27 Jun2007

Make sure your children marry partners who chew with their mouth closed. Here is my rant against any and all on the planet who are human by definition but goatlike by mastication habits. I will be the first to say my table manners are perhaps shy of impeccable. I tend to mess up tablecloths, occasionally use the wrong utentsil, rarely bang the inside of my teacup with my teaspoon, etc., but I do not chew as though I wished all of my dinner companions would have a good view as to the progress of food mashification inside my blasted mouth. Mrs. MM and I were at a rather fancy breakfast in Boracay a few days ago and two tables away there was this male guest of the hotel that was chewing louder than I have EVER heard anyone chew. It’s as if he was receiving pleasure in hearing his own tongue slap his food around in his humongous and cavernous mouth. As his saliva and juice or tea sloshed along with his food, you could hear every frigging action that was occurring in his mouth.

He was almost as loud as our Kitchen Aid heavy duty mixer with the paddle attachment on high. It was the most off-putting thing to sit and listen to while you are staring at your own dish of tapa and fried eggs. I was so stunned by the sound of his open mouth mastication that I actually intentionally STARED at the man for close to a minute to see if he would literally shut up. He didn’t. He had no clue whatsoever that there was anything wrong. He was there with what appeared to be his new bride. I wanted to run over and shake her violently and tell her that the marriage was almost certainly doomed… how could she possibly face a lifetime with someone who created more sound with his mouth (without speaking or shouting) than the loudest toot he could expel from his rear end??? Closing your mouth while chewing has a practical explanation…it prevents your food from falling back out. But closing your mouth also keeps chewing sounds to a minimum. I realize some folks may have valid excuses for an occasional slip of the lips… misaligned jaws, excitement in blurting out a thought or story, or temporary muscle spasms… but chewing with your mouth gaping more than an inch wide 90% of the time is simply not acceptable! Do you think it is genetic? Ethnically linked? Due to blocked nasal passages? Whatever the reason, one of the first things you really have to teach your kids at the table is to CHEW WITH THEIR MOUTHS CLOSED. :)



  1. lee says:

    This post is making me laugh. Good thing I’m not eating or chewing something.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 3:54 pm


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  3. miclimptrp says:

    Might he be a foreigner? Some cultures encourage behavior that might be occasionally offensive to ours.

    Like for example in China, its a sign of appreciation for a dinner host if the guests burp after eating :)

    Jun 27, 2007 | 4:03 pm

  4. Doddie from Korea says:

    Dear MM,

    You would find it hard to eat at a Korean restaurant then. Did you know that most Koreans would eat with their mouths open? They would also talk with food in their mouth. IT’s okay with them and it’s a cultural thing. I would watch in horrid fascination on TV, shows on korean restaurant food and most of the time, there would be adults eating with their mouths open.

    My hubby would watch and his jaw would drop. I just watch because I can’t believe that koreans can eat a ssam package (lettuce wrap) as big as a baseball in one bite and chew it until they swallow the whole thing. It’s an amazing sight, and even more so when they would talk to the camera to tell the audience how good it is.


    Jun 27, 2007 | 4:14 pm

  5. Apicio says:

    Could it be that the new wife fell for just that?

    Jun 27, 2007 | 6:29 pm

  6. bugsybee says:

    I also get annoyed when somebody chews food with his mouth open. And I think that even if this is acceptable in their country, they should remember the saying, “When in Rome, do what the Romans do.”

    Jun 27, 2007 | 9:09 pm

  7. Johnny says:

    Hi MM, I guess if you were in China or Korea, people might be staring at you thinking, “Why doesn’t this guy chew his food loudly?”. Hehe.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 9:18 pm

  8. kaye says:

    this is the first table manner i teach my kids once they get off the high chair.. i feel it shows how well you taught your kids about table manners once they eat with other people and they automatically close their mouths once food is inside.. we get praises from other people and that makes me one happy parent and so is my hubby..

    maybe that guy was just eager to show to the resto owner that he truly loves the food.. hihihih!!

