In Asia, food isn't just sustenance and Instagram fodder. It's often a symbol of prosperity, honor, longevity, and togetherness. As such, you'll encounter dozens of rituals and cultural subtleties around eating and drinking that are rooted in superstition, upholding deep respect for your elders, and cultivating an honorable self-image.
And as you do, guaranteed, you will screw some of them up.
As an Asian American who grew up in a traditional Chinese household, I learned firsthand many of the little things that can be flubbed at the dinner table, which often led to a lightning-fast thwack on the wrist with chopsticks -- or worse, a stern stare-down. I picked up other tips along the way from friends and my travels through Asia. Crucially, I learned some dining etiquette overlaps between Asian cultures while other manners differ significantly. You might never be able to completely prevent a raised eyebrow somewhere, but when traveling to these countries, here's what you really need to know to avoid looking like a heathen at the dinner table.