When Dining Around the World…

dining abroad

When you’re on vacation, one of the most exciting things to do is taste the local cuisine. However, if you’re in an unfamiliar country, you may not know the traditional dining etiquette or how much to tip (or even if you should tip at all). Our EWR Airport parking members are here to help:


If you’re in Mexico and are invited to a dinner party, don’t immediately sit down at the table. Wait until someone tells you where to sit. Also, don’t start eating until the host starts eating.

If you dine out at a restaurant, it’s common for a server to not bring you your check until you ask for it.

In Mexico, lunch (not dinner) is the largest meal of the day. It’s usually served late in the afternoon and takes the longest to eat.

Common tip amount at restaurants: 15%


If you eat meat while you’re in Europe, cut it once piece at a time. Cutting it all at once is rude in European culture.

In many European countries, salad is served at the end of the meal instead of at the beginning.

Hold your knife in your right hand and your fork in your left hand. While you eat, use your knife to push the food you cut onto your fork.

Common tip amount at restaurants: 5%-10%


In many Asian countries, chopsticks are a common utensil used for eating. If you have trouble using them, try holding your bowl underneath your mouth to catch any food you may drop. Also, if you have trouble using them as a fork, use them like a spoon and scoop your food.

To avoid back luck, never stand your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice.

If you’re in Asia and are invited to a dinner party, bring a small gift from your home country to give to the host.

Common tip amount at restaurants: None

South America

If you’d like to order an alcoholic drink in South America, wait to see if your host orders one. If so, order the same thing.

If you’re out to dinner and someone asks you to “pass” something, don’t give it to them directly. Instead, place it on the table beside them.

Keep both of your hands visible at all times while you eat. Also, if you compliment the food, it usually means that you’d like more.

Common tip amount at restaurants: 10%


The Australian dining etiquette is very similar to North American dining etiquette:

Drinks are usually served before dinner, Australians eat three meals a day, and it’s considered rude if you don’t offer the last piece of food on a common plate before eating it.

If you’re in Australia and are invited to a barbeque, you may be asked to “bring a plate.” This means you should bring a plate of food to share with the other guests.

Common tip amount at restaurants: 10%-15%