Dining Etiquette in Indonesia – Habits

Dining in several country has already switch functioned into a completion event in a celebrations or meetings. Recently, dining is more than consuming some foods and culinary experience. From a dinning, people could build their business relationship or even reunite with their old friends.

 However, Indonesia has the different characteristic in dinning. While the western countries start to change the function of dinning, Indonesia keeps maintaining their dining traditions and etiquette (due to a lot of moslems) as the value of Indonesian culture. That is why in this session we would like to enlighten Dining Etiquette in Indonesia.

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Dinning Etiquette for Utensils

You can find a lot of utensils in international standard dining etiquette, but in Indonesia there are not many utensils are used. Some of them don’t use any utensil at all for dinning.

  1. Using fork and spoon

Indonesians normally use a spoon and fork without using any knives for dinning. When you want to cut the food, you could use the side of the spoon and move it on the fork. Hold the spoon on the right hand and the fork with your left hand. The role of the spoon is more important than fork. If you want to switch between spoon and fork, you have to put down the spoon and start using the fork.

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  1. Using no utensil at all

Some traditional cultures in Indonesia use no utensils at all for dinning. It is called ‘muluk’ in Java. They would substitute a plate with a page of banana leave or oily paper and directly use their hand to eat the food. You must not forget to wash your hands before and after dinning. You should use your right hand and let your left hand on the side. Never put your left hand on the table and use it to pick your food. Take the foods or rice with your finger, roll it into a ball between your fingers, and dip it into the sauce, and mix with vegetable or a piece of meat or chicken. After that, take all the that things into your mouth gently, and chew it slowly.

Do and Don’ts in Indonesian dining

Some of rules in Indonesian dining will be different in an international dining. You should considerate these following manners.

  1. Make sure to chew the food with the closed mouth: Don’t make any voice in chewing foods, and do it with the closed mouth. It is the sign that you honor the host.
  2. Close your mouth when coughing or sneezing: Remember to close your mouth when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t, some people will feel disgusted to you.
  3. Don’t lean on your back into the chair: Don’t put your shoulder or back to the abutment of the chair, unless you will be considered as impolite person.
  4. Don’t make any noise in sipping the soup: In some countries would suggest you to make a sound when sipping soup to consider it is a delicious soup. Meanwhile in Indonesia you should not do it because the people will be bothered of your sipping sound.
  5. Don’t use any phone when dinning: If you have a phone call when dining, you could ask for permission to the host for accepting the phone call. Then don’t forget to get out from dining table.
  6. Don’t star other people’s eyes while they are eating: When other people are eating, don’t look at their eyes, it will make the stared person feel shame and disgusted. 
  7. Never take any foods from other’s plate: Don’t take any foods from other’s plate and ask the food to others
  8. Don’t speak with the loud voice: If there is a discussion and you have to speak, make sure you have swallowed all foods on your mouth. And speak with a low volume.
  9. Don’t make any noise with the dining utensil: Make sure not to make any sound when using your fork and spoon unless you will be considered as impolite.
  10. Never inform someone that he or she has a bad dining etiquette: While eat in dining table, never mock someone who has bad etiquette in eating. Just let them eat with their ways.
  11. Face down your fork and spoon when you finish eating: Don’t forget to face down your spoon and fork as the sign you have finished to eat.
  12. Let the older person take the foods first while you have dining at home: When you have a dining with a small member of the family at a home, let the older person to take the food first.
  13. When dining in a restaurant: It will possible for you to share the seat and table with others that you haven’t known before. Don’t push the conversation and just let them eat. Act like it is your private table.

Those etiquette of dining activity are not mandatory. However, when you want to join an Indonesian dining, you should consider the manners that usually Indonesians do it. When you do some impolite action in a dining table, some people will feel reluctant to you. That is why etiquette is important in doing everything, if you want to know more other etiquette in Indonesia, you could see on Tipping Etiquette in Indonesia or Gift Giving Etiquette in Indonesia.