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Chinese Table Manners (四)

Do not stick chopsticks vertically into your food when not using them, especially not into rice, as this will make Chinese people think of funerals. At funerals joss sticks (sticks of incense) are stuck into a pot by the rice that is put onto the ancestor altar.

Do not wave your chopsticks around in the air too much or play with them.

Do not stab or skewer food with your chopsticks.

Do not stick chopsticks vertically into your food when not using them, especially not into rice, as this will make Chinese people think of funerals. At funerals joss sticks (sticks of incense) are stuck into a pot by the rice that is put onto the ancestor altar.

Do not wave your chopsticks around in the air too much or play with them.

Do not stab or skewer food with your chopsticks.

To separate a piece of food into two pieces, exert controlled pressure on the chopsticks while moving them apart from each other. This needs much practice.

Some consider it unhygienic to use the chopsticks that have been near (or in) one’s mouth to pick food from the central dishes. Serving spoons or chopsticks can be provided, and in this case you will need remember to alternate between using the serving chopsticks to move food to your bowl and your personal chopsticks for transferring the food to your mouth.

Knives are traditionally seen as violent in China, and breakers of the harmony, so are not provided at the table. Some restaurants in China have forks available and all will have spoons. If you are not used to chopsticks, you can ask the restaurant staff to provide you with a fork or spoon.

November 8, 2016

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