Asian Dining Etiquette, Part 3

Asian Dining Etiquette, Part 3

Here are some more rules of Asian dining etiquette to learn as you leave South Korea, India, and Thailand behind. The last stretch of your journey brings you to Cambodia and Myanmar.

Your trip across Asia is almost over. Here are some more rules to learn as you leave South Korea, India, and Thailand behind. The last stretch of your journey brings you to Cambodia and Myanmar. So what should you keep in mind when you are there? Let’s find out.

In Cambodia

You might think that Cambodia’s food and dining etiquette is similar to its neighbors, Thailand and Laos, but it’s actually pretty different. When you sit down to a meal, any meal, declare your excitement and eagerness to have this food. Although you can also express your anticipation by sampling a little bit of what is prepared, don’t get carried away. Again, as in much of Asia, you must respect the rules of seniority. Whoever the oldest person in your group is, they will lead the way. They’ll be the first one to sit down, and the first one to start eating.

Although you will see forks, spoons, and chopsticks, you won’t find any knives. As in Thailand, the fork isn’t for eating. At least, not directly. Instead, the fork should be used to put food on your spoon or between your chopsticks. Once you know what to do with your utensils, don’t be surprised to see more food on your table than you thought you had ordered. You are free to eat whatever you like, and you don’t have to eat the extra dishes if you don’t want to; just be prepared to pay extra if you sample the other dishes. In many other countries around the world, tipping is generally frowned on. However, in Cambodia, you shouldn’t hesitate. Tip whatever you would like once the bill is covered. You’ll find that your servers will be grateful, but they don’t expect any tips at all.

In Myanmar

Once upon a time, Myanmar was called Burma. But it’s the last stop on your culinary tour of Asia. The rules of Asian dining etiquette are also a bit different here. You’ll sit at a table that is different than you might expect, it’s a roundish table, yes, but it’s also low to the ground. If you’re in a restaurant, you’ll find the utensils you’d normally see elsewhere. If you’re visiting someone in their home, however, this might not necessarily be the case. If there are no utensils present, it’s a sign you should use your hands. Only use your right hand, and all of your fingers, but don’t make too much of a mess. All of the food will arrive at the table at once, so take your time when eating your way through them.

In Myanmar, the food is the point of a meal. You won’t have to worry about conversing during your meal if you don’t want to. If you’re feeling a little bit sick, you’ll need to excuse yourself from the table and wash your hands before you come back. Once you’re done eating, rewash your hands. Tipping isn’t a common part of Asian dining etiquette, but as in Cambodia, you can choose whether or not you would like to tip.

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