Being sensitive to the traditions and customs of other nations and accepting the corporate dining etiquette of foreign cultures is key when it comes to building global business relationships.
Dining out and sampling the foods of other countries is always exciting but as an article from the Economic Times explains, many a times, “Business persons have horror stories to share about the foods they were offered when dining overseas.”
Here are some of the most common examples:
Snake soup: Taiwanese dish, accompanied with a shot glass of snake’s blood
Sannakji: Chewy Korean dish of squirmy whole octopus (freshly killed) with sticky tentacles
Tarantulas: Fried spiders consumed as munchies in Cambodia
Tuna eyeball: A delicacy in Japan and China
Balut: Boiled fertilised duck embryo, a specialty from Philippines
Maggot Cheese: Pungent Sardinian cheese which uses fly larvae’s digestive action to ferment sheep’s milk
Insects: Fried crickets, spiders, scorpions and worms are sold as protein snacks by street vendors in Thailand.
Pork Chitterlings: This strong-smelling dish from Europe/Latin America/USA is cleaned pigs’ intestines soaked in Lye Haggis: Scottish savory pudding, made of minced heart, liver and lungs of a sheep
Fugu: Japanese poisonous puffer-fish
As a non-vegetarian, what should you do when offered meats you’ve never eaten before?
For starters, it may be a good idea to try them – who knows; you might like it and carry an interesting story back home!
If you aren’t adventurous enough, politely refuse without offering reasons for doing so. Never look at a food item in a foreign land and in a shocked voice utter ‘you eat this?’
If you’re a vegetarian, inform your hosts when they extend the invitation – don’t wait until you are seated in the restaurant. Unlike India, where vegetarian options are plentiful, most nations don’t interpret vegetarianism as strictly as we do – you may be offered eggs, fish or even sea food!
It’s essential to respect the corporate dining etiquette of other cultures, without compromising on your own beliefs and being pulled into something you are extremely uncomfortable doing.
How has your corporate dining experience been when travelling for business? I’d love to hear from you! Please share your comments below…
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