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What country is it rude to eat with your hands?

Have you ever been judged for eating with your hands while traveling abroad? In certain countries, using utensils at the dining table is a crucial sign of respect. It may surprise you to learn that cultural norms may vary significantly. It is a well-known fact that table etiquette varies from country to country. What you might find acceptable in one nation is regarded as a gross display of disrespect in another. Read on to discover which country finds it impolite to eat with your hands.

Subheading 1: India

In India, eating with your hands is common and acceptable in many parts of the country, but it is considered rude to use your left hand to eat. This is because the left hand is traditionally used for cleaning oneself after using the bathroom. So, if you’re eating with your hands, make sure you only use your right hand.

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Subheading 2: Japan

In Japan, it’s considered rude to eat with your hands, unless you’re eating sushi or other finger foods. However, you should never use chopsticks to transfer food from your mouth to someone else’s plate, as this is seen as unclean.

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Subheading 3: Ethiopia

In Ethiopian culture, eating with your hands is the norm, but it’s important to only use your right hand. Ethiopians believe that they should be clean and avoid touching their food with dirty hands.

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Subheading 4: Thailand

In Thailand, it’s considered rude to use a fork and spoon when eating noodles or rice. Instead, it’s expected that you use a fork and spoon for the curries, but you can use your hands to eat some food, such as fruit and other finger foods.

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Subheading 5: Mexico

In Mexico, it’s considered impolite to eat with your hands, especially in formal settings. Tacos and other finger foods are the only exception. When eating tacos, it’s customary to wrap the food in your tortilla and eat it with your hands.

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Subheading 6: Morocco

In Morocco, it’s considered impolite to eat with your left hand, as it’s believed to be unclean. When eating couscous and other dishes, it’s expected that you use your right hand or utensils.

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Subheading 7: China

In China, it’s generally not acceptable to eat with your hands, except when you’re eating certain foods such as a hamburger or hot dog. Most Chinese dishes require the use of chopsticks, which can take some getting used to for those who aren’t familiar with them.

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Subheading 8: Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, food is typically eaten with the right hand only. This is because the left hand is used for personal hygiene. It’s also polite to only take a small amount of food at a time, so as not to appear greedy.

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Subheading 9: France

In France, it’s considered rude to eat with your hands, except when eating finger foods such as cheese or fruit. It’s common to use utensils when eating most meals, and it’s also polite to have good table manners, such as not talking with your mouth full.

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Subheading 10: United States

In the United States, it’s generally acceptable to eat with your hands, especially when it comes to fast food, sandwiches, and other finger foods. However, in formal settings, it’s typically expected that you use utensils, and it’s also important to have good table manners.

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Which Countries Is It Considered Rude to Eat with Your Hands?

When traveling around the world, it’s crucial to be aware of different cultures’ dining etiquettes to avoid offending locals unintentionally. Depending on the country you visit, eating with your hands could be perceived as disrespectful, and in some countries, it’s considered an absolute no-no. In this section, we’ll explore some of the countries where eating with your hands is rude and frowned upon.

Japan Etiquette


Japan is one of the countries where eating with your hands is considered impolite, mainly when eating sushi or any other form of food that requires chopsticks. Japanese people regard chopsticks as the proper utensils to eat with, and using your hands or other utensils is considered disrespectful. When eating sushi, always use chopsticks to pick it up and dip it in soy sauce, never with your hands. Japanese culture is known for its politeness and etiquettes, and respecting their table manners is essential when visiting the country.

Table Settings in India


In India, it’s considered rude to eat with your hands, mainly when attending formal events. However, eating with your hands is acceptable in some parts of India, and it’s even considered part of the culture. Generally, the right hand is used for eating, and the left hand is used for personal hygiene. Indians believe that eating with your hands provides a sensory connection with the food, and it’s considered a natural way of eating. However, if you’re not comfortable with eating with your hands, it’s always acceptable to use utensils.

Saudi Etiquette

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, it’s considered impolite to eat with your left hand as it’s considered unclean. It’s a custom in the country to eat with your right hand and use a piece of bread or other utensils if necessary. Eating with your hands in a public place is not acceptable, and it’s always recommended to use utensils to avoid offending locals unintentionally. When dining at local restaurants, you’ll always notice that utensils are available, and it’s best to use them to respect local customs.

