In your business trip to China, it is very common that the host will invite you for lunch or dinner with them. It is a gesture of friendship. Here are some of the dinning table etiquette in China.
1. Beer is drunk in room temperature, not chilled: To a lot of foreigners, this is the first cultural shock. Chinese people believe that our body and internal organs work best in room temperature. Cold food or drink will contract the muscles of our internal organs and not desirable to our health. If you want to drink cold beer, tell the waiter "Bing de" (Cold ones please)
2. Table tapping when someone is filling your cup of tea: Why drink beer when are in the country of tea? During the meals, when someone is filling up your cup of tea, you should tap the table with 2 fingers as courtesy.
According to legend, the Chinese Emperor liked to disguise himself as normal citizen and went to different provinces of the country to observe life of ordinary people. Once the Emperor was in a tea-house with his subordinate. The Emperor served him tea. This would normally never happened in real life, and if it did, the subordinate should be kneeling down to receive this gratitude from the Emperor. But he could not do it as it would have uncovered the real identity of the Emperor. Did not know what to do, the subordinate tapped the table with 2 fingers to signify 2 knees.
3. Do not put the chopsticks vertically in the rice: It looks like putting incense sticks in the rice, which Chinese people offer to the dead.
4. Do not turn the fish unless the host does it: It is very common in Chinese restaurant to serve the complete fish. After finishing the upper side of the fish, it seems logical to turn the fish to have the bottom side up. Unfortunately, doing this will have an unpredictable consequence: You have sunk the boat.
This is a major worry for regions along the coast of the country, which depend largely on fishing. The fish symbolize the boat. To turn it over is bad luck to fishermen working in the sea.
So what do we do? Using your chopsticks, pick up the end of the spine of the fish near the tail fin, lift the spine slowly until the fish head, the spine should be gradually separating from the fresh. And then you can enjoy the bottom part of the fishing without flipping over it.
5. Do not order 7 plates of dishes: Because eating 7 plates of dishes is a ritual in funerals. it is better to order 6 or 8 plates.