difference between Chinese and western eating habits is that unlike the West, where
everyone has their own plate of food, in China the dishes are placed on the table and
everybody shares. If you are being treated by a Chinese host, be prepared for a ton of
food. Chinese are very proud of their culture of cuisine and will do their best to show
And sometimes the Chinese host
use their chopsticks to put food in your bowl or plate. This is a sign of politeness. The
appropriate thing to do would be to eat the whatever-it-is and say how yummy it is. If you
feel uncomfortable with this, you can just say a polite thank you and leave the food
Don't stick your chopsticks
upright in the rice bowl.Instead,lay them on your dish. The reason for this is that when
somebody dies,the shrine to them contains a bowl of sand or rice with two sticks of
incense stuck upright in it. So if you stick your chopsticks in the rice bowl, it looks
like this shrine and is equivalent to wishing death upon a person at the table!
Make sure the spout of the
teapot is not facing anyone. It is impolite to set the teapot down where the spout is
facing towards somebody. The spout should always be directed to where nobody is sitting,
usually just outward from the table.
Don't tap on your bowl with
your chopsticks.Beggars tap on their bowls, so this is not polite.Also, when the food is
coming too slow in a restarant, people will tap their bowls. If you are in someone's
home,it is like insulting the cook.
Gan Bei! (Cheers! Gan
Bei literally means dry [the] glass) Besides beer, the official
Chinese alcoholic beverage is Bai Jiu,high-proof Chinese liquor made from assorted grains.
There are varying degrees of Bai Jiu. The Beijing favorite is called Er Guo Tou, which is
a whopping 56% alcohol. More expensive are Maotai and Wuliangye.