Dining Etiquette

When I wrote ‘dining etiquette’ I wasn’t referring to fancy restaurants but more like when you are eating in general with the locals of whatever island you are travelling in and using your hands. Of course in the popular tourist islands of Bali and Lombok people usually eat with knives and forks in a western manner. However, there are times [and especially outside the tourist islands] when you could be invited to partake in a meal in a Muslim populated part of Indonesia which constitutes most of the archipelago!.

I am left-handed and when I first started travelling through the archipelago, it didn’t take me long to become accustomed to using my right hand!. It’s imperative [in a way] to Use only your right hand, as the left hand is used to clean yourself in the loo. In Indonesia, eating with your hand is very commonplace and personally I prefer it. Even when I am in a warung I eat with my fingers.

If you are helping yourself to an array of food in front of you, then wait until gestured by your host to partake in the meal. The basic idea is to use four fingers of your right hand to pack a little ball of rice. This you can then dip into any sauces before you put it into your mouth.

Eating by hand is frowned on in most of the upmarket places and so if you are provided cutlery maybe its best to use the implements. But hey, you are on holiday so dig-in to suit!.

Of course, it is only common sense to wash your hands well before and after eating. Remember you are in Indonesia and there are a lot of bugs around!.