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Cultural Etiquette Around the World

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  • In China, don't leave behind a clean plate.
    True - leaving a little bit of food on your plate is a sign that you're full and that you've been provided with more than enough food.
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  • Never toast with beer if you're in Hungary.
    True - Hungarians may interpret that as the worst discourtesy.
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  • If you drop bread on the ground in Afghanistan, you should never pick it up.
    False - After picking up the bread, you should kiss the bread and put it to your forehead, before putting the bread back somewhere other than the floor.
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  • In Russia, you shouldn't be mixing the vodka with anything else.
    True.
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  • In Russia, it's ok to turn down another drink.
    False - Offering a drink is a sign of trust and friendship, so if you reject it, you are basically saying "I'm not interested in being your friend."
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  • In Chile, you shouldn't use your hands to eat — not even if it's French fries!
    True.
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  • In Thailand, it is unusual to eat from your fork.
    True - Rather, you should use the fork to push food onto your spoon.
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  • Don't ask for the salt or pepper in Portugal.
    True - In Portugal, asking for the salt or pepper is considered offensive to the chef.
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  • In Korea, if they offer you a plate, never accept it with both hands.
    False - you should always accept ot with both hands. Make sure to hold the food firmly and with both hands, because it shows respect and gratitude.
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  • If you're dining in Korea, don't eat until the elder person in your party begins eating.
    True.
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  • In Japan, tipping is frowned upon.
    True.
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  • In Italy, it's ok to order a cappuccino, mocaccino or black coffee after dinner.
    False - The only acceptable drink to order is an espresso, because Italians see coffee as a digestive and not as a dessert.
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  • In Italy, you shouldn't add parmesan cheese, ketchup, or hot sauce to your pizza.
    True.
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  • In France, you should eat your bread before the rest of the food arrives.
    False - you shouldn't.
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  • In Egypt, there is a specific protocol to serving drinks.
    True. You cannot refill your own glass. You have to wait someone else to do that for you.
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  • In India, you should always eat with your left hand.
    False.
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