohol, called baijiu [pronounced "by joe"], is often served throughout the meal; and it is customary for the host[s]/hostess[es] to insist that guests drink to "show friendship." If the guests prefers not to drink, they may say, "I'm unable to drink, but thank you." [in Mandarine: "Wo bu neng he jiu, xie xie." {whoa boo nung huh joe}] The host may continue to insist that the guests drink, and the guests may likewise continue to insist upon being "unable" to drink. The host's insistance is to show generosity. Therefore, refusal by the guests should be made with utmost politeness. Beware: If a guest drinks alcohol with a subordinate at the table, the guest will be expected [if not forced] to drink a glass of the same alcohol with each superior at that table, and possibly at other tables too—if the guest has not passed out yet.


Smoking

  • Smoking is customary when dining, and the host will often pass out cigarettes to all [men] around the table. If the guest prefers not to smoke, she/he should politely refuse (in Mandarin, one would say, "Wo bu hui chouyan, xie xie").


Business meals

  • During business meals, it is best not to eat to the point of satiation, as business and not food is the actual main purpose of the gathering.


Miscellaneous

  • Some people sit at least 1 metre (3 chi) from the dining table so they will not be literally rubbing elbow with other guests.
  • When eating food that contains bones, it is customary that the bones be spat out onto the table to the right of the dining plate in a neat pile. Spitting onto the floor is almost never acceptable.
  • Belching, smacking, and sipping is allowed
  • Talking with a full mouth, eating with the elbows on the table and tasting from a table guest's plate is also allowed


Indianmarker table manners

  • Food is generally expected to be eaten with the right hand. It is fine to use left hand to pass the dishes.
  • It is acceptable, and many times, even expected, not to use cutlery for eating, as many foods - such as Indian breads and curry - are commonly eaten in this manner.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before sitting at the table as some Indian foods are primarily eaten by hand. Also, wash hands after eating the food. Usually, a finger bowl (with luke warm water and lemon) is served to each person for rinsing fingers.
  • In North India, when eating curry, the sauce must not be allowed to stain the fingers - only the fingertips are used.
  • When flat breads such as chapati, roti, or naan are served with the meal, it is acceptable and expected to use pieces of them to gather food and sop-up sauces and curries.
  • In South India, it is acceptable to use the hand up to the second segment of the fingers (middle phalanx till the interphalangeal joint) and the first segment of the thumb (distal phalanx) to pick up food. In South Indian culture, the four fingers are used only to pick up or spoon the food. The thumb is the digit used to push the meal into the mouth. It is considered rude if all five digits are used to place food into the mouth.
  • It is considered inappropriate to use your fingers to share food from someone else's plate once you have started using your own. Instead, ask for a clean spoon to transfer the food from the common dish to your plate.
  • It is not necessary to taste each and every dish prepared, but you must finish everything on your plate as it is considered respectful. For that reason, put only as much food on your plate as you can eat.
  • As most of the Indian delicacies are eaten with the hands, it is necessary to make sure that one's drinking glass should not become messy.
  • Do not leave the table until others have finished or the host requests you. If you must, ask permission from the host before leaving.
  • South Indian meals are served on a banana leaf that has been cleaned with warm water. Vegetables are placed on the top half of the leaf, and rice, sweets, and snacks on the other half.
  • The banana leaf should not be left open after finishing the meal. It should be folded in such a way that the top half closes over the bottom half. If the bottom half is folded over the top, it is usually considered disrespectful, as this is done only in solemn situations one hopes will not occur again, such as a death.


