Never Make This Request At An Italian Restaurant

One of the benefits of today's restaurant scene is the opportunity to enjoy and learn about other cultures, in terms of cuisine and even social norms. Whether it's Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, or something else, it's fascinating to expose ourselves to differences — different tastes, different culinary practices. There's nothing wrong with wanting to enhance yourself and become more culturally, but as with all things, that means it's also possible you might make some missteps, even with the best of intentions. Most restaurant personnel, of whatever region or nationality, are gracious and will be more than happy to help you on your cultural journey.

Don't use catsup in a French restaurant, especially in France, advises The Local. (Don't butter your bread, either, except at breakfast.) Other countries have their own particular no-no moments. According to the Huffington Post, in an Italian restaurant, it's said that one of the greatest sins you could commit is asking specifically for your pasta to be cooked "al dente." It's actually close to insulting the chef.

Trust the professionals

 Simply put, pasta al dente is pasta cooked correctly. According to Bon Appétit, it's pasta that's "chewy and firm" — the phrase translates as "to the tooth" — that holds its shape once it's in the sauce. It's the way pasta is meant to be.

Italians know their way around pasta. It's pretty much one of many claims they have in the world of food. Italians are very passionate about their craft, from rolling the dough to an exact thickness to knowing just how long to cook the pasta before serving. It's basically rude to insist on al dente pasta when ordering in an Italian restaurant — the equivalent of telling the surgeon that you want to be stitched up after he's done. They know what they're doing, so it's best not to try and tell them what to do. If you say that to a true Italian pasta chef, you may just get a plate of rock solid noodles with sauce on them (as seen, with much good-natured laughter, on YouTube). When it comes to Italians and their cuisine, it's best to trust the experts. You'll thank yourself later.