Asian nations have rich histories of eating etiquette that most Americans are oblivious to, as we're all too busy reading World Books about how General Tso made that delicious chicken he totally invented.
To help guide you through the confusing world of Eastern cuisines, we asked all sorts of experts to share the most commonly seen Asian restaurant faux pas. And for those so clueless they also don't know how to act in steakhouses or pizza places, we've got more unforgivable food no-nos right here.
Sticking your chopsticks straight up in a bowl of noodles or rice is taboo in most every country in Asia -- it symbolizes either death/stabbing in China, and piercing one's soul in Japan (via Nguyen Tran, Starry Kitchen).
Chopsticks are for noodle dishes only. Eating a Thai curry with chopsticks is just too logistically complicated. (via Austin Bush)
Never tap your bowl with chopsticks -- it's how the homeless ask for food.
When eating dim sum, if someone pours you tea, always tap three fingers on the table as a sign of gratitude.
Don't pour soy sauce on fried rice, because it's already been seasoned.
It's considered rude to take food from a shared dish and put it immediately in your mouth.
When eating a whole fish, don't flip it over, as that symbolizes the capsizing of a boat. (via Jimmy Lee, Mikado)
When eating family-style and without a serving utensil, pick up food with the opposite end of your chopsticks; otherwise, you're essentially double-dipping. (via Nguyen Tran, Starry Kitchen)
Don't slurp pho.
When eating pho, use the chopsticks to move your noodles into the soup spoon, then eat out of the spoon. (via Shion Aikawa, Ramen Tatsu-Ya)
The minute food hits the table, you should start eating, rather than waiting for everyone's food to arrive. It's considered rude to let it get cold. (via Nguyen Tran, Starry Kitchen)
Show respect to the person who spent hours brewing the broth and don't squirt Sriracha or hoisin sauce into pho. It's like putting ketchup in chicken noodle soup. (via Andrea Nguyen, Viet World Kitchen)
Don't lift your bowl off the table and eat with the bowl in your hand.
Don't ever blow your nose during a meal, even if it's running like crazy.
Don't ever receive a dish or glass with one hand; always use two or put your left hand under the wrist of the right. (via Beyond Kimchee)
Never pour your own sake.
Don't put wasabi on nigiri, as there is already some between the fish and rice.
Don't dip nigiri into soy sauce rice-side-down because it will compromise the structural integrity. (via Jimmy Lee, Mikado)
Ramen has been specifically crafted by the chef as a complete item -- don't customize it. (via Shion Aikawa, Ramen Tatsu-Ya)