Congo Etiquette

Understanding Congolese dining etiquette will be respected in most places.

Dining etiquette for washing your hands. Wash your hands before and after eating.

Dining etiquette for using your hands. Eat only with your right hand. If provided with a fork or spoon, hold it with your right hand. Keep your left hand off bowls or serving items. The youngest person will to hold the lip of a communal bowl with the thumb and index finger of their left hand while the older diners eat first (men first, then women, children last).

Dining etiquette for eating from a shared bowl or plate. Eat only from the part of the bowl directly in front of you.

Etiquette for entering a Congolese home. Etiquette requires that you take off your shoes before entering Congolese homes.

Dining etiquette for seating guests. The most honored position is next to the host. When seated, your toes and feet should not be pointing toward the food or other diners.

Dining etiquette for order of service. Food is served in the following order: honored guests, the oldest male, the other men, children, and women. Do not begin to eat or drink until the oldest man has been served and has started eating.

dining etiquette in a restaurant

You may be required to share a table. Act as if you are seated at a private table. Women should be sensitive to the fact that they may be seated only with other women.

Dining etiquette for summoning restaurant personnel. Wait staff may be summoned by raising your hand or by making eye contact; waving or calling their names is very impolite.

Dining etiquette for talking business. Business is often discussed over meals, once individuals know each other well enough to talk terms. Take your cue from your Congolese associates: if they bring up business, then it's okay to discuss it, but wait to take your lead from their conversation.

dining etiquette in the home

When moving from one area to another in a home, always allow more senior members of your party to enter the room ahead of you.

guest / host dining etiquette

Dining etiquette for paying the bill. Normally the person that invites pays for the meal.

Dining etiquette for tipping. Tips in restaurants are 10 percent.

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