If you are going to a restaurant, do you know what the 18 rules of dining etiquette are? No. But if you have ever been to a place where you had to follow a set of social rules and you felt that it was done in a way that violated your own personal sense of etiquette, then you probably did. It’s not that we know better than other people what is proper or improper, or what etiquette really is. We don’t.
However, we can ask those who do know better what they think about it and how it may be done differently. This is where etiquette becomes practice, rather than theory. In many ways, dining out is just another form of socializing. Each person at the table shares some of the customs and social rules of their own culture, but they also have the freedom to choose how they will carry those rules while at the table. And this, of course, will vary from one culture to another.
Take, for example, Chinese etiquette. Chinese dining etiquette is actually pretty clear-cut about what you should and shouldn’t do around the table. They don’t like it when you are barefoot, they don’t like it when you are sitting alone, they don’t like it when you are too loud, they don’t like it when you use your cell phone, they don’t like it when you eat too fast, and so forth. And they are very strict about it.
So you can see why people who live in different cultures at a table will sometimes break these rules. On the other hand, it is perfectly acceptable in some areas to break these rules (e.g., New York City, where restaurants are allowed to be very loud). This is why American dining etiquette is often a bit more relaxed than that of the people living in China, India, or other parts of South America. It just depends on where the person grew up.
In Europe, the rules are usually more relaxed. They are less rigid, and you can generally expect people to be a bit more liberal about what they are drinking and eating around the world. Still, there are strict rules: For example, in Italy people generally aren’t supposed to eat too much of one type of food, such as pasta. If you do happen to break one of these rules, you will, in most cases, be in serious trouble with your waiter.
There are, however, a few countries where dining isn’t always a family affair. When you go out to eat around the world, you will meet people from all over the world. You may be able to talk to them in their own language. You might also encounter people with absolutely no English skills whatsoever. It can be difficult to determine how good of a translator you are, especially if you only speak English in certain countries.
In other words, no matter how many friends you bring to a dinner party, it’s still considered rude to have more than two people at a meal. If you want to learn some interesting new dining etiquette from around the world, this is one of the best ways to do it. You’ll meet people who have completely different ways of thinking and reacting. You’ll get to travel to countries that you’ve never been to, which is almost always a unique experience. Most importantly, though, you’ll become exposed to a cuisine that is not common throughout your country.
If you’re interested in learning more about the rules of etiquette that surround the world, all you have to do is start reading books about it. You can find books written by professionals or those made by amateurs, that will teach you the basics. There are classes you can take as well if you want to brush up on your skills or expand your knowledge. No matter what your reason for wanting to learn more about the rules of dining from around the world, it can all be accomplished through reading a good book.