A general guide for Chinese table manners!

Dear ladies and gentlemen, since ancient times, China is a state of ceremonies. Table manners are also very rich and particular. Here we concluded the key points to express these rituals. Having good dining manners make those around you more comfortable and feel more impressed with your charisma.

Seating plan
Traditional/ancient rule: “The left side and door-facing seats were more important.” The seats of honour, are reserved for the host of the dinner or the guest with the highest status, facing the entrance or east. For details, please check our “Chinese seating plan” article!
The host should arrive earlier and wait nearby the entrance area and would guide guests.

Rules of ordering
1. Check the proportion and number of the guests, normally one dish per person is fine; if there’re more men, can go for more.
2. Standard Chinese dinner is composed of the cold dish, fried dish, main course, dessert, soup and fruits. Before ordering, ask your guests if they have food they dislike or they can’t eat due to personal reasons (for example, Chinese Buddhists eat less meat and food with strong taste). If there’re foreign guests, better skip animal viscera. Then start ordering according to the requirements. And ordering local specialities would show more courtesy or if you want to impress your guests.

3. If you’re having a business meal, don’t ask the dishes price in front of the clients.

At table
Wait for the most respectful person to start eating. It’s rude to insist on others to try some dish or even pick things to their bowls. While eating, don’t make a sound. For more details, please check our “mistakes in the Chinese table manners” article.

Toasting wine
Steps: the host and the accompany guest propose to the honoured guest; the honoured guest proposes back; at last accompany guests propose to each other. Do stand when giving or receiving toasts.
As a guest, one can’t take the host’s rule to be the first in toasting, which is rude for the host. For more details, please check our “Chinese drinking etiquette” article.

Serving tea
Hold the teacup with two hands, one around the cup and the other under. When refilling tea or drinks, always fill everyone else’s cup from the most honoured down before filling your own. Fill wine glass when toasting wine; but be careful not to fill teacup fully, around two-thirds of the cup is fine. Otherwise, people may think they’re not welcomed any more.

Leaving the banquet
After dinner, the guests shall wait for the host’s signal to leave. If you want to leave the party earlier, you need to explain and apologise to the host who invited you.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, Chinese table manners diverse from one region to another. We believe good table manners would enhance your image and impress your guests! Welcome to share your hometown table manners with us!

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