• It is customary to sit on pillows or at a low table, sometimes at a round table.
  • The most honoured position is in the middle of the table, with the second most important person, or the honoured guest, seated next to the head of the table.
  • The oldest people are served first at a meal.
  • As the food is served, guests say, “Sahtain” (the equivalent of “bon appetit”), or “Bismillah” (in the name of God); when the meal is over, guests should say, “Daimah” (may there always be plenty at your table).
  • Meals are eaten in silence as every bite is savoured.
  • In some areas in the Middle East, it is common for people to take their food from a common plate in the centre of the table. Rather than employing forks or spoons, people may scoop up hummus and other foodstuff with pita bread.
  • Use your right hand when picking up and eating food: never your left hand. Keep your left hand at your side. Do not place your left hand on the table, and do not pass food with your left hand.
  • People use spoons, forks and knives, if necessary, or no utensils at all. Since the spoon is more important than the fork, if you are right-handed, keep the spoon in the right hand, and put it down to switch to the fork if and when you need it.