Travelling internationally can be stressful, and there are many things that can be overlooked while you’re preparing to head out of the country. One of those things is international dining etiquette — you likely don’t even think about the rules that govern your table manners while in your home country, but you’re much more likely to commit a faux pas while abroad. Luckily Budget Travel has made a list of things you might not know about eating in a foreign country. Make note of these international dining etiquette rules to avoid feeling foolish on your next vacation or business trip!

  • When eating in China, don’t flip your fish over. It’s considered bad luck, both for the diner and the fisherman who caught the fish. Some people believe that flipping the fish means that the fisherman’s boat will overturn! Either ignore the bottom half of your fish or pull off the bone to eat the remainder.
  • In Russia, always accept vodka when it’s offered. Turning down a drink is one of the rudest things you can do according to Russian culture. The offer is meant as a sign of trust and friendship, so not accepting the drink is the same as rejecting a person friendship flat out.
  • Avoid leaving your chopsticks sticking upright in your rice while dining in Japan. This is part of a funeral practice, so it is considered bad luck to do it during a meal. If you have been provided with a chopsticks rest, use it, but if not simply rest them on the side of your plate, parallel to the table.
  • Tacos should never be eaten with a fork and knife in Mexico. As the Budget Travel article says, “Mexicans think eating tacos with a fork and knife looks silly and, worse, snobby — kind of like eating a burger with silverware.” Don’t worry about getting grease or salsa on your shirt — it’s better than looking like a silly, snobby tourist!

What rules of international dining etiquette do you find most surprising? Share below!

Featured photo credit: Trey Ratcliff via flickr.com

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