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Dining Etiquette in Singapore

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Saurheledion
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Dining Etiquette in Singapore

Postby Saurheledion » Mon, 11 Jul 2011 11:52 am

Hey, so I'll be moving to Singapore here shortly to study and I'm really looking forward to sampling all the delicious food to be found all over the island. I'm American, and I'm afraid I'm not just familiar with the dining etiquette of the varied cultures that comprise Singaporean society, I was hoping that I can burden you all for wisdom.

When at a Hawker centre, is slurping noodles acceptable? Am I allowed to lift the bowl and drink the broth or do I use a soup spoon? Is shoveling rice in my mouth unacceptable behavior? When I encounter dish with meat bone-in, how do I go about eating it? Can i pick it up with my fingers and work the meat from the bones, or do I use the chopsticks to place the whole piece in my mouth and remov the meat with my mouth closed?

Any other dishes or situations or details that come to mind I would be delighted to hear. What about restaurants, or if I'm invited to someone's home?

I'm sorry if my questions are completely off-base or ignorant. I'm really worried that I'll make a fool of myself or make others uncomfortable. Thanks so much for your time.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 11 Jul 2011 12:21 pm

In a country where the locals in fine restaurants (don't even talk about hawker centers!) spit out their bones/shells/whatever on the tablecloth, there is no such thing as dining etiquette here. Slurping of noodles, hawking up of phlegm, and myriad other noises are normal. Virtually any means of getting the food from the plate to your mouth is acceptable. In fact, most of the locals would be better off eating from a trough listening to the noises that emanate from their tables. Watching them eat is like staring continuously at an open garbage disposal as very few learned to close their mouths when eating.

Don't worry about it. Westerners use a knife, fork & spoon, but some like to use their forks upside down. :? Chinese use chopsticks, Malays use fork & spoon, Indians use their fingers. So, just come as you are and probably nobody will ever notice how you eat.

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Postby eyah » Wed, 07 Sep 2011 3:10 pm

Usually I used spoon and fork or chopsticks in eating, like in my favorite dish which is Chicken Rice, I used spoon, and I really love eating this dish with chili powder on top. you must try it.

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ecureilx
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Postby ecureilx » Wed, 07 Sep 2011 3:33 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Don't worry about it. Westerners use a knife, fork & spoon, but some like to use their forks upside down. :? Chinese use chopsticks, Malays use fork & spoon, Indians use their fingers. So, just come as you are and probably nobody will ever notice how you eat.


Ah come on :D :D

Knife in a hawker center ?? :D :D Not many hawker centers carry knife ..

Well, the spoon+fork combination is good for everything, from Prata, to chicken Chop, to Fish and chips to ..

And SMS is right .. unless you are "DINING" out in proper restaurants, anything goes .. except, that, most malays I know, are quite comfy using their hands ..

BTW, a silly story I heard, from an expat friend .. she insisted on using a fork and knife for Pizza in Pizza hut and was upset that I was munching pizza minus the cutlery .. when I said why not use the hand she was aghast .. and went "in my country, Pizza hut is proper dining place, so it is expected to use a fork and knife .. "

And the other silly comment I heard from a friend, who saw us picking chicken wings with our hand .. in a hawker center .. and when the crab came, he was about to grab himself a piece of the crab using his hand .. I stopped him and he was like "you guys are mental, it is ok to pick chicken wing and fries with your hand, but not crab ?? "

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Postby nakatago » Wed, 07 Sep 2011 3:42 pm

ecureilx wrote:Knife in a hawker center ?? :D :D Not many hawker centers carry knife ..


Well, the hawker centers that have stalls that sell steaks :D

ecureilx wrote:Well, the spoon+fork combination is good for everything, from Prata, to chicken Chop, to Fish and chips to ..

BTW, a silly story I heard, from an expat friend .. she insisted on using a fork and knife for Pizza in Pizza hut and was upset that I was munching pizza minus the cutlery .. when I said why not use the hand she was aghast .. and went "in my country, Pizza hut is proper dining place, so it is expected to use a fork and knife .. "


New Yorkers would be aghast. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-june-1-2011/me-lover-s-pizza-with-crazy-broad

but I have to admit, I sometimes use a knife and fork if the pizza's too hot or I'm too lazy to wash my hands and the knife and fork are already there.
:P

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Postby sundaymadness » Wed, 14 Sep 2011 1:30 pm

haha i was amused by the title of this thread. you mean there're dining etiquettes in singapore?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 14 Sep 2011 1:54 pm

Most of the hawker stalls in Singapore have western food outlets (that serve not only knives but serrated ones for cutting steaks. Lava Rock, Botok Jones, only to name a few......

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Postby Eibow » Mon, 07 Nov 2011 11:03 pm

Eat how you please, just be sure to throw down a half-used pack of tissue paper to save your seat for however long you deem necessary... Especially if it's crowded, you don't want someone who got their food before you to steal "your" spot!!!

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Postby nburge » Tue, 08 Nov 2011 6:03 pm

Eibow wrote:Eat how you please, just be sure to throw down a half-used pack of tissue paper to save your seat for however long you deem necessary... Especially if it's crowded, you don't want someone who got their food before you to steal "your" spot!!!


This.

I often eat in hawker centres on the way home from training, and I don't even bother looking at what other people are up to. Just shovel the food into your mouth as quickly as possible and move on.

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Postby richie303 » Thu, 10 Nov 2011 1:18 pm

I think it's important as SMS so rightly said, to slurp, slosh and swallow, no need for manners here unless you are in polite company.

If you are in polite company then it's generally westerners and they all eat the same as you do! Except the British who use their fork the right way up and in the correct hand! ;)
Richie - East Coast Superbabe...

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Postby ndee25 » Tue, 13 Dec 2011 11:16 pm

Just chill when you eat dude, especially when you eat at little local restaurants around Little India (so good though!)

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Postby BigSis » Sat, 17 Dec 2011 11:45 pm

I got given a packet of tissues as a freebie recently and printed on the front was 'RESERVED'............for when you save your seat at the hawker LOL

The only thing I've ever heard about anything that might be frowned upon is sticking your chopsticks upright out of the bowl - you're supposed to lay them flat across the top apparently.

But apart from that, you're actually in the minority if you chew nicely with your mouth closed :wink:


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