When Dining In Chile, It's Best To Avoid Eating With Your Hands

Coming from a country with a length of 2,672 miles, it's no surprise that Chilean food takes on a lot of forms. Like other Latin American nations, the cuisine is a mixture of indigenous ingredients and techniques mixed with European influences — mainly Spanish and French. However, due to a smaller indigenous presence, this slender nation leans even further into Old World influences. Of course, there's the world-famous wine production, complemented by foods like empanadas, hearty chorrillana — fries loaded with stewed beef — and seafood.

Yet, perhaps surprisingly, one of the most iconic Chilean foods is the sandwich. The nation only trails Germany in bread consumption, eating it in various delicious forms sold at panaderias, as well as in dishes like hot dogs and loaded steak sandwiches. However, all foods in Chile — even sandwiches and fries — are eaten with a knife and fork, and doing otherwise is considered impolite. Let's dive further into Chilean manners.

Dining etiquette in Chile

Chilean eating is convivial and fun, with a large number of toasts, loads of wine, and late starting times — dinner only gets going after eight. However, to enjoy the country's vibrant dining experiences, it's best to brush up on local etiquette. In Chile, formal dining is common, and the silverware-only rule applies ubiquitously, even to pizza slices and sandwiches in bars.

Also, when holding your knife and fork, make sure not to talk — it's polite to slow down and place the utensils on the table when you want to speak. Additionally, keep your hands above the table for the duration of the meal; dipping down into the lap is suspicious. And toasting culture comes with its own set of guidelines, too. The host goes first, and all the guests look at the one speaking with glass in hand. Alcohol is only sipped after toasting, but there is no need to fear — a toast is thrown frequently. And while following so many rules may seem intimidating, they come together naturally, contributing to an enthralling time in the South American nation.