    Jun 27, 2007 | 10:35 pm

  9. trish says:

    This is an absolutely hilarious post! You crack me up, Marketman. Btw, I am quite surprised that you didn’t take a photo of this great big offender. Bwahahaha!!!!

    Jun 28, 2007 | 12:01 am

  10. Maria Clara says:

    Miss Manner would say the same thing you did. Not only when chewing food but also do not talk while your mouth is full! That is basic discriminating skill of parenting, yaya or factotum. Poor new bride I hope the honeymoon fever is still hot as an iron!

    Jun 28, 2007 | 12:24 am

  11. kyang2x says:

    It’s considered impolite for Japanese, Chinese and Koreans if you eat without making loud slurping sounds when drinking soup or tea and chewing the food loudly. I am working in China and married to a local and I am still utterly disgusted when I see top management people doing this.

    Jun 28, 2007 | 1:12 am

  12. eej says:

    Good breeding shows in basic table manners.

    – Chew your food slowly and with mouth closed.
    – Elbows off the table.
    – Don’t reach over the table for the food. Ask politely, “Would you please pass the bagoong”.
    – When you’re done, don’t abruptly leave; ask to be excused.

    Jun 28, 2007 | 1:39 am

  13. Mandy says:

    that, and don’t talk when your mouth is full. ach. how can you talk to somebody and see all the chewed up, saliva-ed food inside… ew.

    poor bride. methinks that loud chewing is not all she’s gonna get from that kind of creature. she will probably get the ass-scratching, ball-juggling, food-tooth sucking, and all other gross stuff… ew. again.

    Jun 28, 2007 | 1:55 am

  14. Ed says:

    This reminds me of my fieldwork trips to Bali. The Balinese chew with their mouths open, and eating, for them, is considered an animalistic activity.

    While I was staying with my host family, my host mother would remark on how amazing/interesting/”cute” I looked when I chewed with my mouth closed. For them, eating their brand of spicy food seems nearly impossible to do with their mouth closed. I once heard a remark from a Balinese friend who, before touring the US, asked how one was to chew food with the mouth closed…

    Jun 28, 2007 | 3:43 am

  15. brenda says:

    hahahahah.. I was eating my egg sandwich while reading this and I couldnt help laughing but at the same time making sure that my mouth is closed while chewing, as if MM is staring back at me in my monitor….

    Jun 28, 2007 | 6:53 am

  16. Macky says:

    I don’t know which is funnier, your post or the comments of your readers! That reminds me of the time when, I was a young girl, I walked in the kitchen and came across my driver in the same particular incident of chewing with his mouth wide open. I was so stunned by the assault (to my senses) that I actually stood there in a trance for a couple of minutes staring at him eating his food. My sister and I had a good laugh afterwards!

    Jun 28, 2007 | 7:50 am

  17. mila says:

    That is disgusting, and she (the bride) should have trained her husband better. It’s also offensive when people chew with their mouths open and make that sound like their lips keep smacking together. Can’t imagine how that fellow could be that loud though, but the thought sends shivers down my spine.

    I do remember working with an older (60+ years of age) colleague whose false teeth weren’t aligned, and sharing meals with him was so off putting. You could literally see the false teeth come loose while he was chewing!!!

    Jun 28, 2007 | 9:08 am

  18. Ynna says:

    I dont find it funny to make fun at other’s people eating behavior vis a vis the commentaires given here (more so to write an article about it). As far as I know its Asians that really eat with their mouths wide open; that means it also includes Filipinos like us. Eating slowly to savour its goodness has never been part of the Asian culture, if you think we are more mannered than others it must be there are certain of us that have adopted a western style of living; using knife and fork, chewing slowly and not talking while eating. A great half of Filipinos still eat with there hands, without their shirts on and enjoy a great deal of conversation while eating. As far as i know, the word “RESPECT” exist.