Japanesemarker table manners

  • Never place chopsticks stuck vertically into a bowl of food, as this is the traditional presentation form for an offering to one's ancestors.
  • One should wait for the host or hostess to tell you to eat three times before eating.
  • Accepted practice in helping oneself to a communal dish such as a salad, is to reverse the chopsticks. However this is regarded in an all male, or casual situation, as too formal and additionally, a female habit.
  • Women should cup their other hand beneath their serving when using chopsticks when conveying food from dish/bowl to mouth. Men should not do this.
  • In communal dining or drinking, the youngest person present should pour alcohol for the other members of the party, serving the most senior person first. The server should not pour their own drink, rather they should place the bottle of sake, beer, wine or spirits, back on the table or bar, and wait to be served by a senior.
  • One should always clean one's hands before dining with the hot steamed towel provided.
  • Japanese soup is eaten holding the bowl to one's mouth, never with a spoon. The exceptions to this are o-zoni, the traditional soup served on New Year's Day; soups with noodles are served in larger bowls, such as ramen, are acceptable to eat using chopsticks, although the soup itself is still consumed from bowl to mouth.
  • If something might drip onto the table while being transferred in the chopsticks, use the bowl of rice in your other hand to catch the liquid. It is important to not allow this liquid to remain, and so the discolored portion of the rice must be eaten. Rice (in a bowl) should remain white if it was served as such.
  • It is usually polite to finish all sections of a meal served at around the same time. It is suggested that one should take a bite from one container, and then take a bite of rice. One should then take a bite from another container, have another bite of rice, and so forth.
  • It is perfectly acceptable, and rather encouraged to make a slurping noise when eating hot noodles such as udon, ramen or soba. This is standard behavior in Japan, and Japanese maintain that inhaling air when eating hot noodles improves the flavor.
  • When taking a break from eating during a meal, one should place one's chopsticks on the chopstick rest (hashi-oki) provided. A hashi-oki is usually a ceramic rectangle about four centimeters long, or in some restaurants, a halved wine cork is provided.
  • Unlike Korean table manners, it is acceptable to cradle one's rice bowl in one hand when eating. Japanese rice bowls have a thicker bottom and are made with heat insulating materials while Korean rice bowls are made with heat conductive metals.
  • One should not gesture using chopsticks.
  • Never pass food from one pair of chopsticks to another. This technique is used only in Japanese Buddhist funerary rites when transferring cremated bones into an urn.
  • When pouring wine or beer, the hand holding the bottle should pour forward, not backward (over the back of the hand) which is considered an insult.
  • In traditional restaurants, one needs to sit in seiza, on less formal occasions sitting is also done in tailors style or with 2 legs together on 1 side (females-only)
  • There is no tipping in Japanese restaurants.


Sushi (esp. in a restaurant)
  • It is acceptable to eat sushi with one's fingers, rather than chopsticks, if the dining situation is relatively casual (this also applies to dining out at a kaitenzushi restaurant).
  • When possible, sushi pieces and sections of cut rolls should be eaten in a single bite, or held in the hand until finished; setting half a piece back down on the plate is considered rude.
  • Nigiri sushi (fish on rice) and maki (rolls) may be eaten with the hands; sashimi (pieces of raw fish) should be eaten with chopsticks.


Malaymarker table manners

  • As a guest, if you feel that you cannot consume more food, it is courteous to turn it down by eating a small morsel or by graciously declining it altogether.
  • Remember that the right hand is always used for eating the traditional Malay way - Never the left hand because it is considered unclean.
  • Have the oldest person served first (disregard whether it is a male or female).
  • Always cover your mouth when toothpicking.
  • Always turn your head away from the table if you are sneezing or coughing.
  • For functions that require guests to sit down on the floor, men should sit crossed-legged and not stretch them
  • Pointing your feet at others is impolite - point your feet away from them.
  • You must leave some drinking beverage in the glass or cup after you finish drinking.
  • Never leave your plate dry after eating.
  • Don't hit or knock on an empty plate as it is considered rude.
  • Do not put back dishes to its original place when you have taken it to your plate.
  • Do not talk when your mouth is full as it is considered rude.


Pakistanimarker table manners

See also : Etiquette of Pakistani dining and Etiquette in Pakistan

Pakistanimarker table manners are a mixture of Islamic teachings, south Asian tradition and British influence:
  • Before you start eating, Recite "Bismillah Ar-Rahman al-Rahim"(In the name of Allah Who is most beneficial & merciful).
  • Wash hands thoroughly before sitting and compliment the host.
  • When using a knife and fork, eat Continental style, holding the fork in your left hand.
  • Do not start eating until the eldest in the family is at the table
  • Dastarkhwan (A long piece of cloth used for food) as Bread (Chapati) is primarily eaten by hand.
  • Try to eat bread (Chapati) with the right hand.
  • Don't look into others' saucers while eating.
  • Do not chew loud enough for others to hear.
  • Chew with your mouth closed.
  • Eat everything on the plate; leaving some food is considered wasteful.
  • Eating additional servings is considered polite.
  • If eating food with bread, first tear it into pieces.


