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5 Things Never to Do When Visiting a Middle Eastern Home for Dinner

Understand the cultural nuances and etiquette rules of dining in a Middle Eastern household. This article delves into the five critical mistakes to avoid, ensuring a harmonious and memorable experience for both guest and host.

An exquisite Middle Eastern dining table setting with plates, silverware, and authentic Middle Eastern food items but devoid of people. Specifically, the image should include 5 distinct objects symbolically representing cultural faux pas during dinner. For instance: 1) Shoes casually thrown near the table; 2) a poorly wrapped gift in brightly colored paper; 3) an empty plate indicating a refusal to eat; 4) a chair pushed back, away from the table, while the meal is still ongoing; 5) a mobile phone left on the table encroaching on social space.


Welcome to the rich tapestry of Middle Eastern hospitality. As you embark on a culinary excursion, there are customs to be honored and expectations to meet. To ensure a delightful evening, here is a comprehensive guide on the faux pas to avoid.

Never Arrive Empty-Handed

In Middle Eastern culture, arriving without a gift is a significant oversight. It is customary to bring a thoughtful present such as sweets from a high-quality confectioner or a basket of premium dates. Remember, generosity reflects well on you as a guest.

Avoid Discussing Sensitive Topics

Conversations during dinner should be light and inclusive. Steer clear of controversial topics such as politics, religion, and personal income. Instead, focus on shared interests that celebrate culture and hospitality.

Do Not Refuse Hospitality

Whether it is the offer of more food or the insistence to stay longer, politely declining is seen as rejection. Embrace the generosity with gratitude. Feel free to indulge in the culinary offerings, but pace yourself to avoid discomfort.

Mind Your Table Manners

Follow the lead of your hosts. Some homes prefer the use of utensils, while others may engage in traditional hand-eating etiquette. Remember to always use your right hand for eating and greeting, as the left is considered unclean.

Respect the Dress Code

Attire should align with modest values. For men, this means avoiding shorts and sleeveless tops. Women should opt for clothing that covers the shoulders and knees. When in doubt, err on the side of conservatism.

In-Depth Dining Etiquette

Additional details on specific dining etiquette…

Avery Ingram

Avery Ingram


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