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Basic dining etiquette & customs in China

(People's Daily Online)

09:35, June 14, 2012

Dinning etiquette in China can be quite intricate and daunting at first. The following etiquette and customs may ease your nervousness and make you enjoy China's cuisine more. Dinning etiquette in China can be quite intricate and daunting at first. The following etiquette and customs may ease your nervousness and make you enjoy China's cuisine more.

In Chinese restaurants, knives should not be seen on the table. Chopsticks, bowls and soup spoons are the traditional table ware. Food is always cut into bite sized pieces, whole meats such as pig, fish and poultry are cooked till they are so tender that the meat can be removed right off the bones with chopsticks. When using chopsticks don't point them directly at people and never stick them standing upright in your rice bowl -- this is a reminder of the incense burned at funerals.

Use a clean spoon solely for taking food from communal plates for yourself or others, if you serve someone with your own chopsticks, use the blunt ends that don't go into your mouth. Though you may see that Chinese people take food directly with their own chopsticks sometimes, especially it will be like that when people have meals with their families, relatives and intimate friends. If you're invited to be a guest at a meal, don't be surprised that if your host orders more food than you can have, this is the way for Chinese people to "save face" and show their hospitality. And also, please don't be surprised if your host keeps serving you choice morsels of food even you don't ask for it, this is another way to show hospitality.

In Chinese customs, the inviter always pays for the meal, unless amongst friends or in an informal setting. It is polite to make an effort to pay, but expect strong resistance, that is why in many Chinese restaurants, it is a common sight to see two people arguing loudly after a meal-they're fighting for the right to pay. When you are not so sure what to do, simply ask your guides or do as local people do.

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Anon at 2012-06-1560.50.42.*
Dinning etiquette in China can be quite intricate and daunting at first. The following etiquette and customs may ease your nervousness and make you enjoy China"s cuisine more. Dining etiquette in China can be quite intricate and daunting at first. The following etiquette and customs may ease your nervousness and make you enjoy China"s cuisine more.In Chinese restaurants, knives are not be seen on the table. Chopsticks, bowls and soup spoons are the traditional table ware. With various exotic picks and tweezers for some foods as well. Food is often pre-cut into bite sized pieces, whole meats such as pork, fish and poultry are cooked till they are so tender that the meat can be removed right off the bones with chopsticks if not already deboned. When using chopsticks don"t point them directly at people and never stick them standing upright in your rice bowl -- this is a reminder of the incense offerings which are spiritual and unsuitably depicted even quite in a dining area.Use a the porcelain serving spoons for taking food from main dishplates for yourself or others, you can also offer to someone with your own chopsticks, but use the larger ends instead of the narrow ones which are for yourself. In informal settings, Chinese people take food directly with their own chopsticks sometimes, with their families, relatives and intimate friends.If you"re invited to be a guest at a meal, don"t be surprised that if your host orders more food than you can have, this is the way for Chinese people to "show face" and their hospitality. And also, don"t be surprised if some hosts keep serving you choice morsels of food unasked for, or order more dishes, this is a way to show hospitality, usually for the first meal at any rate. When full simply stop eating even as more dishes may arrive or be ordered.In Chinese custom, the inviter always pays for the meal, unless amongst friends or in an informal setting. It is polite to make an effort to pay, but expect "taiji banter", that is why in Chinese restaurants, it is not an uncommon sight to see people discussing intently something no end after a meal, they"re "sparring" for the right to pay. When you are not so sure what to do, simply ask your guides or do as local people do, or with age or status in mind paty, if not allowing a younger or poorer person to "gain face" in mind, let pay.Note : Save face implies loss of face to begin with. That line should go "show face". The article is a bit rough.
  

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