Table manners – The Outsider’s View

October 22, 2007 at 10:23 pm Leave a comment

Over the weekend I dined with some of my Finnish family members at a Korean restaurant, and got a good reminder of the difference in table manners between different cultures.

The family members I dined with haven’t traveled very much and come from rural Finland, so a Korean restaurant in Asia was a very new experience for them. The restaurant was one of those cook-it-yourself types, where there is a BBQ in the middle of the table and everyone cooks their own food. Some of my family members were very reserved and tried to eat in a very neat manner. Where as I, already eating like the locals, and the rest of restaurant were mostly concerned with getting food into our mouths and not worrying if we spilled some of the food on to our table.

I was amused by this huge difference in culture, and then, by coincidence, I heard a radio show about Finnish eating habits. It explained how, at least in the past, table manners were very important and that the food that we ate had to be respected. So strict table manners were a way of respecting the food. This need to respect the food was due to the harsh living conditions of the past.

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Entry filed under: Cultural Reflection, Food - Others, kari.

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