another Lunar New Year approaches, The Year of
the Rooster, on Wednesday, 9 February, I thought
I would share a few tips on Chinese table manners to encourage
you to enjoy a Chinese meal in the immediate weeks ahead
(see last announcement) and to help you feel more comfortably
the next time you're invited to a Chinese banquet.
for the host to begin before you start eating or drinking. In
Chinese etiquette the host always begins each dish
by serving the guest of honor and one or two other
at least a bite of every dish. Your host will
be looking at you to see your fortitude.
- Always offer food or tea to someone else before
you serve yourself. You would be considered
a pig and without manners if you serve yourself first.
serving dishes on the table or lazy Susan rather than
picking them up or passing them around. You
may reach across others to get food from a serving
helpings of foods are fine. However, cleaning
your plate can mean the host did not provide enough
food to satisfy you.
not take the last piece of food on the serving platter. It's
considered bad luck, shows your greed, and seems you
are too hungry to take the piece of a dish.
chopsticks a chance. Practice manipulating
the world's oldest eating utensils (keep in mind that
even little children use them in Asia!). During a meal,
it is considered rude and a sign of bad luck to lay
your chopsticks vertically parallel on the top of the
bowl or leave them sticking up in the bowl. Try not
to drop your chopsticks either, as this, too, is a
sign of bad luck. Most of all, in the absence of serving
spoons, use the wider, top end of your chopsticks,
not the end that goes into your mouth, to take food
from serving dishes.
meal conversations light and general. Discuss
the arts, food, and the well being of children and
family members during the meal, not business. As in
all cultures, no politics or religion.
putting your hands in your mouth for any reason while
at the table. If you must take something out
of your mouth, such as bones, gristle, or another item,
use your chopsticks and place the item to the side
of your plate, or use a toothpick.
both hands to hold your glass when giving and receiving
toasts. Customarily the host will begin the
dinner with a toast of welcome. After the second or
third course, the guest of honor might say a few words
and return a toast. Chinese historically do not clink
glasses. Lifting a glass with both hands to shoulder
height shows the utmost respect.
Do not linger much past the end of the meal. The
host typically encourages guests to take any uneaten
food home. If offered food, take it. If you are the
guest of honor, you should arrive first and leave first.
GUNG HAY FAT
view our past Etiquette Tips of the Month, please choose a
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