As we all know, Chinese people are very hospitable and they usually invite guests to have a meal together. Unlike the individual dining system in Western countries, China has unique eating etiquette. If you are invited by a Chinese friend, there are some rules you should know when eating with Chinese people.
[Recommended Reading: SOME SOCIAL ETIQUETTE YOU SHOULD KNOW AS AN EXPAT IN CHINA ]
- The Chinese host will prepare as much food as possible for the guests to show their care and respect.
- The Chinese host will use chopsticks to put food into the guest's bowl or plate, which is a symbol of friendship. If you are very concerned about this (hygiene issue), also remember to say "thank you" and leave the food there.
- Always let the elderly eat first (if any)
- Don't put the chopsticks vertically in the rice, it looks like an incense burner. Chinese people burn incense to ancestors and families who have passed away and gods on festivals or anniversaries. It is very unlucky to "burn incense" during meals. The correct way is to put the chopsticks next to the bowl.
- Don't hit the cutlery or table with chopsticks. In the eyes of the Chinese, only beggars would do that.
- Don't suck or bite chopsticks.
- Don't put the bowl on the table when eating, but hold it up.
- Don't move the plate to get the dish you want to eat.
- It is best not to leave the table early until the host leaves. If you have to do this, remember to say "I am full, and enjoy it." ("wo chi bao le, ni men man man chi!" in Chinese.)
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