Friday, March 16, 2012

Budget Travel: Foreign Food Etiquette

Boy, has it been a long time since we've had a travel-related post around here. I know, I know - everyone comes for the cookies and bacon, but this is The Traveling Spoon, after all.

Writing about travel was simple when we'd just moved back from Germany, or when we were hiking across the American West, but it's a little trickier now that the furthest I typically get from home is the hour drive to Nashville. That makes me doubly grateful for (and jealous of) the stories in my Budget Travel magazines.

It's okay to drink and walk in Poland......if you're a giant beer mascot

I'm so lonesome for the road that I've signed up for their e-mails, too. Last week's edition delivered a little gem about the 15 International Food Etiquette Rules That Might Surprise You. A few were well-known to me ("Don't eat with your left hand in the Middle East," "Never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice," etc.) while others were a complete surprise (You really shouldn't use your hands to eat anything in Chile? And, after spending all my youth in the UK, I'd never heard the one about the Bishop of Norwich).

Cream tea in Cambridge, England

Although I won't share the full article here, I recommend reading it. It's useful information for any frequent or wanna-be-frequent traveler. It's also useful for bringing back foreign food memories. Thankfully, I don't have many faux pas on my record (yet!), but I do have a lot of good food memories from the road: dining on termites in southern Africa, traveling through Istria during truffle season, sharing lavish pilgrim feasts on the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and - of course - that unforgettable meal of tilapia, plucked from the depths of Lake Victoria.

German liver dumpling soup 

After many years of travel, I've come to realize that trying new foods is one of my favorite parts of seeing the world. Food culture is something we all have in common, even if it often takes very different forms. Take a few minutes to educate yourself about foreign customs and you'll never have to worry about etiquette getting in the way of your enjoyment.

Pin It
This post has been shared at:


  1. I have lived in the UK all my life, and drunk a lot of port but never heard of passing it to the left either. Trying the food abroad is one of the best parts of travelling I think. xox

    1. Good, I'm glad it's not just me! I left the UK at 18 so admittedly, I hadn't done a whole lot of port drinking but I thought it sounded very unfamiliar ;)

  2. You've been chosen as a proud recipient of the Liebster blog award! For the rules and more details go to!

    Sarah @ All Things Blogs XOXO

    1. Thank you so much for this honor! I'm excited! I plan on doing my Liebster post very soon :)