Put pineapple slices on a pizza? Like many eating habits around the world, this strange practice can be considered an unforgivable error, even potentially illegal (as in Iceland) . Although you can certainly find people in Italy who don’t mind a little exotic touch on their pizza , this choice upsets an unspoken rule of culinary traditions in Italy, which is that fruit has no place. on the pizza (yes, technically the tomato is a fruit, but don’t play on words!).
In principle, pizza in Italy should be kept simple, but that’s another story. This all makes relatively sense, but many countries have extremely specific food rules that may seem bizarre from an outside perspective.
It was during an informal conversation on Slack that dozens of colleagues who work at Babbel listed the most unusual eating habits: those that marked them in their country of origin, or during their travels. Below are the best examples we’ve collected from this collective work, along with a few other well-known rules that come to mind.
These unusual eating habits in the world:
- In Italy, you don’t drink cappuccino after 11 a.m. The most compelling theory on this is that drinking milk late in the day is not very good for your health. Lactose malabsorption gets worse as the day progresses. After breakfast time, milk is digested less well.
- Also in Italy, sprinkling cheese on seafood is considered sacrilege.
- In Germany, Weißwurst (a Bavarian white sausage specialty) is reserved for breakfast – or, more precisely, it must be eaten before noon. This rule would come from a time when refrigerators did not exist, and since the sausage must be cooked and not fried, it perishes more quickly. And you have to peel the skin. And you can only enjoy it with sweet mustard. As you can see, Weißwurst is no joke !
- Still in Germany, we don’t drink beer before 4 p.m. , unless it’s to accompany your Weißwurst with a Weißbier ! This may have something to do with the saying Kein Bier vor vier! (“No beer before four o’clock!”) rhymes in German, or not.
- A slice of New York style pizza – whether you eat it in New York or not – must be folded and eaten with your hands. This rule hasn’t stopped some famous New Yorkers (such as former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio ) from being caught eating pizza with a fork and knife. Alas! The public never really forgave them for this affront.
- In Spain, you don’t put anything else on your bread except cold cuts, cheese or the tortilla that is already there. No mayo, butter or mustard, please. The only exception is pan tomaca in Catalonia.
- Also in Spain, charcuterie should be eaten as is, without any additional sauce. In the words of one of our colleagues, “That’s not what the poor pig gave his life for. »
- In France, we don’t laugh with the way we cut cheese. The proof in video :
- In Egypt and Portugal, adding salt to your food is indelicacy, because it implies that the cook has messed up his dish.
- In Mexico, don’t eat watermelon at night if you want to avoid stomach aches. On the other hand, you can eat as many tacos as you want, no problem. In fact, the general idea in Latin America is that fruit should be avoided in the evening.
- In Brazil, some believe that you should not mix mango and milk, because it can cause health problems. This is a myth that could date back to the days of slavery in the country. At that time, the slave owners had spread this rumor to prevent the slaves (who ate the mangoes which were found everywhere in abundance) from drinking their expensive milk.
- In Brazil too, rice and beans are the subject of great controversy. Specifically, no one agrees on the layering order of rice and beans on the plate. In a region of Brazil, they put the rice on the beans (and not the beans on the rice like everyone else) and this is the reason why the inhabitants of this region are considered strange.
- Another Brazilian controversy: every year, starting in November, the battle between supporters of “Rice with raisins” and those of “No raisins with rice” rages on. Debates about how the Brazilian specialty of Christmas Rice should be cooked are taking over social media.
- In many East Asian countries, such as Korea, Japan, China, and Vietnam, you should never let your chopsticks protrude vertically from a bowl of rice. It is believed to bring bad luck, as it resembles the offerings made to the dead at funerals.
- Good Korean eating habits call for the oldest person at the table to start eating first. Until she does, no one else is allowed to hit the plate.
- It may seem counter-intuitive to anyone who grew up in a culture where not finishing your plate is wasteful or a lack of manners, but in China it’s the complete opposite. Not finishing your plate shows your host that you ate well and that you enjoyed the meal.
- If you ever order a whole fish from China, don’t turn it over to access the flesh on the other side. It is considered unlucky because the gesture is reminiscent of a capsizing boat, or perhaps because it symbolizes becoming a traitor by turning one’s back on someone.
- In Japan, noodles are made to be “sipped” while making noise. It’s as much a sign of respect (or a sign that you’re enjoying your meal) as it is a convenient way to enjoy a hot meal without waiting for it to get cold.
- It may surprise you, but in Japan it’s frowned upon to mix wasabi with soy sauce when eating sushi. The wasabi is supposed to go directly on the fish.