Mind your table manners
Just like the food, the style of eating also differs from country to country. In today’s world one can find restaurants serving cuisines from different countries in their own town. One has to be aware of the different dining etiquette to enjoy the cuisine in the most authentic way.
Dining with Chinese
• The person of most importance will usually take the seat the farthest away from the door while the youngest or the person of the least importance will take the seat closest to the door.
• An even number of dishes should be ordered. Odd numbers of dishes would be appropriate only for the meal after a funeral.
• The best dish should be put in front of the most important person in order to show your respect. The big bowl of soup should be placed in the middle.
• If you are the guest, remember not to leave too much food behind because it would mean that you don’t like the food.
• It is impolite to pour your own drink when eating with others. You pour your companion’s drink and vice versa.
• If you don’t want any more to drink, leave your glass full.
• When sharing a dish, put what you take on your own plate before eating it.
• Don’t use your chopsticks to point at somebody.
• It is normal to pick up your rice or soup bowl and hold it under your chin to keep stuff from falling.
• Be aware that it is normal to make slurping sounds when you’re eating noodles.
• Arrive 30 minutes late in most. Arriving on time or early is considered inappropriate.
• Do not sit down until you are invited to and told where to sit.
• Do not begin eating until the hostess starts.
• Only men give toasts.
• It is polite to leave some food on your plate after a meal.
With the Italians
• Keep elbows close to the body so as not to disturb those sitting on either side.
• Keep both hands visible on the table and not resting on your lap. In times past this was necessary to show that the person was not holding a weapon under the table!
• When you are finished eating, the knife and fork are placed on the plate together, diagonally across the plate.
• If you have been invited to dinner, never arrive late. Chances are the hostess is preparing a first course risotto or pasta and neither one can wait to be eaten.
• You should arrive with a gift - a bottle of excellent wine or flowers.
• Take your time while eating; enjoy the conversation and the laughter and the sense of community.
• Make sure to take only small portions of each dish so there’s enough to go around.
• Finish everything on your plate; it lets the host know you enjoyed the meal.
• Let the senior ladies of the group do the ordering.
• Wait for the host to invite you to dig in.
• Serve yourself but only what you can eat in two or three mouthfuls.
• Don’t order one dish that you intend to eat by yourself. Thai meals are always shared. — Compiled