Recently I got yelled at by a stranger (middle-aged man) when I was eating pizza, which I purchased at a cheap restaurant (and chose take-away), sitting on a bench in Riga. He just said something to me while he was passing in front of me, which I ignored since I didn't understand Latvian or Russian, but then in a few seconds he looked back and said something to me again.

It was clear that he was telling me something about my pizza, given his gesture (he used a hand gesture of eating pizza). He didn't stop walking and simply said something to me while walking. I feel he was not in a positive tone.

So I wonder if it is considered bad manners to eat in public places in Latvia, such as on a bench or in a park.

I found one interesting answer on Quora, to a question titled "What are some cultural taboos in Latvia?":

  • Another cultural taboo is being disrespectful to food. If you throw around pieces of bread and stuff while eating, expect to be scolded by a concerned Latvian.

Is it socially acceptable or considered inappropriate to eat pizza in public places in Latvia?

  • 1
    The same thing happened to me while eating on a sidewalk in France mid-afernoon. I am originally French, but I've lived so many years in the US, that's one of the habits I've picked up. In any case, I know I break taboos in the US when I dunk my croissant in my coffee. And I know I break taboos in France when I eat a kebab sandwich while walking on the street, but I clean up after myself. And as long as I don't eat in France on a city bus, or in a museum, or in a church, or inside a store, etc., I don't see a problem with my behavior. Sep 23, 2017 at 12:59
  • You encountered some eccentric individual.. Maybe he was just pointing out that pizza is not a Latvian dish so you should enjoy something else. Anyway, it is OK to eat pizza in public places. Sep 27, 2017 at 14:40
  • I was told off by a lady in Riga a few days ago, I think in Latvian. Was walking and talking to a Norwegian friend and it was raining so I moved the block of chocolate he gave me as a gift from my outside coat pocket to my inner pocket, perhaps waving it about a bit while chatting. While I was doing this a pretty friendly tried to ask us for something, I think in Russian. He did mention the chocolate but as it was a gift and not even open yet it didn't seem right to give it away. The beggar was not offended. The lady came just after. All I can think is she thought I was teasing the beggar?? Dec 11, 2019 at 18:55

3 Answers 3


It's not taboo here in Latvia. It's more than OK to eat outside.

However, throwing food on the ground in Latvia would be just rude manner. If You have leftovers just throw out at nearest trash (which we have a lot in public space and must be at every shop/takeaway/building and in most parks near benches).

About yelling... well, hard to say. I assume that's individual.

Hope Your stay here was OK.

Source: being Latvian in Latvia :D


No such taboo exists anywhere in Europe. People routinely eat on the streets, in cars, on buses and other 'non-standard' places. There is in fact a folk saying in Slavic countries about avoiding throwing out bread, but it doesn't apply to your scenario and it's not really relevant in modern times when food is plentiful. So enjoy your pizza anywhere you go without concerns.

Source: traveling to the Baltic countries.


Are you certain it was about the pizza?

I was once spoken to sternly by a couple of (the equivalent of) gendarmes in Romania while I was eating pizza in the park. It wasn't because of the pizza. It was because I was sitting cross-legged, which meant I had my shoes on the bench.

Once I thought about the state of most Romanian sidewalks, it became clear why this was frowned upon. I took my feet off the bench, and promised not to do it again.

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