Chinese New Year is right by the corner, the perfect time to get together with all the family and enjoy wonderful feasts!
Chinese traditional table manners are broad and profound. To prepare yourself to behave well at reunion dinner table, Hedonia collects some tips on table manners for you. Let's jump right into it!
Chinese seating plan
In Chinese, “circle” has a meaning of “reunion”, therefore a round table would be chosen for the meal, although the elder would often prefer a more traditional Chinese square table.
When seating, the elder would normally sit facing the door. Around them would be seating the next generations, following the age order. Sometimes, the grandchildren would sit next to the elderly to please them.
Chinese table manners
Generally, you do not start eating until the elderly is giving a toast. When grabbing food with your chopsticks, don't stir the dish looking for the piece you want, just bring your plate or bowl closer to the dish and grab the piece that comes first.
When taking a break, leave your chopsticks to the side of your plate or bowl on a rest to suggest that you aren’t done yet. When finished eating, leave your chopsticks on top of your bowl or plate.
It is a taboo to flip the fish and get the flesh on the other side. This is because in many regions of China, there will be fishermen who would go fishing and they may encouter shipwreck in the windy days. Instead, let the host remove the bone so that you can eat the flesh underneath!
When having the meal, tea could be served. When pouring, make sure the spout of the teapot is not directly facing the person. You should hold the teapot in your right hand and the left hand on the lid to show your respect to people.
Typically, the elderly will propose a toast before the meal starts to start off the dinner. The toast normally contains the gratitude of reunion and good blessings.
The young generation will usually pour the wine for the elderly. When pouring, you should consider how much the person could drink!
When giving a toast, you should hold your glass slightly lower than the others’. If the other person sits far away from you, you can touch the bottom of the glass to the table, tap a few times instead of clinking.
Besides showing proper manners at the table, we wish you a wonderful reunion with your family and friends, and a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Tiger!
Founded in 2018 by Matthieu Ventelon, Hedonia is the first institution in China combining professional Wine and Etiquette expertise in the same training offer.