    Jun 28, 2007 | 2:33 pm

  19. Lou says:

    Imagine putting people together from different cultures where noisy chewing and burping out loud are simply an art of showing food appreciation! It is acceptable if it is cultural, but then again, consideration and respect play an important role when one is out of his “environment” not to mention table manners.
    I’ve always pointed out to my children not to chomp their food!

    Jun 28, 2007 | 7:59 pm

  20. ginnie says:

    This is one of my pet peeves. Second is people eating, spooning food into their mouth, ready to kiss the plate.

    Jun 28, 2007 | 11:20 pm

  21. prinsesa says:

    Oh, wow. If there is one thing I really hate, this would be it. When we were young my dad was really OC about it. Talagang nagagalit yun if we make loud chewing sounds. Funny incident lang: We had some “people” (I don’t dare mention who) in the house for lunch one time, and for some reason, my younger child wasn’t in the mood to eat. They were trying to make her eat, so they were telling her, “Subo ka, tapos nguya ka ng ganito,” while then opening and closing their mouths wide with matching tongue-slapping-against-the-palate sound. My unimpressed kid retorted with a, “You don’t eat like that. That’s disgusting.” I don’t know if I should, but I didn’t apologize for her.

    Jun 29, 2007 | 1:07 am

  22. miclimptrp99 says:

    With all due respect Ynna, this is just a discussion about gastronomical cultural differences :)

    No one’s making fun of anyone. What may be offensive to you might just be normal for other people. Its true that weird customs are practiced in different parts of the globe, but then, when in Rome, you should be polite and do as the Romans do :) Imagine if you had an Asian guest at home for dinner and he suddenly raises his feet and props it up on the chair he’s sitting in (some Asian cultures do this) would you be shocked or would you just shrug it off? Let’s say you just shrug it off and then your kids (?) would start doing it in a few days, what would you do? Leave them be or tell them it isnt polite? :)

    But then as you said, Respect. And believe me I do respect your opinion :)

    Jun 29, 2007 | 1:52 am

  23. HD says:

    When I was young, my dad used to scold us when we eat with smacking sound. To make his point, he made us watch a pig eat. The pig was making that same smacking sound! So after that we ate quietly :)

    Regarding how Koreans eat, I am also amazed by how they can talk while having their mouths so full, both their cheeks are filled. Amazing…

    Jun 29, 2007 | 8:37 am

  24. CecileJ says:

    Uh-oh, major fish pan type debate coming up!

    Personally, i do agree with MM that loud chewing is quite off-putting, to put it mildly. But after reading that in some cultures, even in our own, it is an acceptable practice, then I have decided to be more tolerant. (I don’t allow my kids to do it, though.) Ynna may be right in that it is our “western influence” that made us think that chewing loudly is impolite.

    Live and let live, I say. Or in this case, chew and let chew!! Heeheehee! (C’mon guys, don’t stress out over things you cannot change! Sayang ang energy!)

    Happy weekend!!!!

    Jun 29, 2007 | 9:35 am

  25. fatima says:

    You think loud chewing is off-putting? Picture this…casually chatting with colleagues during break time,
    a co-worker from China with a soda on hand, drinks the soda, swirls it around his mouth (like making mumog)with gusto and then swallows it…Man! that was so disgusting but then one has to learn to be tolerant towards others….:-)

    Jun 29, 2007 | 10:31 am

  26. Cumin says:

    My first reaction to this entry was to laugh out loud, this has got to be one of MM’s funniest, and judging from others’ reactions, it seems to touch a strong chord.

    I guess it’s only normal to view people’s behaviour according to our own standards. But it’s interesting that many point out behaviour is also culture-based. In Vietnam, people eating in small restaurants always threw everything on the floor rather than on the edge of their plate — paper napkins, bones, anything they didn’t want to eat — which seemed shocking and rude, but that was considered the norm and they probably thought I was culturally insensitive by keeping my ‘mess’ on the side of the plate!