Philipinomarker table manners

  • Wait to be asked before moving into the dining room or helping yourself to food.
  • Wait to be told where to sit. There may be a seating plan.
  • The head of the household, usually the father, or the guest of honor is usually seated at the head of the table.
  • It is polite to wait for the host to invite you to start eating before doing so.
  • When one is offered by the host to try some food, refusing to consume the food offered is considered highly offensive.
  • Meals are often served family-style or buffet-style where you serve yourself.
  • A fork and spoon are the typical eating utensils. The fork is held in the left hand and is used it to guide food, especially rice, to the spoon held in the right hand. The fork, if no knife is available, may be used to slice foods, although some frown upon this.
  • Normally the head of the family recite a prayer before passing around food to be served.
  • Always use serving spoon.


Central and South America

Brazilian table manners

In Brazil, the host asks guests to help themselves. One should not pick up too much so that the plate can be completely finished. If food is left on the plate, it gives a bad impression.Hands are washed every time before going to table. Swipe your mouth when you had a drink and never drink from the bottle. Cutlery is always used, even for pizza.

Peruvianmarker table manners

Table manners follow most of the European standards, although there are some implicationswith regard to typical dishes or local traditions.
  • Leftover Ceviche lemon juice can be poured into a glass following consumption of the fish pieces. This accepted practice is called the "drinking of the tiger's milk".
  • Don't stretch after a meal


Europe

Frenchmarker/Swissmarker table manners

  • Remember to always say please and thank you
  • French bread is always torn off rather than cut. Do not dip it into soup or sauce.
  • Do not place your elbows on the table
  • Use a napkin every time you drink something
  • Finish everything on your plate before taking more.
  • Do not put ice in your wine. At restaurants, wine should be served at the optimal temperature.
  • After you have finished eating, place the cutlery parallel, vertically at the center of your plate so the waiter will know to take away your plate. While you are still eating your meal, place the cutlery to the sides of your plate at 4:00 and 8:00, opposite sides of the plate, signifying to the waiter that you wish to keep your plate.
  • Lift your forearm from the table while moving the fork to your mouth.
  • In Switzerlandmarker you are expected to appear on time if invited to a dinner party.
  • When toasting in Switzerland, hold up your glass and look each person in the eyes before drinking.
  • If you are served cheese as a wheel, it should be cut from the center into slices (as you would slice a pie).


Russianmarker table manners

  • It is polite to leave a little food at the end of the meal to show the host that the hospitality was plentiful and appreciated. In addition, the host will often urge the guests to second helpings of food.
  • It is improper to look into another's plate or saucer.
  • Remember to say "That was good" to the one who made the dish upon leaving the table.
  • Small food should not be cut.
  • No elbows on the table.
  • No unpleasant noises.
  • In general, one should not be stuffy or overly ceremonial. Especially if the meal is in someone's home, conviviality and relaxation outrank propriety. A guest is expected to contribute to the fun of the party.
  • Do not talk with food in your mouth.


Britishmarker table manners

  • The fork is held in your left hand and the knife is held in your right when used at the same time (except for the left-handed, who may prefer to hold the knife in their left hand and the fork in their right).
  • You should hold your knife with the handle in your palm and your fork in the other hand with the tines (prongs) pointing downwards.
  • If you’re eating a dessert, your fork (if you have one) should be held in the left hand and the spoon in the right.
  • When eating soup, you should hold your spoon in your right hand and tip the bowl away from you, scooping the soup in movements away from yourself. The soup spoon should never be put into the mouth, and soup should be sipped from the side of the spoon, not the end.
  • It is not acceptable to use your fingers to push food onto your fork, nor to handle most food items. Some foods such as fruit, bread, sandwiches or burgers may be eaten using fingers, and fingers are mandatory for eating some items, such as asparagus spears, which are traditionally served with sauce on the side for dipping.
  • If there are a number of knives or forks, start from the outside set working your way in as each course is served.
  • Drinks should always be to the right of the plate with the bread plate to the left.
  • When eating bread rolls, break off a piece before buttering. Use your knife only to butter the bread, not to cut it.
  • Do not start eating before the host does or instructs guests to do so. At meals with a very large number of people, it is acceptable to start eating once others have been served.
  • When finished, place the knife and fork together at six o’clock with your fork on the left (tines facing up) and knife on the right, with the knife blade facing in. This signals that one has finished.
  • The napkin should never be screwed up. Nor should it be folded neatly as that would suggest that your host might plan to use it again without washing it—just leave it neatly but loosely on the table.
  • Never blow your nose on your napkin. Place it on your lap and use it to dab your mouth if you make a mess.
  • It is considered rude to answer the telephone at the table. If you need to take an urgent call, excuse yourself and go outside.
  • Always ask for permission from the host and excuse yourself if you need to leave the table. You should place your napkin on your seat until you return. It is considered common courtesy for all gentlemen at the table to stand when a lady arrives or leaves the table.
  • If you must leave the table or are resting, your fork should be at eight o’clock and your knife at four o’clock (with the blade inwards). Once an item of cutlery has been used, it should not touch the table again.
  • Food should be brought to your mouth on the back of the fork.
  • Dishes should be served from the left, and taken away from the right. Unless the food is placed on your plate at the table, then it should arrive from the left.
  • Drinks should be served from the right.
  • Never lean across somebody else’s plate. If you need something to be passed, ask the person closest to it. If you have to pass something, only pass it if you are closest to it and pass it directly to them if you can.
  • Salt and pepper shakers should be passed together.
  • Do not take food from a neighbour’s plate and don’t ask to do so.
  • You must not put your elbows on the table.
  • If pouring a drink for yourself, offer to pour a drink for your neighbours before serving yourself.
  • If extra food is on the table, ask others if they would like it before taking it yourself.
  • When chewing food, close your mouth and only talk after you have swallowed it.
  • Swallow all food before eating more or drinking.
  • Do not slurp your food or eat loudly.
  • Never pick food out of your teeth with your fingernails.
  • Try to eat all the food you are served.
  • Wine glasses should be held by the stem in the case of white wines, and by cupping the bowl in the case of red wines
  • If port is served after the meal, then the decanter should be passed to the person on your left and never passed to the right.
  • Never transfer food to your mouth with your knife.


