Dinnertime Etiquette August 19, 2014

Students in PC TECH’s ESL classes find that comparing customs and etiquette from various countries and cultures can be fascinating.  Here is an example:

People from different countries have different cultures.  When you have friends from different countries, it is very important to know some of their traditions and the basic rules for what they consider good manners in their countries.   Nobody wants to come to somebody’s house and make a bad impression on the whole family.  And that would not be because you don’t know the simple rules of etiquette.  It would be because you don’t know enough about their culture.  I want to write about the simple rules of etiquette when you are invited to dinner in the Dominican Republic.  So if you want to make a good impression, follow these suggestions:

Let’s say you are invited to a dinner at 5 p.m.  The first question is what time should you arrive?  In the Dominican culture, never arrive early because hosts would not be ready to greet you.  The best time to arrive is on time or around thirty minutes late.  You should bring a gift too.  It can be good liquor or an additional dish that you cooked yourself.  Dress in something nice and attractive, but don’t dress in an overly casual style, as in jeans or a t-shirt.  Don’t take off your shoes when you enter the house.  It is bad manners in the Dominican Republic.  In Dominican culture, on a traditional dinner table you will always will see two kinds of rice (white and brown), beans, salads, and two kinds of meat.  Drinks can vary: soda, wine, water, or fresh juice.  Dominicans serve their table in family style, so you can put on your plate whatever you want.  After you finish your first plate, always ask for seconds, because in this way you show that you really like their food.   Never take your dishes to the kitchen.  Hosts could consider that disrespectful, because you are their guest.  Smoking after dinner when nobody else smokes is also bad manners.


Now one of the most important questions is how long you should stay after you have finished dinner.  Usually, if hosts invite you not only for dinner, you can stay late.  If not, stay around thirty minutes more.  Never leave immediately after dinner!  Hosts can think that you come only to eat and they won’t invite you again.   Topics for conversation can be varied.  But do not discuss political points of view.  The Dominican people are very passionate about this and usually different political points of views can cause arguments or even fights.

I hope that after you read these simple rules you are ready for dinner with Dominican friends.  Follow these instructions and you will make a very good impression!

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City