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Chinese Eating Etiquette

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Chinese eating etiquette


Chinese eating etiquette are quite different from American or English eating etiquette. Learn here some basic details of Chinese eating intricacies.


 An Overview of Chinese Eating Etiquette

How to seat

  • Wait till your host indicates your chair at dinner table because seating position at dinner table matters a lot for Chinese people.

How to eat

  • It is important to learn the use of chopsticks, while eating with Chinese people; if you do not know the tricks, tell the host before you proceed for the table. Never start eating on your own; wait until the host starts the meal.
  • Contrary to Western norms, splurging or burping is allowed on Chinese table rather it is taken as a compliment of the food being well-cooked.
  • If you do not want your tea cup to be refilled, leave a little tea at its bottom so that the server knows you do not want more tea.
  • In case wine is served in a Chinese dinner or lunch, women participants, according to Chinese social etiquette, should not take wine.
  • According to Chinese serving style, foods are served on a revolving tray so wait till it comes to you by rotation. Except, rice and soup bowl, sharing is one of the main unique aspects of Chinese eating etiquette. For more information about Chinese table manners read this blog. 

How to serve

  • It is good to serve others before you serve yourself.
  • Never put bones on the plate; use a seperate bowl for keeping bones apart.
  • You can hold the rice bowl in one hand; however lifting any flat plate from table is not a sophisticated practice according to Chinese eating manner.
  • Leave some food in your bowl; it indicates that your meal over. It will also make your host happy.
  • The big soup bowl should be placed in  the middle of the table; duck or chicken head should not be pointed at guests. Same rule is applicable for tea pot spout.

How to Use Chopsticks

  • Never keep chopsticks covered by food juice or food residues, or never use chopstick for making sound with any other utensil.
  • Do not lick or suck chopstick, never use it as fork or like a toothpick.
  • Never keep chopstick vertically on a rice bowl as it is similar to a custom of putting incense stick for the dead.


  • If you ever take your guests to a Chinese restaurant, always order an even number of dishes; odd numbers of dishes are ordered in meals arranged for a funeral, according to Chinese hospitality norms.


Learning Chinese eating etiquette does not end here; however, with these basic guidelines, you will never be at an awkward position while attending a Chinese lunch or dinner party.


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Chinese Eating Etiquette