“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Tips — International Food Etiquette

Amanda Ruggeri of Budget Travel has written 15 international food etiquette rules that might surprise you. You can find her article at http://www.budgettravel.com/feature/international-dining-etiquette-rules,8358/

Here’s a sample of Amanda’s advice.

In Thailand, don’t put food in your mouth with a fork.

Instead, when eating a dish with cooked rice, use your fork only to push food onto your spoon. A few exceptions: Some northern and northeastern Thai dishes are typically eaten with the hands — you’ll know you’ve encountered such a dish if the rice used is glutinous or “sticky.” Also, stand-alone items that are not part of a rice-based meal may be eaten with a fork.

In Japan, never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice.

Between bites, your chopsticks should be placed together right in front of you, parallel to the edge of the table — and nowhere else. If there is a chopsticks rest, you use it, putting the tips you’ve been eating with on the rest. During funerals in Japan, the rice bowl of the deceased is placed before their coffin … with their chopsticks upright in the rice.

In Mexico, never eat tacos with a fork and knife.

Worried about spilling refried beans and salsa all over your front? Tough. Mexicans think that eating tacos with a fork and knife looks silly and, worse, snobby — kind of like eating a burger with silverware. So be polite: Eat with your hands.

In Britain, always pass the port to the left — and remember the Bishop of Norwich.

It’s unclear why passing port on the left is so important; some say it has to do with naval. Regardless, passing the decanter to the right is a big gaffe. So is not passing it at all. If you’re at a meal and the decanter stalls, then ask the person with it, “Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?” If they say they don’t know him, reply, “He’s a very good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port.” It sounds weird, but it’s true.

In France, don’t eat your bread as an appetizer before the meal.

Instead, eat it as an accompaniment to your food or, especially, to the cheese course at the end of the meal. That said, one thing that would be a faux pas anywhere else — placing bread directly on the table and not on a plate — is perfectly acceptable in France. In fact, it’s preferred.

Never mix — or turn down — vodka in Russia.

The beverage is always drunk neat — and no, not even with ice. Adding anything is seen as polluting the drink’s purity (unless the mixer is beer, which produces a formidable beverage known as yorsh). But there’s another faux pas that’s even worse, says Allen: when you’re offered the drink and you turn it down. Since offering someone a drink is a sign of trust and friendship, it’s a good idea to take it. Even if it is 9 a.m.