International Food Etiquette Customs To Know Before You Travel

Acting as the Romans do in Rome — or as the locals do wherever you travel — can not only help you not stick out as a tourist, it might help you meet more people and make your trip go more smoothly. MSNBC rounds up some interesting food customs for globetrotters.

Photo by ARENA Creative (Shutterstock)

Visitors to Japan, for example, are advised not to stick chopsticks upright in rice (like in the photo above) — especially at funerals. Eating rice with chopsticks are considered tacky or awkward in Thailand too, apparently.

In Chile, don't eat with your hands — even finger foods like french fries.

One "rule" that seems easy to follow: Never turn down vodka in Russia.

Of course, these etiquette rules may depend on who you're eating with. If you're visiting casual hosts or family or friends, formal or superstitious traditions like not eating bread before meals in France may not be followed. Otherwise, when in doubt, read up on other travel etiquette tips before you go, and look to the behaviour of those around you.

What surprising food customs have you encountered when travelling to a foreign country?

15 international food etiquette rules that might surprise you [MSNSBC]


    I think you might need to read the bit about upright chopsticks in Japan again. The REASON it's such a faux pas is that the chopsticks are traditionally stood in the rice at funerals, and, as a result of Japanese superstition, it's unacceptable to do this ELSEWHERE.

    Not eating bread before meals in France? Where did they get that from? As soon as you arrive at a restaurant or cafe they'll give you a basket of bread. For free.

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