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Top 10 Chinese Dinner Etiquette Tips When You’re Eating Chinese Food

Here are some tips on Chinese etiquette when you’re about to eat Chinese food.

1

The Teapot Lid

Typically Chinese tea will be served. When the tea runs out, tilt (or open) the lid to signify to the waiter that they need to refill it.

2

Tapping the table

As tea will be poured a LOT, there may even be two teapots on the same table, when someone pours you tea, instead of saying ‘Thank You’ which may interrupt someone speaking, you use two or three fingers to tap the table twice to show your thanks.

3

Upright chopsticks

Do not place your chopsticks upright into the rice as this symbolises sacrifice.

4

Serving order

If you’re serving food or pouring tea for others, make sure you serve your eldest first to youngest and then finally yourself.

5

Drumming

No drumming with your chopsticks.

6

Someone gives you food

It's not because they don't think you can do it or that they don't want it, it's actually a sign of respect. Normally people will do this to their elders.

7

Respect the chopsticks

We’re aware there’s a lot of rules about chopsticks but basically just respect them. Don’t wave them around, don’t point them at people, don’t pick your teeth with them...just eat with them...kapisch?

8

Rice

White rice is generally served in a bowl to everyone and is eaten a little bit at a time using the other dishes on the table to flavour them with.

9

Wait for it

Don’t touch/eat the food until everyone is seated and ready to eat. Typically everyone say a ‘Bon Appetit’ (in Chinese of course) which signifies that everyone can start eating.

10

No fingers or knives

Yeah it’s going to be difficult, but knives are generally not placed on the table. Whatever you need to pick up, cut etc you do it with your chopsticks, no matter how small/round the item is.

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