What are the rules for chopsticks in China

China table manners, china food tips

Table etiquette and eating habits in China are very different from those in Europe. Food plays an important role in Chinese culture. It's not just about filling the stomach, it's also about maintaining relationships, no wonder there are so many table manners in China.

General rules for eating China

You sit around a round table

When you eat together in China, everyone usually sits around a table in a circle, chopsticks, a small bowl and a plate are in front of you when you are in a restaurant, the dishes are in the middle on a turntable so that everyone does everything Dishes can turn around.

The host is very important

If you are invited to the restaurant, you should let the host order. The host sits at the round table opposite the front door, the Chinese believe that the square opposite the entrance is the place of honor. When the food is on the table, you shouldn't rush straight to it, but wait until the host says, "Let's start with the meal," then you can start.

Seating arrangement in China

Food in china

The seating arrangement is probably the most important aspect of Chinese table etiquette. The hierarchical order of the group is reflected in business or more formal occasions. The place of honor is the one opposite the front door, this is where the host usually sits. The guests of honor are placed on his left and right, and the others take the remaining seats.

If you are unsure which place to take at the table, just wait and see. the host will assign you a place.

All dishes are shared

With Chinese food, no one is served a single dish in their place; in China, you order many dishes and share each dish with the other guests. Some good restaurants have shared chopsticks, but the common practice is to use your chopsticks to remove food.


In Chinese restaurants, wine, beer and high-proof alcohol are offered, the latter is one of the favorite drinks of the Chinese, most of which are schnapps with an alcohol content of 50 - 70% by volume. If you have dinner with the Chinese and drink alcohol, pay attention to the word “Ganbei”. It does not mean “cheers”, but drink up. At Ganbei we should make sure that our own glass is always kept below that of the host.


In summer the Chinese also like to drink beer, the beer is usually put on the table in bottles, unfortunately there are seldom large beer glasses in China, if you want you can fill the beer into small glasses, or you can drink directly from the bottle.

If you are invited to someone's home, the host will sometimes offer you home-brewed liquor.

Women and children mostly drink juice, milk, cola or other soft drinks.

The statement

If you invite someone, they will of course also pay the bill. Sometimes people argue about the bill, they don't take it seriously, it's just a "spectacle" at the end of which the host will certainly take the bill. If no one invites, the bill will be divided, but be careful, the Chinese divide the total of the bill, not according to who ordered which dish.

Chinese food taboos

There are a few things to keep in mind about eating Chinese.

1. Never eat the same dish over and over, even if you like it best - it's rude.

2. Do not stick the chopsticks into the rice. Although China is developing rapidly, many people still remain superstitious that sticking chopsticks vertically into rice is a bad omen, only the dead eat that way.

3. Please do not blow your nose while eating. Usually you go to the bathroom to do this. If you really can't avoid it, at least turn your head away.

4. Do not smoke alone. It is common in China to smoke at the table and in restaurants. At least for the men. If you want to smoke, offer the other people a cigarette as well, otherwise you will be seen as stingy and picky.

German no-gos in China OK!

1. Talking out loud is common in China, you will get used to it quickly, it is the same in almost all restaurants.

2. Eating noises such as smacking, slurping and burping are part of eating.

3. Smoking is allowed, but you shouldn't smoke alone.

4. Using the toothpick is not forbidden, but it is better to hide it behind the hand.

Disappeared table manners in China

You don't want the plate to be empty?

It is no longer common today. In the old days it was said that when the plate is empty, that means the host is bad because his guests are still hungry. But nowadays the government advocates thrift, so empty plates are accepted.

Don't be afraid of making mistakes

Although there are so many table manners in China, don't be afraid to dine with Chinese people. The Chinese are very hospitable and understand the exotic behavior of foreigners.