Chinese table manners are quite different than what we are accustomed to in the Western world. If you are going to dine in China, then you will want to take a look at these Chinese table etiquette tips.
There are several major differences in how food is eaten in China versus the United States. Let's review some of those differences.
First of all, there are the chopsticks. This is a utensil that many of us are unfamiliar with that is a way of life for the Chinese. If you are going to eat there, you will want to practice with them prior to your first meal. The ends of the chopsticks should be even when you have them in your hands.
There are a few things that are tempting to do with chopsticks, like play the drums, or use them to stab the food to make it easy. Playing the drums with them shows a lack of maturity and stabbing the food shows a lack of respect. It shows that you do not properly know how to use chopsticks. This is a poor display of Chinese table manners.
Depending on how nice the restaurant is where you are dining, there may be a ceramic chopsticks holder to the side of the plate. When the chopsticks are not in use, you should let them rest here instead of leaving them sticking out of your bowl, or on the plate's edge.
You should also consider that the chopsticks are an extension of your fingers. Just as it is considered rude to point at people, the same should also not be done with the chopsticks in your hand. You also do not want to wave them around as it is possible to fling food or sauce which would be highly offensive and show a lack of sophistication.
The other major difference is their use of a Lazy Susan. The Lazy Susan is the turnable shelf in the middle of the table. Several dishes of food will be placed on the Lazy Susan and the people eating can turn it to take the food that they would like. Community eating is very common with Chinese dining.
Make sure that you watch others. If they are taking food from a plate on the Lazy Susan, make sure they are done before you turn it. It is just a matter of being polite and courteous.
Since the group is sharing food, you want to take small portions of each thing you would like to eat. This allows all members of the group an opportunity to eat what they want without it running out. Make sure everyone has had an opportunity to eat it before you have seconds.
When you are eating community food, generally there will be two sets of chopsticks. One set will be for eating, and the other set will be for taking food from the community plates to your bowl or plate. That way, you do not share your germs or eating utensils with the others at the table.
As you can see, there are a few things that are particular about Chinese table manners. Enjoy your dining experience in this beautiful country!