Nigeria Dining Etiquette

Dining etiquette when hosting Muslims. Do not use alcohol or pork in any of the dishes.

Dining etiquette for dining in groups. Men, women, and children dine separately. Men are usually offered the best food first, then women, and finally children.

Dining etiquette for entering a Nigerian home. Remove your shoes before entering a home. Wehn moving from one area to another, allow more senior members of your party to enter the room ahead of you.

Dining etiquette for drinking. Tea is often served in three rounds. In the first round, the tea is not sweetened. In the second round, some sugar is added. In the third, very sweet tea is served. This is meant to mirror the development of friendship. Always accept the cup. At most meals it is improper dining etiquette to eat and drink at the same time: first eat, then drink. Never pour your own drink. Wait to be served.

Dining etiquette for using your hands. Wash your hands before and after meals. Eat with your right hand only. If provided with fork or spoon, hold them in your right hand. Keep your left hand off bowls or serving items.

Dining etiquette for eating from a communal bowl. The youngest person will hold the lip of the bowl with the thumb and index finger of their left hand while the older diners eat first (men, women, then children last). Eat only from the part of the communal plates or bowls directly in front of you.

Dining etiquette for seating. Always make sure that your toes and feet are not pointing to the food or to other diners at the meal. You may be seated on the floor or on low stools. The most honored position is next to the host.

Dining etiquette for smoking. Do not smoke in the area where the food is served and wait to smoke until after the meal is over (women do not smoke).

Dining etiquette for the end of the meal. At the end of the meal, a small burp signifies satisfaction.

Dining etiquette for order of service. The honored guest is served first, then the oldest male, then the rest of the men, then women, and finally children.

Dining etiquette for beginning to eat. Do not begin to eat or drink until the oldest man has been served and has started.

Dining etiquette in a restaurant. In informal restaurants, you may be required to share a table, If so, do not force conversation: act as if you are seated at a private table. Women may be seated only with other women. Wait staff may be summoned by subtly 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. Take your cue from your Nigerian associates: if they bring up business, then it is okay to discuss it, but wait to take your lead from their conversation.

Dining etiquette for paying the bill. The one who does the inviting pays the bill.

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

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