Ethiopia Eating Etiquette


In Ethiopia, it’s customary to eat with your hands, and it’s even considered a sign of respect and hospitality. Ethiopians use a large piece of sourdough bread called injera to scoop up the food, and it’s essential to use only the right hand for eating. It’s considered rude to use the left hand, even for personal hygiene, and it’s always best to ask locals for clarification on specific dining etiquettes.

Thailand Etiquette


In Thailand, it’s customary to eat with a spoon and fork, and using chopsticks or your hands is considered rude. A spoon is used for scooping up the food, while a fork is used for pushing the food onto the spoon. Thais believe that eating in silence is best as it shows respect for the food and dining companions. Also, serving yourself isn’t encouraged in Thailand, and it’s always expected for the host to offer the food to guests.

Other Countries

While there are many other countries worldwide where eating with your hands is frowned upon, including some parts of the Middle East, most African and Asian countries, and some European countries, it’s always essential to research the specific dining etiquettes before visiting a new country. In some countries, it’s acceptable to eat with your hands, while in others, it could be perceived as disrespectful. Therefore, it’s always best to be respectful of local customs and make efforts to adapt to different cultures when traveling.

In conclusion, different countries have different dining etiquettes, and understanding these customs could avoid unintended offensive behavior. It’s always best to research the specific dining etiquettes in advance and show respect for local customs when visiting new countries. Eat with your hands or utensils, be polite and respectful, and enjoy your meal!

Which countries consider eating with hands as disrespectful?

While eating with hands is widely accepted in some countries as a traditional way of enjoying food, other countries have their own dining etiquette. Here are five countries where eating with hands is considered disrespectful:


Japanese dining etiquette

Japan is a country that places a lot of importance on proper etiquette and manners in social settings. This is especially true when it comes to dining. In Japan, it is considered disrespectful to eat with your hands, as utensils are used to eat most traditional dishes. Chopsticks are commonly used to eat noodles, sushi, and rice dishes.


Thai dining etiquette

In Thailand, it is customary to eat with a fork and spoon, and sometimes chopsticks. Eating with hands is considered unclean, especially in formal settings. This rule applies to both locals and tourists, so it’s best to follow the local norms.

South Korea

Korean dining etiquette

South Korea is a country that takes pride in its dining culture, which is why it places a lot of emphasis on table manners. Koreans use chopsticks and a spoon to eat most dishes, including rice. Eating with your hands is considered disrespectful, even if you’re eating something that is traditionally eaten by hands, like fried chicken.


Indian dining etiquette

In India, the dining culture varies from region to region, but one thing remains constant: eating with hands is common. However, it’s not acceptable to eat with your left hand, as it is traditionally associated with bathroom-related activities. Indians usually use their right hand to eat dishes like rice, roti, and dal.

Middle Eastern countries

Middle Eastern dining etiquette

Many Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Egypt have a strict dining etiquette that revolves around using utensils like spoons, knives, and forks. While eating with hands is permitted in some situations, it’s not considered acceptable in formal settings. The exception is when eating foods like falafel, which are traditionally eaten by hand.

Country Customary Utensils Unacceptable Manners
Japan Chopsticks, spoon, fork Eating with fingers
Thailand Fork and spoon, chopsticks Eating with fingers in formal settings
South Korea Chopsticks, spoon Eating with fingers
India Right hand, spoon, fork Eating with left hand
Middle Eastern countries Spoons, knives, forks Eating with fingers in formal settings

In conclusion, eating with hands is not universally accepted, and it’s essential to understand the dining etiquette of the country you’re visiting. By respecting the local norms and customs, you’ll show your appreciation for the country’s culture and traditions.

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Conclusion: Mind Your Manners When Eating Around the World

Thanks for reading about the different cultures and customs when it comes to eating! It’s important to respect the traditions of the countries we visit and know what is considered acceptable behavior. While some countries allow and even encourage eating with your hands, others may find it impolite. Remember to always do your research beforehand and embrace the different culinary experiences that await you. Make sure to visit our website again for more interesting insights on travel and cultural etiquette!

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