In China, meeting up over lunch or dinner to talk about important meetings or formal gatherings is very common. However, this kind of occasion is often difficult to cope or handle as there are a lot of unspoken Chinese dining etiquette to follow. Dining etiquette occupies a very important role and place in the culture of China. Aside from that, demonstrating good Chinese dining etiquette will not only leave you a good impression on others, but also thought to be a way to promote health and good fortune.
Here are 5 basic Chinese dining etiquette one should know and follow:
1) Older people eats and sits first
Regardless of whether you are at a banquet or simply having a gathering at home, it is very important for Chinese people to serve and wait for the elders to eat first before others start eating. Showing respect for the elders is highly valued in China and even here in the Philippines.
2) Use chopsticks with care
Chopsticks are a tool for eating, so don’t play with chopsticks. It is considered rude to treat chopsticks as drumsticks as well as a tool to point or gesture. Aside from that, it is absolutely not allowed to vertically stick or insert chopsticks in a bowl of rice or in any dish. This gesture is considered to be a taboo as the chopsticks looked like an incense stick at the funeral, which is considered unlucky. When using chopsticks to get a piece of food, it is advisable to avoid touching other foods. If possible, use the public chopsticks and spoon next to it.
3) Everyone has to wait for the guest/s to eat before others starts eating
Guests are given utmost importance during formal banquets or even simple gatherings. Aside from assigning a special seat for the guest in the round table, Chinese people usually wait for them to eat first before others start eating, just like the elders. The host and other members of the party should also arrive earlier than the guests to show their hospitality.
4) Toasting to guests is an integral part of any dinner
Chinese people rarely drink alcohol in their daily meals, however, wine plays an important role during banquets or feats. At the beginning of the banquet, the host must make a toast to the guests. Beer or soda can be used to toast. It is necessary to add wine or soda to others before adding it to yourself.
5) Place both hands on the table while eating
We often see some scenes on TV and movies that groups of people eating together uses their one hand to eat and get food, while the other hand is below the table making unnecessary movements. This gesture is considered very impolite and disrespectful to others who are on the same table as you. Aside from that, having only one hand on the table can also make your bowls easily spill. It is advisable to use one hand for the bowl and another hand to eat or get food.
So there you have it! Always take note of these 5 basic dining etiquette the next time you’re dining out or simply having a simple gathering at home. We’re sure your angkong and amas will be proud of you!