    Jun 29, 2007 | 9:14 pm

  27. Dodi says:

    Hahahahahaha! Pet peeve ko rin are people who pick their teeth with a toothpick, without even any attempt to conceal it, while I’m still eating. I stand up right away and transfer if I could. Hirap na baka matalsikan pa ng “tinga” ang food ko noh! Sorry eej, but I don’t ask to be excused during these instances if only to show my disgust.

    Jun 30, 2007 | 8:38 am

  28. paolo says:

    slurping is very ASIAN thing.

    Jun 30, 2007 | 7:58 pm

  29. gigi says:

    just chanced upon this blog and i could not help but be amused. as a child i was taught to eat minus the slurps and all. i presently work on a short-term basis in hong kong and and i observed that most, if not all, eat noisily. it was horrendous at first, especially when i was once invited to a family dinner and i was actually told that “here in hong kong, you should learn how to eat noisily!” but i guess that it is a cultural thing and tolerance is key. i have learned (or maybe forced myself) to just live with it, and so far, i have yet to acquire the habit. no thanks :)

    Jul 4, 2007 | 12:29 am

  30. viana says:

    this is just so funny, i have been trying a way to figure out how to tell my sisters-in-law, mother-in-law and nephew (hot so much he is only 8). they all chew as if the cows came home!!! it drives me crazy the slurping, talking with mouth open while full, hearing them digest food. it is the most horrendous thing i have ever heard. my fiancee use to do it to but it was easy to tell him to stop. i have mentioned it to him (he has noticed also) if he would tell them but he said no! he has mentioned to his mom and oldest sister but they continue with their constant chomping. they are american born but italian background, and i dont think background has to do with it its the way u r raised. they also pick out food from serving dish with fork that was just in their mouth…its horrible!

    Jul 10, 2007 | 1:31 am

  31. kitty says:

    I was searching the web in a hope to find an advise on how to tell somebody to close mouth while chewing without offending the person.

    It was fun to read this blog! And I am glad that I am not the only one who thinks that mouth should be closed while eating, at least in American culture… Although, I wish I was more tolerant to this…

    My coworker eats the whole day while at work… And she does it with open mouth… She chews apples, nuts, chips, crackers, and other foods that make nice crunchy sound… She is also in the cube next to mine, so I hear every crunch that comes from her open mouth. She also likes to smack her lips while chewing…

    She is a very nice person, and I can’t force myself to tell her anything–I don’t want to offend her… But at the same time why do I have to listen to this every day and get to the point that I simply have to take a break and leave my cube for a few minutes in order not to explode…

    Is there a good way to let her know that she should be keeping her mouth closed? Any advice?

    Jul 12, 2007 | 12:03 am

  32. tabchie says:

    hi MM,

    this was so funny to read, have to give my little comment….i can feel what you’re going through at that moment…yuckkkkk!!! I love your blogs…the best…highly recommend iyong manok inasal mo…love it!!!

    Jul 17, 2007 | 2:23 pm

  33. Beringil says:

    All my kids were born here in the US with excellent table manners and ethics.

    First time I brought them home with me to our hometown was a test of their flexibilty(whish Filipinos are known for). As a tradition, all our relatives came over to welcomed us; and as a token of welcome – they gave us a party by the river. There were no utensils at all. Everybody ate the foods served in banana leaves with their hands;slurpped the soup from a coconut bowl; worst everybody talkedand laughed while eating.

    To my surprised, our kids enjoyed it so much albeit it was their first time to use their hands in eating. As to an explanation to why everybody talked too much while eating – I told my kids, its the only time when people are in the same level of comfort and probably the only chance they can talk.

    In short, “when in Rome do as what the Romans do”.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 6:01 am

  34. leticia says:

    this is a treat! it’s been quite a while that i have not been laughing like i laugh tonight. it is almost 11pm here in milan, italy, and i am still laughing. i understand how you felt at that moment, MM.. the readers here are all fun too..masaya!