North America

Americanmarker table manners

See also, Etiquette in North America

Table Setting

  • Bread or salad plates are to the left of the main plate, beverage glasses are to the right. If small bread knives are present, lay them across the bread plate with the handle pointing to the right.
  • A table cloth extending 10 to 15 inches past the edge of the table should be used for formal dinners, while placemats may be used for breakfast, luncheon, and informal suppers.
  • Modern etiquette provides the smallest numbers and types of utensils necessary for dining. Only utensils which are to be used for the planned meal should be set. Even if needed, hosts should not have more than three utensils on either side of the plate before a meal. If extra utensils are needed, they may be brought to the table along with later courses.
  • If a salad course is served early in the meal, the salad fork should be further from the main course fork, both set on the left. If a soup is served, the spoon is set on the right, further from the plate than the knife. Dessert utensils, a small (such as salad) fork and teaspoon should be placed above the main plate horizontally (bowl of spoon facing left, the fork below with tines facing right), or more formally brought with the dessert. For convenience, restaurants and banquet halls may not adhere to these rules, instead setting a uniform complement of utensils at each seat.
  • If a wine glass and a water glass are set, the wine glass is on the right directly above the knife. The water glass is to the left of the wine glass at a 45 degree angle, closer to the diner.
  • Glasses designed for certain types of wine may be set if available. If only one type of glass is available, it is considered correct regardless of the type of wine provided.
  • Hosts should always provide cloth napkins to guests. When paper napkins are provided, they should be treated the same as cloth napkins, and therefore should not be balled up or torn. Napkin rings are only used for napkins which will be used repeatedly by members of the household, and therefore should never be used with a guest's napkin as they only receive freshly laundered ones. Napkins may be set on the plate, or to the left of the forks.
  • Coffee or tea cups are placed to the right of the table setting, or above the setting to the right if space is limited. The cup's handle should be pointing right.
  • Candlesticks, even if not lit, should not be on the table while dining during daylight hours.


Before Dining

  • Mens' and unisex hats should never be worn at the table. Ladies' hats may be worn during the day if visiting others.
  • Before sitting down to a formal meal, gentlemen stand behind their chairs until the women are seated.
  • A prayer or 'blessing' may be customary in some households, and the guests may join in or be respectfully silent. Most prayers are made by the host before the meal is eaten. Hosts should not practice an extended religious ritual in front of invited guests who have different beliefs.
  • A toast may be offered instead of or in addition to a blessing.
  • One does not start eating until (a) every person is served or (b) those who have not been served request that you begin without waiting. At more formal occasions all diners should be served at the same time and will wait until the hostess or host lifts a fork or spoon before beginning.
  • Napkins are placed in the lap. At more formal occasions diners will wait to place their napkins on their laps until the host places his or her napkin on his or her lap.
  • One waits until the host has picked up his or her fork or spoon before starting to eat.
  • When eating very messy foods, such as barbecued ribs or crab, in an informal setting, where it must be eaten with the fingers and could cause flying food particles, a 'bib' or napkin tucked into the collar may be used by adults. Wet wipes or ample paper napkins should be provided to clean the hands. In formal settings, bibs or napkins used as such are improper, and food should be prepared by the chef so that it may be eaten properly with the provided utensils.
  • Even if one has dietary restrictions, it is inappropriate for non-relatives to request food other than that which is being served by the host at a private function.


