What Country Is It Rude To Finish All Your Food?

Traveling abroad is one of the most wonderful and mind-expanding experiences one can experience. That said, understanding a bit about the basic culture in foreign countries saves you from some needlessly awkward (or even hostile) situations.

For example, did you know that in one country, it is strongly offensive to finish all your food? Read on below and discover which country it is, and why!

In What Country Is It Rude To Finish All Your Food?

In China, it is traditionally considered rude to finish all of the food on your plate because it indicates to the host that you are hungry despite their best attempts to feed you. 

In other words, finishing all of your food in China is rude because it makes people feel as if they weren’t able to provide you with enough food (which makes them a bad/poor host).

How Rude Is it?


Finishing all of your food in China rates 9 out of 10 on the rude meter. If you are aware of the customs, you are intentionally rude by finishing every last scrap of food on your plate (because you know better, but are still doing it).

Why is it Rude?

In China, finishing your meal isn’t rude, but finishing every last bite of it is. It is a traditional belief in China that if one is able to eat everything on their plate, the host has failed to provide enough food for their guests (which is a massive shame to the entire household, not just the host).

Why is it Not Rude?

In restaurants, or at a home that otherwise states that it isn’t seen as rude to finish all of your food (and genuinely urges you to do so), it is perfectly fine to finish all your food. However, if you wish to remain honorable towards your hosts/party in China, you will leave at least a bite or two left on your plate (just to be on the safe side).

Other Options to Do Instead

If you are really hungry, you may finish all of your food, just make sure that you ask for second helpings before you do so (that way at no point is your plate actually entirely cleaned). Another clever way to avoid being rude at dinner is by being the dinner host.

Common Questions

Is it rude to not finish all your food in general?

Generally speaking, it is only in China that traditions dictate it rude to finish all of your food. By eating everything your host provides you, it implies that they have not offered you enough. Not having/offering/providing enough food to a guest is a great offense in China.

What culture finds it rude to eat everything on your plate?

Chinese culture finds it offensive to eat everything on your plate. When you do eat everything on your plate in China, you should ask for more if you wish to avoid hurting someone’s feelings (even if you only take a few more bites).

Is it rude to finish all your food in Japan?

Japan is a far cry from China, despite their close geographical proximity, and albeit some of their customs are similar, many of them might as well be opposites. For example, in Japan, it isn’t rude to finish your plate or to leave food on it either.