    Jun 10, 2008 | 4:44 am

  35. Re:kitty says:

    kitty, I have this exact same problem.Girl in cube next to me eats all the same foods. The only difference here is that my coworker is manipulative and has a way of playing dumb when she’s out to get her own way.I suspect that she has been aware that her habits annoy others but because of her nature, it only goads her into doing more of it and louder. Say anything to her and it’ll worsen yet again because she got permission to eat at her desk. When she’s not crunching on whatever makes noise she’s sucking her teeth clean or chomping and snapping away on several daily pieces of gum. It’s disguisting and every single day I leave work sick to my stomach and uncaring about what might have appealed to me for dinner. She’s the office favorite and I am not in that clique…for me to say anything will only make me look petty. All I can do at this point is pity her, that all she has to look forward too every day is how well she’s learned how to be an ignorant jackass.

    Apr 22, 2009 | 6:21 am

  36. Peter says:

    Too funny – like some of the posters above, I was just searching for information on how to bring up the subject with someone who chews loudly. In my case, it’s my girlfriend’s daughter. She’s 7, and I swear it’s as if she intentionally chews as loudly as she possibly can. Every time she chews, she smacks her mouth open as loudly as she can. When she’s eating a popsicle, she slurps it .. again, as loudly as she possibly can. I am to the point where I can barely stand to eat with my girlfriend’s family. I am petrified to bring her kids to meet my parents this summer – we were taught excellent table manners as kids, and I have done the same with my own son. He’s 5 and his table manners (including the way he chews) are impeccable.

    I can’t think of a single way to bring this subject up and not destroy the relationship … HELP?!?!

    May 29, 2009 | 8:10 pm

  37. james says:

    it’s not funny at all. My mother-in-law just got her green card & is staying with us. she not only make noise when she eats, but afterwards as well. then she started to teach my son to chew with mouth opened. I told my son to do so with mouth closed. the mother-in-law explains to my son to chew with mouth shut, but she still does it. my wife started chewing the same way. when I ask my wife about it. she said that’s how they eat at home. it’s the most disgusting thing on the world. now I try to slip away from the table whenever she’s eating

    Jun 23, 2009 | 4:47 am

  38. wormgear says:

    RIGHT NOW as I write this response, my co-worker is slurping tea VERY loudly and sloshing and smacking a piece of cake around in his mouth. I feel like I’m going to vomit any second. -* I’m going to pause here and put on my headphones…Ah. That’s much better. *- What’s interesting about this is how many of us all feel the same way, and there is a clear cultural boundary here! One thing that is a bit unusual in my case is that I don’t mind the noise at all if I also choose to participate in it. My wife is from Japan and as others have pointed out – it’s customary to slurp loudly when eating noodles (ONLY noodles – not soup, tea, coffee or any other food; that would be rude). Since I embrace Japanese culture, I also slurp loudly while eating noodles. While doing so, the sound of everyone else doing it does not bother me at all! It’s fun, in fact! If, however, I am NOT eating noodles, and other people around me ARE eating them, I must leave for I cannot stand it. Weird huh? Kind of neurotic. :-/
    Oh well…

    Jul 2, 2009 | 3:49 am

  39. EuropeanTheater says:

    Just as bad as this is people who chew gum with their mouth open. In my high school people do this during the silence of exams. Unacceptable and pretty insightful on how our future will be.

    Aug 12, 2009 | 11:02 am

  40. Dominoe says:

    Whenever I go out with my friends who are Korean or Chinese we always eat with our mouths open, make smacking noises and talk with our mouths full. At first I used to keep my mouth closed but after two days with them it became a habit to eat like them. They think it’s weird that people chew with their mouths closed. Also I brought home on of my cousins to meet them and she was freaked out by the fact that we all share utensils or eat off eachothers plates!

    Aug 27, 2009 | 2:09 am


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