When you plan a menu, it is best to avoid the most hated foods. Some foods are often disliked. Follow hated foods etiquette to prepare a menu that your guests will enjoy.

What hated foods etiquette is

Hated foods etiquette is the set of rules to avoid serving food that is often disliked. Such rules help plan a menu that will not annoy or upset your guests.

If you are hosting, follow hated foods etiquette to appropriately plan a menu that your guests will enjoy.

If you are a guest, respect hated foods etiquette rules to avoid embarrassment with your hosts and the other guests.

rules to avoid the most disliked foods in your menu

Most hated foods etiquette rules

1) Know what the most hated foods are

The common traits of the most hated foods

Which traits do the most hated foods have in common?

There is a wide number of disliked foods. Most of them have at least one of these 5 traits. 

  1. Bitter flavor. Such as aubergine. 
  2. Metallic flavor. Such as liver meat.
  3. Pungent odor or flavor. Such as blue cheese. 
  4. Lack of flavor. Such as tofu.
  5. Uncomfortable texture. Such as mushrooms or foods that are tough to chew

The most hated foods are often unfamiliar

Lack of familiarity with one specific food matters too. The more familiar we are with one food, the easier it is to like it. While if we are not familiar with a texture or a flavor, we might dislike it at first.

Controversial food

Some guests may have sustainability and ethical concerns about food.

The popularity of red meat is declining, as its production involves a high cost for the environment. Many people avoid foie gras as they believe its production harms the animal. Several ways to kill lobsters, crabs, or scampi qualify as animal cruelty. Even some vegetables or fruit, such as avocado or banana, raise ethical concerns as they have a high negative impact on the environment.

Disliked food pairings

Even two popular foods can be disliked if they are paired badly. Common examples are pizza with pineapple, white fish with red wine, or sweet-and-sour pairings.

2) List of the most hated foods to avoid on your menu

It is best to avoid the most disliked foods. Be especially careful with guests that you do not know well yet.

The most hated meat

Lean white meat is the safest choice.

While the most hated meat is liver. This is due to its strong metallic taste and spongy texture. In general, all animal entrails are often disliked. Thus, it is best to avoid them.

Many guests dislike venison meat. This is due to its hard-to-chew texture and strong flavor. Furthermore, some guests are unable to digest venison meat well. Many other guests do not like the texture of animal fat.

The most disliked fish and seafood

Oysters, raw fish, sushi, and sashimi are among the most hated foods. The main reasons are their slimy texture and the metallic notes in their flavor.

Some people dislike canned tuna and anchovies due to their strong taste. Others avoid white fish, such as cod or sea bass, out of fear of fish bones.

The most hated dairy foods and cheese

Blue cheese is often unpopular because of its pungent flavor and the unappealing look of its mold. Examples are Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Stilton.

Cottage cheese can be disliked because of its bland flavor and slimy texture.

List of the most disliked vegetables or fruit

Plant-based diets are increasingly popular. Such as vegetarian, flexitarian, or vegan diets. However, many vegetables and fruits are among the most commonly hated foods.

  • Olives, capers, celery, and pickles. Why: their pungent flavor. 
  • Aubergine, brussels sprouts, and mushrooms. Why: their bitter flavor and spongy texture. 
  • Beets, broccoli, and cauliflower. Why: their combination of color, bland or strong flavor, and texture.
  • Avocado. Why: its soft texture.
  • Spinach. Why: its metallic flavor and soggy texture.
  • Cilantro, coriander, ginger, and wasabi. Why: their pungent flavor. Also, they are often unfamiliar.
  • Black Licorice. Why: its strong, bitter flavor.
  • Cantaloupe and durian. Why: their strong smell. 

Grains are ok

In general, most grains are rarely disliked foods. Bread. Rice. Pasta. Couscous. Cereals. Bakery foods. Pizza.


Some people may dislike some spices. This is mostly due to a peculiar or unfamiliar flavor.

The most hated sweet foods

In general, few people dislike sweets. Among sweet foods, marzipan is the most hated. The reasons are its too sweet flavor and sticky texture.

3) Etiquette for asking guests about their most disliked foods

It is perfect etiquette to ask your guests about their dietary restrictions or personal tastes.

In written formal invitations, it is sufficient to ask guests to please inform the hosts about any dietary requirements. 

In informal invitations, a simple “do you follow any diet or have any dietary restriction?” works. Another option is to ask if guests avoid or dislike any food.

It is against etiquette to ask further questions. Such as why someone excludes or dislikes a certain food. The reason could be a lifestyle choice, individual preference, or a health condition.

If you have a genuine curiosity, you may ask such questions. However, it is polite to justify your curiosity. In other words, state why you are curious about it. Be apologetic. Never judge or question the answers you get.

best menu practices to deal with the most disliked foods

4) Disliked foods menu planning etiquette

Follow these key principles to deal with guests’ individual food preferences.

Serve each food on its dedicated plate 

Do not serve multiple foods on the same plate. Instead, try to separate them. Assign a plate to each food or ingredient. Serve condiments and sauces separated from food.

This way you allow guests to pick the foods they can eat. Or to avoid the ones they cannot eat or dislike. 

Include safe options 

Many foods are allowed in almost every diet. Such as vegetables and fruit. Plan some safe dishes that almost any guest will be able to eat. As an example, only a few people say no to baked potatoes or salad.

Balancing the presence of often disliked foods. Do not fill your menu with them. Include only a few potentially unpopular foods in the whole menu.

Avoid risky foods

Many foods are not allowed in many diets. Pork meat. Alcohol. Beef. Crustaceans. Many others are often disliked.

If you are unsure about your guests’ diet or food preferences, play safe. Avoid cooking these foods altogether. Or, at least, plan one or two dishes without them.

Mitigate the negative traits of the most hated foods

The most disliked foods tend to have a few traits in common. As a host, you can improve your menu by mitigating such traits.

You can improve the taste of food by pairing it with sauces or accompaniments. Or by cooking them in a specific way. For example, the creamy texture of avocado becomes a positive trait in a crunchy salad. Aubergines can become delicious if you cook them right. Rest them in water and salt to eliminate the bitterness. Then deep-fry to make them crisp. 

5) Most hated food guest etiquette

With disliked foods, guests must follow etiquette too. Otherwise, they risk disrespecting or annoying their host and the other guests.

Do not expect the host to guess your food tastes

If you do not eat some foods, clearly state it with your host. 

It is bad etiquette to expect a change in the menu based on your needs. Instead, you may ask if there may be some options for you. Be apologetic in your requests. It is rude to do otherwise. As a guest, you do not want to sound entitled.

Be accommodating. Do not expect the host to accommodate your requests. 

Politely refuse food that you do not eat

If the host serves food that you do not eat, simply avoid it. If the host or another guest explicitly offers such food to you, politely refuse it. It is enough to say “no, thank you”. 

Provide additional detail only if someone asks you. It is good etiquette to be brief. Otherwise, do not annoy others with your individual food preferences.

Do not impose your food taste on the other guests

Never expect others to adjust to your diet. Do not expect your hosts to change their menu to accommodate your needs. Similarly, at a restaurant, do not expect the other guests to change their food order. 

most hated foods etiquette mistakes

Hated foods etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst hated foods etiquette mistakes. 

  • 8/10. Serving a menu based on uncommon or often-disliked foods.
  • 7/10. Imposing your personal food tastes on others.