Appetizers and hors d'oeuvre are the enticing entrance to a full meal. They pique the appetite without satisfying it and encourage easy conversation among gathered guests. Appetizers can be plated or passed, but they are most often finger food, easy to eat while standing and never overly messy in the hands.
Appetizers are mini meals that go by different names around the world. Spaniards have tapas, delicious bar food with a deep history. The Italians throw together antipasti platters with elegant simplicity. Hunger pangs in the eastern Mediterranean are calmed with meze and a beverage. Cantonese diners pick out an entire meal from dim sum carts. And the spicy chaat of India are some of the most flavorful snacks in the world.