The Etiquette of Dining in Modern China (1) ~ The Taboos You Must Know!


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

The Etiquette of Dining in Modern China (1) ~ The Taboos You Must Know!

  1. 1. The Etiquette of Dining in Modern China ~ The Taboos You Must Know! (Compiled by Glenda Gao from GoGo Mandarin) Chinese dining etiquette has traditionally been quite elaborate given the interest of the Chinese in all things edible. Although contemporary Chinese dining etiquette does not employ all those traditions, there are still numerous customs to be observed bearing in mind how much importance the Chinese attach to eating as a socially interactive experience. Whether you are the host or a guest, mastering the niceties of Chinese eating and drinking is a must. The following pieces of guidance can be used in both formal and informal dining situations. 中国餐桌礼仪博大精深。中国人自古就很讲究吃。现代用餐虽然用不着那么繁文缛 节,但是必要的礼仪是少不了的,因在中国,用餐是头等重要的社交经验。无论你 是主人或客人,掌握一些中式餐饮规则是必需的。以下提到的一些方面,正式与非 正式场合(用餐)都适应。 Shaking hands: The host and guests will often shake hands either prior to being seated at the beginning of the meal or when bidding farewell at the end. The usual order for shaking hands is: host with the guest of honour, followed by the oldest attendee, the boss, ladies, juniors etc. Because some Chinese ladies are not used to shaking hands with men it is best for men to wait to see if the lady is going to extend her hand in greeting. If not, then it is safest simply to make a small bow as a sign of greeting. Some Chinese men do not shake hands in the same firm manner as westerners which may give the impression that the Chinese counterpart is not genuine or does not really care about the occasion. In fact, a loose handshake is simply a sign that they do not want to appear as being domineering and aggressive.
  2. 2. 握手礼仪:无论在用餐就坐前,或餐后道别时,主人与宾客通常都会握手致意。握 手的顺序是:主人/贵宾,长辈,上司,女士,晚辈。因有些中国女性不习惯与男 士握手,故要等女生先伸手才可握之,否则可以点头鞠躬致意。 有些中国男士握手时不会像西方人那样 紧握对方的手,这或许会给你漫不经心的感觉,其实不然,那是因为他们不想给人 咄咄逼人的印象。 Seating: The seat opposite the main door of the dining area is traditionally the seat of honour (usually occupied by the host), but if there is no doorway the seat of honour can be the one facing the east with the most important guests seated on the host’s left and right and with the least important attendees seated directly opposite the host (usually the host’s assistant). If one arrives early, one should seat oneself by the doorway. Generally, one should only sit down after the older people, the guest(s) of honour and any ladies present have been seated. If you happen to be the host you may come across situations where your Chinese guests refuse to sit at honoured positions (out of modesty) and on such occasions the host may have to gently press the guests a couple of times (and sometimes more) before they will eventually accept the seat. Of course, if you are a guest, you can show similar courtesies to display your familiarity with Chinese culture. 入席礼仪:正对大门的座位为首席(通常是买单的人),如无大门,则面东的一侧 ,其次是首席左右手边的位置(主宾和副主宾通常坐在主人的右侧和左侧),面对 首席及靠门的位置通常为邀请人的助理。如提前到达,要坐靠门的位置等待。通常 要等长辈,贵宾,女士坐定后,方可入座。如果你做东,有时你会遇到中国客人出 于礼貌拒绝坐上座的情况,这时你要坚持,通常礼让一两次以后,他们会妥协。当 然如果你是客人,你也可以礼让一下,更显你熟谙中国的风俗。 Dining etiquette: When starting the meal it is customary to wait for the host to pick up his or her chopsticks. Of course, if you serve those next to you
  3. 3. unprompted, you will convey an impression of friendliness and sophistication. If there are no serving chopsticks on the table it is permissible to use the thick end of your own chopsticks (i.e. the end that does not make contact with your own mouth). Before pouring tea for oneself one should always pour tea for others, especially those seated right next to you. If anyone pours tea for you it is customary to touch your tea cup or gently tap the table with the knuckles of your index and middle fingers to signal thanks. 用餐礼仪:用餐时要等尊者先动快。如果你主动帮你身边的客人夹菜,就更显你的 友好与教养。如果没有公筷,可用自己筷子的另一端。在给自己斟茶前应先给其他 人斟茶,尤其要招呼你身边的客人。 如别人为你斟茶,要用手轻碰茶杯或用“扣指礼”以表谢意。 When serving either oneself or others, one should always choose food from that part of the serving plate nearest you. One should not take food from the middle of the plate or from sides of the plate facing other guests. Nor should one pick over the food on the serving plates choosing certain items and not others. Picking up items of food and then putting them back on the plate displays distinct lack of breeding in the Chinese mind. When eating remember to keep your elbows in so that you do not end up hitting those people seated either side of you. Some foods such as crab or prawns can be eaten with the hands but remember – never lick your fingers, because this is considered a sign of gluttony and lack of upbringing. Many people in China (particularly the older generation) tend to make a slurping sound when they eat which shows that they are enjoying the food. But this custom is less prevalent with increasing numbers of Chinese who have studied in the West or have been exposed to Western culture. 取菜时,应从盘子靠近或面对自己的盘边夹起,不要从盘子中间或靠近别人的一边 夹起,更不要左顾右盼,翻来覆去,在公用的盘子中间挑挑拣拣,夹起来又放回去 ,这样会显得缺乏修养。 送食物入口时,双肘应向内靠,不可向两旁张开,碰及邻居。有些食物,比如:螃 蟹,虾是可以用手吃的,但切记 千万不要舔吮你的手指,否则会给人贪吃,没修养的印象。很多中国人(特别是老 一辈)用餐时,常常会出啧啧的声音,这是享用食物的表示。不过,现在很多受过
  4. 4. 西方教育或影响的中国人会比较注意这一点。 Toasting: When toasting, the first to be toasted should be the honoured guest or the oldest at the table. Normally, one person will not toast many people together but many people can toast one person (often the practice at wedding parties). When giving a toast one should stand up holding the glass in both hands with the right hand holding the glass and the left hand placed on the bottom of the glass. To show respect, many Chinese will place their own glass slightly lower than that of the person they are toasting, the point being to convey the idea that the person you are toasting is worthy of much respect. Sometimes this can lead to a rather comical situation where both parties end up in a competition to see who can place their glass the lowest! However there is no need for such displays of respect if you are toasting someone significantly younger than yourself. 敬酒礼仪:敬酒要先敬贵宾,长者;一个人不可以同时敬多人,但多人可以同时敬 一个人。 敬酒时要站起来,双手举杯(右手拿杯,左手垫杯底)。为了表示尊敬,中国人在 碰杯时,通常会让自己的酒杯稍低于对方的,故有时会出现“看谁的杯子低”的竞赛 。但如果你是长者,你可不必与年轻人“比低”。 At formal business dinners one may (irrespective of whether host or guest) leave one’s seat during the meal to toast other attendees representing the other side individually and have a few quiet words with them one-on-one following which, one returns to one’s seat to prepare for the next toast. But remember that once you have started this process you must make sure that you approach and toast each and every person representing the other party because, believe me, the Chinese attendees will be keeping count and will be keenly aware of who has been toasted and who has not and your gesture will be greatly appreciated. 如果是正式的商务宴席,尽管你是主人或贵宾,在用餐的过程中,你可以离开你的 座位去对方人员的座位旁单独敬酒,简单寒暄一下,然后回到自己的座位准备敬下 一位。记住你一旦开始这个程序,一定要陆续敬完对方所有的人员。相信我,他们 会记住你的!:)
  5. 5. (to be continued…)