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Table Manners in China


? Chinese food is famous around the world .

? If you are in China and go out with your Chinese friend to a dinner, you may want to know ……

Table Manners in China
----By ----By Joanna Liu

? Seating ? Before dinner ? Tableware ? Food ? Eating etiquette

? Drinks & toast ? Smoking ? Pay for bill ? Invited to a friend’s home

Seating
? In China , it’s necessary to know how to pick up your seat at the table . ? If you are not sure what to do , just wait the host to tell .

? Different from the western , tables in China are usually round . ? Normally , the seat facing the door (seat 1) is for the host or the hostess.

? At a small table, the seat right across of the host seat, the back of which is facing the door (seat 2), is the seat for the main guest.

? But when it’s a bigger table, the host or hostess and main guest can just sit side by side to make it easier for them to talk. (seat 3 or 4 for the main guest . )

Before dinner
? The elderly or guest(s) of honour are usually the first to start the meal. ? Before that , you have to wait . ?Before dinner , you’ll be served by a cup of tea .

Tea
? Tea is for rinsing the mouth ,which means making your mouth ready for eating .

Tableware
? Different from the west , Chinese food is usually cut into proper sizes when cooking ,so you don’t have to use folks or knives to eat them . ? As a result , you’ll use different tableware when you enjoy Chinese food .

Tableware
? Table setting

? Chopsticks

Table setting

Table setting

Table setting

Chopsticks
? Chopsticks is the main tool for eating .

Chopsticks
? Chopsticks should always be held correctly, i.e. between the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand.

Chopsticks
? Chopsticks are traditionally held in the right hand only, even for the left-handed. ? One explanation for the treatment of such usage as improper is that within the confines of a round table this may be inconvenient.

? Here’s some other tips for using chopsticks correctly.

Tips for using chopsticks
? When not in use, chopsticks must always be placed neatly on the table with two sticks lying tidily next to each other at both ends. ? Crossing them is rude .

Tips for using chopsticks
? Never point the chopsticks at another person. ? This amounts to insulting that person .

Tips for using chopsticks
? Never suck the chopsticks.

Tips for using chopsticks
? Never bang chopsticks like drumsticks. This is akin to telling others at the table you are a beggar.

Tips for using chopsticks
? Decide what to pick up before reaching with chopsticks, instead of hovering them over or rummaging through dishes.

Tips for using chopsticks
? When picking up a piece of food, never use the tips of your chopsticks to poke through the food as with a fork; exceptions include tearing apart larger items such as vegetables.

Tips for using chopsticks
? Never stab chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice, as this resembles incense sticks used at temples to pay respects to the deceased. ? This is considered the ultimate dinner table faux pas.

Tips for using chopsticks
? Don’t use chopsticks to move bowl or plate .

Tips for using communal chopsticks
? When there are communal chopsticks, use them to transfer food from a common dish to one's own plate or bowl.

? When communal chopsticks are not provided, it is considered polite (and sanitary) to use the blunt end of one's own chopsticks to serve a guest by transferring food from the common dish to a guest's plate or bowl.

Food
? The main difference between Chinese and west eating habits, where everyone has their own plate of food, is that in China the dishes are placed on the table and everybody shares.

Food
? If you are being treated by a Chinese host, be prepared for a ton of food. Chinese are very proud of their culture of food and will do their best to give you a taste of many different types of cuisine.


Food
? Among friends, they will just order enough for the people there. Usually they will order one more dish than the number of guests (e.g. four people, five dishes).

Food
? If it is a business dinner or a very formal occasion, there is likely to be a huge amount of food that will be impossible to finish.

Food
? ? ? ? ? ? ? A typical Chinese meal consists of : Cold dishes Main courses Soup The starchy “staple” food Snack and dessert Fruit

Cold dishes
? A typical meal starts with some cold dishes, like boiled peanuts , smashed cucumber, red dates & beans and Chicken Legs. ?They’re like appetizer in the west .

Cold dishes
? Cold dishes are usually served before dinner , but don’t eat before dinner start .

Main dishes
?Cold dishes are followed by the main courses, hot meat and vegetable dishes. Pork & beef

Main dishes
Meat balls

Main dishes
Chicken & duck

Main dishes
Vegetable

Main dishes
Sea food

Soup
? Then , soup is brought out.

