Brazilian Dining Etiquette

As with any country, Brazil has its own customs and rules of etiquette when dining. While some of the etiquette is similar or the same to what we are used to in the US, there are important differences you should know before your trip. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Never with a full mouth. This is an important one, as it’s considered extremely rude.
  • Never place your elbows on the table, and always make sure to keep your hands above the table and within sight. It’s considered rude to have your hands out of sight.
  • A common and polite phrase to use at the beginning of the meal is “bom apetite”.
  • The knife is always held in the right hand, and the fork in the left hand.
  • Food is rarely, if ever, eaten with the hands as it is considered unsanitary. Even if you are eating a pizza, sandwich, French fries, or other typical finger foods, always use your utensils. If you must eat with your hands, wrap your food in a napkin and do not allow it to touch your hands.
  • Never cut food with a fork.
  • Always rest utensils on the plate when they are not in use.
  • Wipe your mouth with a napkin after every sip of your drink.
  • Never drink from a bottle or can directly. It is always customary to pour into a glass first.
  • If using a toothpick at the table, hide it behind your hand or a napkin.
  • Of course, standard rules also apply to sneezing and coughing – cover your mouth. Blowing your nose is to be done away from the table.

Bom apetite!