As you continue your adventures traveling across Asia, it’s important to know how to observe Asian dining etiquette. The tables manners abroad and the dining culture in other countries is different from our own here in the United States. Now that you know what it’s like to eat in Vietnam, China, and Japan, here’s a traveler’s guide to Asian dining etiquette in South Korea, India, and Thailand.
Asian dining etiquette in South Korea is similar to the other major countries in East Asia. For instance, if you are a guest in a local’s home, be sure to take your shoes off when you go inside. This gesture is a mark of respect that for the most part is also considered polite throughout Asia. If you are going to a restaurant with some friends, however, just be aware that other parties will be seated at the same table. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from talking to them and interacting with other people outside of your group. Don’t eat too quickly or too slowly, either.
Be mindful of how you use your chopsticks – don’t stab your food and don’t stick them into your bowl of rice and leave them standing upright. As in China and Japan, this is considered bad form and bad luck. Express how much you’ve looked forward to this meal, and if someone offers you a drink, don’t decline it. When you’re done, you can tip if you were satisfied with the service and if you were responsible for paying the bill.
India is a huge country, just like China and the US. Accordingly, you can expect eating customs and dining etiquette to vary depending on where you are in the country. Because of the lasting British influence on Indian culture, you can expect to use forks and knives when you sit down for a meal. However, in other places, you might be expected to use only your hands. In either case, you will need to wash your hands carefully. Don’t use the same utensils for a meat dish that you did in a vegetarian one a vegetarian dish, and don’t double dip.
Sharing is caring, something you’ve always learned. In Thailand, this is especially true, since you are expected to share what you’re eating. Besides, family style is quite common all over Asia, no matter where you go. Let your host guide you to where you should sit. Once it’s time to eat, don’t take more than you can finish. Doing this is considered impolite. Don’t be afraid to take your time when you eat, but don’t make noise as you do. Although you’ll have a fork, this isn’t for eating with; the fork is supposed to load food onto your spoon. When you’re done, offer to pay. If your host declines, then let them pay for the meal.
Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to serve our customers better. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, email us at LottePlaza.com.