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Chinese culture: Chinese Etiquette-table manners

~Learn some chinese host hospitality and table manners to make your life in China better~

Do you learn about the  chinese table manners?As social beings, we have specific standards for a plethora of things. We construct metrics of proper behavior in different situations. These are what we call “social etiquette.”

Since ancient times, good manners and proper conduct have always been critical, especially in societal gatherings. Before modern times, people could judge your upbringing through your behavior. After all, nobles and aristocrats spend their lives refining their social etiquette. They always maintain a religious adherence to these strict rules. That is why before, the more refined your etiquette are, the better your social background.

Etiquette plays an imperative role in cultures. Even more so in China. Along with its rich history and culture comes a refined sense of adherence to social etiquette. Thousands of years established specific social standards by which everyone must conform. That’s where we will dive into today, into the rich world of Chinese table manners (餐桌礼仪cān zhuōlǐ yí): the etiquette of eating.

To substantiate proper manners during meals, we must explore the different aspects of meals. Through this, we can properly explore the world of table manners.

Knowledge tips:

餐桌礼仪(cān zhuō lǐ yí ): table manners

餐桌(cānzhuō): Both are the first tones, and the phrase means table.

礼仪(lǐ yí ): the third tone and the second tone, = etiquette

For example,

Běn piān wén zhāng jiāng jiè shào yì xiē Zhōng guó jī běn cān zhuō lǐ yí.

本 篇 文章 将 介绍 一些 中国 基本 餐桌 礼仪

This article will introduce some basic Chinese table manners.

1. Attending  A Party 

First things first, punctuality. It is always rude to show up late to a party, especially if it’s a special one. That is why it is etiquette to arrive at the event minutes before its official start. However, if there are hindrances along the way preventing you from adhering to this rule, it is polite to explain the situation to the host (东道主dōng dào zhǔ) at the moment of arrival. 

It is also crucial to meet and greet the host first after arriving at the venue. 

Knowledge tips:

Host (东道主dōng dào zhǔ)

Zhōngguó shì nián dōng’àohuì de dōngdàozhǔ.

中国是 2022 年 冬奥会 的 东道主。

China is the host country of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

2. Meals

When already at the meal, you must carry yourself with refined behavior. After sitting down, the posture must be proper. Slouching and mooning over is rude. Therefore, you must sit with elbows at the edge of the table while maintaining an upright posture. You can also put your hand on the back of the chair next to you. Leg shaking and other extraneous movements are also impolite.

There are also some etiquette to follow when eating. First, contrary to popular belief, sounds during eating are impertinent. You must not have chewing or slurping sounds when eating. Furthermore, it is critical to swallow the food in your mouth before talking or engaging in conversation.

3. Use of Chopsticks (筷子kuài zi)

As we all know, the main utensil in Chinese dining is chopsticks. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the etiquette when using this cutlery.

Chinese cuisine is perfect for chopsticks. After all, most meals are in bite sizes or small chunks for chopsticks to pick up. That is why Chinese people consider it discourteous when “spearing” food. Chopsticks are only for picking and clipping food. It is also rude to use chopsticks (筷子kuài zi) for pointing, teeth picking, moving the bowls. In addition, it is also offensive to chew and wave around a chopstick.

Furthermore, when clipping food, do not clip too much simultaneously. A social dinner is different from dinner at home. Savoring the meal with good company is the essence of a social meal.

Lastly, with the pandemic still large at hand, using different chopsticks for serving is a must, especially when eating hotpots.

Knowledge tips:

Chopsticks (筷子kuài zi)

Qǐng bú yào ná kuài zi zhǐ zhe bié rén


Please don’t point at others with chopsticks.

4. Eating speed

 Eating speed is also an imperative aspect of Chinese dining. In social dinners, you cannot eat fast or slow. The pace of your meal should be the same for everyone. The reason for this is that meals are considered important social conventions. Like food, savoring a good conversation is also optimal for us. However, too long of a meal might cause constipation or decrease the quality of the food. Consequently, eating at a moderate pace is the best. 

After supper, remember to thank the host for his warm hospitality. 

You can also learn more about chinese food culture in here.

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