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London City Guide

Is it better to eat with your hands? The dining trend food psychologists stand by

11/07/2022
3 minutes

The humble knife and fork could soon become a thing of the past as Londoners shy away from eating with utensils and instead use their hands to consume everyday dishes.

The ‘digit-dining’ trend emerged from a study carried out by TheFork, which revealed a staggering 43 per cent of Londoners secretly eat with their hands at home behind-closed-doors and if given the permission a further 1 in 4 (39 per cent) would jump at the chance to unleash this ritual when dining out in restaurants.

Experts believe when touching food before eating it, we actually pick up useful information about the freshness, ripeness, and tenderness of it, which stimulates our senses and can make the dish taste better. The Londoners who took part in the study also admitted to feeling more relaxed (25 per cent), a sense of freedom (20 per cent), satiated (19 per cent) and even increasing taste and flavour (22 per cent) when using their fingers to eat. Nearly 1 in 10 (7 per cent) even said the handsy act made them feel rebellious against expected etiquette, as well as confessing they felt a ‘little naughty’ when indulging hands-first.

But despite over 43 per cent of Brits being comfortable eating with their hands behind closed doors, there was some hesitancy about going all out in front of other diners and using their hands in restaurants for fear of being considered childish (10 per cent). Other concerns include ’being frowned upon’ by society (14 per cent), being judged (15 per cent) and seen as bad table manners (17 per cent) in general.

Cultures around the world eat with their hands, with many boasting better taste and enjoyment of food as a result. But now the trend for eating all types of dishes – even messy meals like stews – with our hands is no longer being kept behind closed doors as people embrace eating as they please and truly relaxing into the restaurant dining experience.

Forget some of our best-known favourites, dishes like Chicken Fingerloo, Hand Egg & Chips and Palm-esan Chicken could become 2022’s newest menu staples, as people are realising and experiencing the emotional and psychological benefits of eating with their hands.

Discover, book and eat world cuisines Hands-Glee at these London restaurants and get 50% off food during TheFork Festival running until 27th November:

 

Italian cuisine

🍝 Osteria del Mercato 

🍝 Don Ciccio Osteria Pizzeria 

🍝 AperiPasta Italian Kitchen & Prosecco Bar

European cuisine

😋 28-50 South Kensington

😋 28-50 Oxford Circus

😋 28-50 Chelsea 

Indian cuisine

🍛 Shezan 

🍛 Shilpa Indian Restaurant 

French cuisine

🥐 Big Fernand 

🥐 Aubaine, Brompton Road 

Chinese cuisine

🐉 Happy Lamb Hotpot, Bayswater 

🐉 RedFarm, Covent Garden 

African Caribbean cuisine

🐠 Escape Bar and Caribbean Tapas 

🐠 Calabash Restaurant & Bar 

Asian cuisine

🍜 Sticky Mango 

🍜 Viet Quan 

British cuisine

🥧 Swan, Shakespeare’s Globe

Mexican cuisine

🌮 Primos Mexican Cantina

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