When traveling to a foreign country, knowing what to expect from common dining etiquette helps us decide if we should brown bag it, or look forward to enjoying a new and exciting experience. Dining etiquette can vary greatly from what a tourist is used to at home, thus knowing the etiquette will make any dining experience around the world less frightening and more enjoyable.
Armenian dining etiquette
The fact that Armenia happens to be a small country, surely makes no impact on the culinary diversity and hospitality people offer here. The middle-east has influenced the Armenian cuisine greatly over the centuries, but the proud Armenian people have managed to preserve their own unique style through the years.
• Armenians are not really formal, so greetings are mostly relaxed and casual, a smile and a handshake will do. However they are really loud, just like Italians, emotional and like to show their sympathy at its most. Friendly hugging and back-slapping are customary greetings for men who know each other.
• It will be sensible of you to have learned a few Armenian words, such as “hello” or “hi” while greeting the host. This is surely going to break the ice!
• In the Armenian culture, it is fine to use first names right from the beginning, unless you are talking to your boss! However "Mr." "Mrs." "Miss" and "Ms" titles are also welcome.
• An Armenian barbecue will most likely be one of many invitations you will receive for dining.
• Armenians are flexible time oriented, so even if you are 30 minutes late for a big party, it is fine.
• The hosts or hostesses are not expecting you to contact them and offer to bring any needed dish, or supplies for the party, so make the effort to take something with you to your taste, a box of chocolates or flowers will be just fine.
• It is also wildly accepted to bring your own wine or beer to a barbecue party. You can also offer your help with set-up or clean-up; however your request will hardly be confirmed.
• Armenian table manners are continental, though as long as you eat politely (including casually), there are no certain rules you have to follow. Keeping your hands above the table, and your elbows off the table while eating might leave its positive impact while at a business dinner in a luxury restaurant, but most often it is not very important.
• Armenians also appreciate when you eat all the food in our plate, and then compliment the host.
So welcome to Armenia, you are always an honored guest!