Singapore // Eating //

Table manners

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Local dishes are generally eaten with fork and spoon – never a knife as the food is usually sliced up enough that one is unnecessary – and it’s the spoon you eat off, with the fork playing the supporting role of helping to pick up and move morsels of food, plus rice, onto the spoon. Of course you have the option of using chopsticks with Chinese food, but don’t make the mistake of trying to consume rice off a plate with them, as that’s where the spoon comes into play. Chopsticks go together with a rice bowl, which you hold right to your mouth so you can snaffle the rice using the chopsticks as a shovel. More familiarly, they also serve as tongs: one chopstick is laid between thumb and forefinger, and supported by your fourth and little fingers, while the second chopstick is held between thumb, forefinger and second finger, and manipulated to form a pincer. Indian and Malay food is traditionally eaten using the right hand as a scoop and the right thumb to flick food into your mouth, and there are always sinks near the tables for washing before and after the meal.

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