international dining etiquette
Most dishes will be served without utensils, "banana-leaf' style. Remember, Hindus (Tamils) do not eat beef, while Buddhists (Sinhalese) have no such prohibitions. Tea is served throughout the day; in the workplace, there can be several tea breaks during the day (and they really are "breaks"-these are not cups of tea taken at the desk). Food is generally served from a central serving dish at mealtime; because of Hindu purity concerns, it is especially important with Tamils not to allow the serving utensil from the central serving dish to touch your plate. Never directly touch food that others might also partake of. Having seconds and thirds is much more preferable than serving yourself a great deal of food at once.
- Mike Lininger, Editor, Etiquette Scholar
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