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Arts Culture What Time Do You Have Your Dinner?

What Time Do You Have Your Dinner?

The English eat at 7 pm on average, pipped to the dinner table by the Dutch.  © georgeclerk /
By Relaxnews
October 23, 2020
With a 9 pm curfew now in place in several French cities and Italy's Lombardy region, restaurant owners are calling on people in affected zones to consider changing their dining habits to eat their evening meal earlier. Some of them use the example of other countries, such as the UK, to entice diners to embrace earlier eating as evening services are brought forward. So, at what time do people around the world really sit down to dinner?

Early Eaters

Surprisingly, the English aren't the earliest eaters when it comes to tucking into their evening meal. According to data collected by the online travel agency Expedia, the Dutch are the first people on the planet to sit down for dinner. While many Americans don't follow the tradition of sitting down to eat at the same time every night, families often dine not long after 6 pm. Next at the dinner table are the Cubans and the Vietnamese, starting dinner at 6:30 pm.

The 7-to-8 Shift

Dinner times in many countries influenced by Anglo-Saxon culture are more or less the same as in France, so between 7 and 8 pm. That's the case in Australia, Canada, Kenya and the Philippines, where dinner is on the table at 7 pm on the dot. In Japan, Thailand, Russia and Germany, dinner tends to be at 7:30 pm.

Late Diners

The further south you head in the Southern Hemisphere, the later dinnertime tends to get. The Argentinians are the latest diners, eating their final meal of the day after 10 pm. Their neighbors in Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay eat at 10 pm. on the dot. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Spanish are known for rounding off their evening of tapas with dinner sometime after 9 pm -- like the Egyptians, in fact. In Turkey, South Africa and Peru dinner is usually served from 9 pm. 

Then There's Saudia Arabia

Saudi Arabia stands out as something of an exception, as in the Gulf state it's typical to sit down for dinner at 11 pm! In the land of kasba -- the national dish of rice with chicken or lamb -- the evening meal can often go on until midnight. While that may sound surprising to diners in the Western world, it makes perfect sense when you consider that Saudis eat lunch between 2 and 6 pm, and that lunch is considered the main meal of the day. 


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