Visiting Samoa can be a rewarding experience. The Samoan culture is a happy one, and dining on this island country will prove to be a memorable event. As with travel to any foreign destination, there are proper rules of etiquette, and you may find that these rules differ from what you are used to in your home country.
While it depends on your company and the overall setting, in general, dining in Samoa is a less formal event than you might expect. The rules of table etiquette are a bit more relaxed. In their more formal restaurants, there are rules, and these rules are considered important, especially if you are dining with business-minded individuals.
You will find that the rules related to dining are more geared toward your behavior than the actual process of eating. For instance, it is considered rude if you bring a dish to pass, as this indicates to your host that you believe there will not be enough food for everyone. Also, when it comes time to go to the table, allow your host to seat you, as they will usually seat all guests near the middle of the table so that everyone can converse with you.
After you have been seated (and do not attempt eating anything standing up!), you might notice the absence of silverware. It is a common Samoan custom to eat with the hands, and if this is what your hosts do, you should do the same. Be aware that going back for seconds is also considered rude so, as a sign of respect, take a bit of everything that is offered, even if it fills your plate. As you look around the table, you will notice that everyone does the same.
Finally, do not begin to eat until it is indicated to do so. As the guest, you may be expected to eat first; but, you should not make this assumption. It is also a sign of respect to pace your consumption with that of others at the table. Others at the table may take home what they are unable to finish; however, your host may expect that you finish your plate. If the meal is taking place at a restaurant, these rules will still apply but more formally, and there will definitely be utensils.
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