General Manners while Dining

  • When a dish is offered from a serving dish (a.k.a. family style), as is the traditional manner, the food may be passed around or served by a host or staff. If passed, you should pass on the serving dish to the next person in the same direction as the other dishes are being passed. Place the serving dish on your left, take some, and pass to the person next to you. You should consider how much is on the serving dish and not take more than a proportional amount so that everyone may have some. If you do not care for any of the dish, pass it to the next person without comment. If being served by a single person, the server should request if the guest would like any of the dish. The guest may say "Yes, please," or "No, thank you."
  • When serving, serve from the left and pick-up the dish from the right. Beverages, however, are to be both served as well as removed from the right-hand side.
  • Dip your soup spoon away from you into the soup. Eat soup noiselessly, from the side of the spoon. When there is a small amount left, you may lift the front end of the dish slightly with your free hand to enable collection of more soup with your spoon.
  • If you are having difficulty getting food onto your fork, use a small piece of bread or your knife to assist. Never use your fingers or thumb.
  • You may thank or converse with the staff, but it is not necessary, especially if engaged in conversation with others.
  • It is acceptable in the United States not to accept all offerings, and to not finish all the food on your plate. No one should ask why another doesn't want any of a dish or why he has not finished a serving.
  • There should be no negative comments about the food nor of the offerings available.
  • Chew with your mouth closed. Do not slurp, talk with food in your mouth, or make loud or unusual noises while eating.
  • Say "Excuse me," or "Excuse me. I'll be right back," before leaving the table. Do not state that you are going to the restroom.
  • Do not talk excessively loudly. Give others equal opportunities for conversation.
  • Refrain from blowing your nose at the table. Excuse yourself from the table if you must do so.
  • Burping, coughing, yawning, or sneezing at the table should be avoided. If you do so, say, "Excuse me."
  • Never slouch or tilt back while seated in your chair.
  • Do not "play with" your food or utensils. Never wave or point silverware.
  • You may rest forearms or hands on the table, but not elbows.
  • Do not stare at others.
  • Do not talk on your phone or "text" at the table, or otherwise do something distracting, such as read or listen to a personal music player. Reading at the table is permitted only at breakfast. If an urgent matter arises, apologize, excuse yourself, and step away from the table so your conversation does not disturb the others.
  • If food must be removed from the mouth for some reason, it should be done using the same method which was used to bring the food to the mouth, i.e. by hand, by fork, etc., with the exception of fish bones, which are removed from the mouth between the fingers.
  • Before asking for additional helpings, always finish the serving on your plate first.
  • Gentlemen should stand when a lady leaves or rejoins the table in formal social settings.


Using Utensils
  • The fork is used to convey solid food to the mouth. Do not use your fingers unless eating foods customarily eaten as such, such as bread, asparagus spears, chicken wings, pizza, etc.
  • Do not make unnecessary noises with utensils.
  • The fork may be used either in the "American" style (use the fork in your left hand while cutting; switch to right hand to pick up and eat a piece) or the European "Continental" style (fork always in left hand). (See Fork etiquette)
  • Unless a knife stand is provided, the knife should be placed on the edge of your plate when not in use and should face inward.
  • When you have finished eating soup from a bowl or larger "soup plate," the spoon should be placed on the flat plate beneath, if one is present.
  • As courses are served, use your silverware from the outside moving inward toward the main plate. Dessert utensils are either above the main plate or served with dessert.


At the end of the meal

  • When you have finished your meal, place all used utensils onto your plate together, on the right side, pointed up, so the waiter knows you have finished. Do not place used utensils on the table.
  • Except in a public restaurant, do not ask to take some uneaten food or leftovers home, and never do so when attending a formal dinner. A host may suggest that extra food be taken by the guests, but should not insist.
  • Leave the napkin on the seat of your chair only if leaving temporarily. When you leave the table at the end of the meal, loosely place the used napkin on the table to the left of your plate.
  • Wait for your host or hostess to rise before getting up from a dinner party table.


See also



References



External links

Japan
* Japanese Dining Etiquette
Malaysia
* General dining etiquette
United States
* Job interview dining etiquette
* Job interview dining etiquette Q & A
* General dining etiquette
The Philippines
* Cultural Dining



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