Read the following situations, and for each one write an email in response.
1. You have just been interviewed on the phone for a magazine about your business travels. They have now emailed to ask for some stories about your experiences of eating out abroad.
2. A foreign client has emailed you, asking for advice on where to eat in your city when he arrives next month. Give him two or three choices, with reasons. For each restaurant explain:
· type of food
· your favourite dish
· cost per person
Lesson 4. Dining etiquette
I. Etiquette Quiz
1. Where should a woman place her purse while dining in a sit-down restaurant?
A. Between her back and the chair or on her lap
B. On the floor
C. On the table, to the left and right above the place setting
D. Hung on the back of the chair if a handbag, otherwise on an empty chair
2. You and your partners have a large restaurant bill. You offer to pay and someone else offers to pay the tip. What do you do?
A. Let your partners offer the tip; this will save your money
B. Tell your generous friend “no thanks”, as you don’t want to worry they didn’t leave enough
C. Suggest everyone at the table split the tip
D. Accept their offer, telling them how much the tip should be
3. The person who initiates a lunch date and makes arrangements should always pay.
Name the things on the dining table
I. Skim the text to grasp the general idea. Think of the most suitable heading.
Scan the text paying attention to the words in bold.
For a business traveler, sharing a meal with an international client is a necessary part of establishing a relationship. And just as each culture has its own cuisine it has its own dining etiquette. If you are new to a country, no one will expect you to perfectly master local table manners.
Everyone has made a mistake or two at the dining table. Most mistakes in dining etiquette are rather minor.
Most North Americans use their right hand to use both their knife and fork, necessitating the frequent switching of utensils. Most Europeans keep their dinner knife in their right hand and the fork in their left. This is a very practical way to eat.
While I was at a formal dinner in Paris, I unconsciouslyplaced my left hand in my lap–the polite thing to do in the United States–but wrong in France. The French keep both hands gracefully balanced on the table’s edge, and of course, they hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right.
While it can be difficult to remember all the appropriate behaviors when you travel around the world, it can be just as complicated to host visitors from other countries.
Nancy Gilboy, the Executive Director of the International Visitor’s Council in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, constantly hosts delegations from all over the world. Besides observing various food taboos (never serve pork to Muslims, beef to Hindus, etc.), she has noted that certain cultures are careful to ensure that everyone receives an equal share of the meal. When shrimp was being passed around at a dinner with a group from China, she took three or four and offered it to the next diner. Subsequently, she noticed that each attendee took just one shrimp in turn and offered it to the next person. Of course, in their culture, the good of the group is more important than any one person’s appetite, and the Chinese often take a single portion of food at a time.
In many parts of the world, people only do business with those they know and trust–and that kind of contact is generally established over lunch or dinner. When international executives visit clients in countries like Brazil or Chile, they often try to get their appointments around 11 a.m., so they can all go to lunch together afterward. They spend time in a convivial environment, where no business is discussed.
Refusing to eat the local cuisine is one of the quickest ways to offend your hosts. Never complainabout how spicy the local food is, or how fattening, or that you would never eat insects/lizards/canines/primates (or whatever you find offensive). Just eat what you can without making yourself sick, and keep your criticisms to yourself. When necessary, resort to a medical excuse: "I'm sorry, but my doctor has forbidden me to eat shellfish."
The Queen of England, who is polite enough to try almost anything, was the center of attention after a visit to Belize. During her visit, the Queen ate a local delicacy, a dibnut—an animal that looks like a large chipmunk. When the English press discovered what the Queen had been served, the headlines ran “Queen Eats Rat!” Fortunately, citizens of Belize have a sense of humor and immediately changed the dish from “dibnut” on their menus to “Royal Rat.”
One of the benefits of travel is the chance for new experiences. You probably aren't going to be offered the chance to eat scorpions or bird's nest soup at home. If you are offered them in China, try them. You might actually like them.
Ultimately, dining abroad is an adventure. We all have to eat, and sharing meals with global prospects and clients helps to cementrelationships.
Excerpted from OAG Frequent Flyer, September 7, 2001
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