The starchy “staple” food
? Soup is followed by the starchy "staple" food, which is usually rice or noodles or sometimes dumplings.

The starchy “staple” food
? Many Chinese eat rice (or noodles or whatever) last, but if you like to have your rice together with other dishes, you should say so early on.

Snacks and dessert
? Sometimes they’ll be replaced by snacks and dessert like baozi , dabing or cakes.

Fruit
? Sometimes , some fruit will be served .

Eating etiquette
? Generally, Chinese table manners are more informal than the West, although there are more rules concerning interactions with other guests .

Eating etiquette
? Chinese trend to talk loudly during the dinner and different from the west , talking with a full mouth is usually allowed though some people think it is impolite . ? Besides , when you are eating or drinking , make some sound is allowed .But place the china bowls and plates quietly。

Eating etiquette
? Eating with the elbows on the table is allowed. ? Belch is not good but you don’t have to avoid it intentionally . ? When eating food that contains bones, it is customary that the bones be spat out onto the dining plate in a neat pile. Spitting onto the floor is almost never acceptable.

Drinks & toast
? Drinks plays an important role in Chinese food culture .

Drinks

Toast

Pouring

Drinks
? Usually , both hard drink and beverage are served throughout the meal . ? It is customary for the host to insist that guests drink to "show friendship." ? If the guests prefers not to drink, they may say, "I'm unable to drink, but thank you." [in Chinese: "Wo bu neng he jiu, xie xie." ]

Drinks
? The host may continue to insist that the guests drink, and the guests may likewise continue to insist upon being "unable" to drink. ? The host's insistance is to show generosity. Therefore, refusal by the guests should be made with utmost politeness.

Drinks
? Common hard drinks in dinner: ? Baijiu ? Huangjiu ? Wine & beer

Baijiu
? Baijiu, or shaojiu (烧酒) is a Chinese distilled alcoholic beverage. The name baijiu literally means "white spirits". ? It is usually distilled from sorghum, glutinous rice, or wheat . ? Baijiu has a greater proportion of alcohol than huangjiu and wine .And it’s usually drank with smaller cups.

Huangjiu
? Huangjiu is a special Chinese alcoholic drink . It literally means “yellow wine". ? It is made of rice without being distilled . ? And it has a lower alcoholic strength (usually about 20%).

Wine & beer
? As international drinks , wine and beer are also served. ? And wine is popular in China now , especially among ladies . ? Beer is usually served in summer .

Pouring
? The host should pour for the guests and always make sure everyone's cups are not empty for long to show hospitality . ? One should not pour for oneself, but if thirsty one should first offer to pour for a neighbor.

Pouring
? When your drink is being poured, you should say "thank you" . ? But if you don’t want to drink any more , you could say “hao hao hao” or “gou le gou le ” to stop pouring .

Toast
? During the meal , we make toasts to make a friendly atmosphere . ? Toast means clinking the rim of each other’s glasses and saying “gan bei ” .

Toast
? Usually , the hosts propose a toast to all the guests and every one “gan bei” together . ? Sometimes ,the younger or junior guests make toasts to the elderly or senior .In fact , If a guest drinks alcohol, the guest will be expected [if not forced] to drink a glass of the same alcohol with each superior at that table, and possibly at other tables too .

Smoking
? Smoking is customary when dining, and the host will often pass out cigarettes to all [men] around the table. If the guest prefers not to smoke, she/he should politely refuse (one would say, "Wo bu chou yen, xie xie").

Pay for bill
? People will pay the bill after the meal . ? On paying , fifty-fifty is not well-accepted . ? If you want to show your hospitality , you can treat the host to dinner next time .

Invited to a friend’s home
? You don’t have to obey all the rules when you are invited to have dinner in a friend’s home . ? Make yourself at home and you can ask when you don’t know what to do . ? Just remember the following tips .

Tips
? 1,A gift is good , but not necessary . ? 2,The table may be square .And the seat facing the door is still for the host (the senior in the family ,usually the father). ? 3, Talk during the dinner . ? 4, You’ll have a bowl (for rice and food), a spoon (for soup ) and chopsticks only . Remember the usage of chopsticks mentioned before .

The last advice
? If you don’t know anything or forget everything about table manners , you can apologize before the meal and obey international rules . ? Most Chinese will be understanding .

Enjoy delicious Chinese food !

Thank you !


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