Dinner Conversations: "Rude!"…Or Is It?

Whether you “mangiare,” “nosh,” “pig out,” or “muck up,” mealtime is a social event in every country. What is considered “good manners” varies dramatically (often hysterically) from one culture to another. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts…





Clean your plate.

Tip your server 15-20%.

Use the correct utensil.




…Put food directly onto the table.

…Eat with your hands (with few exceptions).



Compliment host by


…Using chopsticks.

…Leaving something on the plate (host will know they provided enough).

…Slurp from the bowl. (compliments the chef in Japan).

…Lay chopsticks down onto or into rice bowl or cross them.

…Pass Food holding chopsticks (done in Japan at funerals, otherwise very rude).



Eat with your fork in your left hand, knife in the right (hold for entire meal).

Enjoy breakfasts of Bangers and Mash, meats, cheeses and rolls; BIG lunch and tea at 4:00 with scones, or “high tea,” which is heavier, usually a “dinner”


…Tip your chair back.

…Put elbows on the table;

no hands below table, rest on wrists.

…Forget your best manners.


Break a piece of bread. Use bread to assist fork.

When not in use, bread goes onto the table, not plate.

…Split the bill.

…Put your hands below the table.

…Tip—gratuities are included in the bill.


Add 5-10% for exceptional service.

Have wine during the meal.

Drink Espresso after the meal.


…Ask for cheese, salt or pepper (insults the chef).

…Expect to eat inside or in a smoke-free environment.


Expect to eat later.

Expect to eat MORE; pace yourself.

Eat with your RIGHT hand.

…Ask for alcoholic beverages (a NO-NO!).

….Eat with your left hand.



Pass food with your right hand.

Add 10% for excellent service.

…Expect lunch until 2 or 3 p.m. (big meal).

…Expect dinner until 10 p.m.