How to use Chopsticks?

Do you want to learn to use chopsticks? When having a meal in China, it’s important to use the chopsticks correctly. Checkout the great video below to learn the basics. Of course, you won’t be able to use chopsticks right away. This requires practice. If you want to show off some skills in Asia, you’ll have to practice first at home. Below we also have some important Chinese etiquettes to share, which may have some overlap with other asian cultures.

Chopstick Etiquettes

playing with chop sticks

Do not use them as a fork, and don’t stick both chopsticks in your meal! Chinese believe in the after life and by sticking the chopsticks in the meal you are inviting the spirits to eat it. Especially do try not to place your chopsticks straight up in your bowl. By placing your chopsticks like this you will remind your host of joint chopsticks sticks which is connected with dead and funerals.

stick chopsticks in bowl

A very common scene on the round table where Chinese people get together to have meal is people will pick up food and put it to your plate with their own chopsticks. Western people might find it hard to accept concerning the public health, but such behavior expresses the hospitality and kindness that you should not deny it.

Don’t strike the edge of your bowl with your chopsticks and think it sounds funny. It is considered rude and disrespectful. The tradition can trace back to ancient times and it is considered as a beggar’s behavior.

If You’re Not Able To Use Chopsticks, Don’t

If you have difficulties using chopsticks, feel free to ask for knives and forks. There’s really no shame if you simply can’t. Your host will understand, and it won’t be considered rude at all. They’ll be happy to just see you try.

Indian Eating Habits & Table Etiquette

In India, It’s rightly said that the mastery of table etiquette is supposed to reveal important parts of one’s character. Excellent table manners while having a sumptuous meal means you are thinking about the other people you’re with and respecting their presence. In this guide, learn about all the Indian also saving yourself from getting humiliated.

We’ve done the groundwork so you will feel confident when you have to dine at an Indian restaurant or with an Indian family.

Don’t say no without a plausible reason

First thing first, the natives of India firmly believe in an old-saying ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which means ‘the guest is god’ so the visitors are treated in the most humble and pleasant manner by the hosts.

Therefore, if you’re invited for a meal, refrain from rejecting the invitation for frivolous reasons because it might be an offense to a respectable gesture of the host. And you’ll miss great Indian dining experience.  This may also be the case if you’re on a business trip.

The right way to eat (with bare hands)

Once the host announces that food will be served shortly, you must go wash your hand thoroughly and pat it dry because many Indians prefer to eat food with a bare hand.  It is highly recommended that you eat with your right hand and use the left hand to serve food or to pass dishes around the table.

Why Indians eat with bare hands

Also, this traditional way of eating has an Ayurvedic reference which states that the nerve endings on your fingertips stimulate digestion. Moreover eating with hands is said to evoke emotion because eating is primarily a sensory experience. You are welcome to use the cutlery if you aren’t accustomed to eating with hands.

Offering to God

In many Indian families, there is a long-surviving tradition to offer a cooked meal to the deity as a token of devotion and respect. And for this sole reason, the food is not tasted during the preparation. It is believed that food eaten in this manner is free from bad omen and has a spiritual blessing. After this, the host normally serves food to everyone or you will be instructed to help yourself.

Sharing is caring

It is a custom in India to share food with others but only from the serving dish or bowl. Under no circumstance should you offer anybody food from your plate or help yourself to some from theirs because it is considered highly unhygienic and offensive in most parts of India.

Also, if you are offered more servings by the host avoid refusing unless you’re really full. Saying ‘have one more serving’ is a traditional Indian way of showing affection. The more you eat, happier the host as quantity of the food you eat shows if you’ve enjoyed the meal or not.

Have no leftovers

In Indian households, it is not appreciated if you have leftovers on your plate. Families believe in not wasting food as there are millions of people who die of starvation. There are two ways to avoid wasting food- either you indulge in the dishes that tempt you out of all that is served or you take tiny portions of everything that is on the table. Once you’ve wolfed down the meal, stay seated until everyone is done eating or it conveys bad table etiquette.

Lastly, do not forget to pay a compliment to the host for the delicious meal.

Conclusion

In India, dining etiquette plays an imperative role, much like in other culinary cultures. The convention of eating in India mirrors the nation’s traditions and cultures. Although the table manners may slightly differ in certain regions of India, the basic etiquettes will help you display an immaculate table manner.

Happy eating 🙂

Chinese Cuisines and Dining Etiquettes

In Chinese culture, food has more than just a vital function. It has a significant social role. Their meals are times for family get together, friends reunion and business meetings. They prefer to consume food in a form of group of people rather than alone. For instance, occasions like Spring Festival, Chinese folks eat dumplings to express the relationship between themselves and God. Thus, food is an important part of life in Chinese culture.

Chinese take great pride in their dining etiquettes

Chinese people are very proud of their food and they have every right to be. Chinese food is probably the most diverse in the world. And, certainly it doesn’t restrict itself to the five or six dishes you usually found in Chinese restaurants in western countries. Chinese cuisine uses a wide variety of ingredients, and there are totally 48 ways of cooking them. Such as stir fry, deep fry, steaming, roasting, boiling and so on.

Chinese breakfast vary greatly between different regions. In northern China, breakfast fare typically includes Chinese hot pocket, tofu soap, Spicy Peppery soup and soy milk paired with fried Chinese dough. In southern China, represented by Guangdong province, breakfast includes rice porridge prepared to thicker consistency than those sold in Shanghai, and side dishes are not served. Some of them also like to have congee in their breakfast. Other breakfast options include pan frying noodles with bean sprouts, spring onions and soy sauce. Their Cantonese breakfast also includes turnip cakes and rice cakes wrapped in bamboo leaves. The dim sum breakfast is a world in itself and it’s often eaten as brunch in specialist restaurants. Chinese folks enjoy their morning tea and dim sum breakfast together with lots of people, where they talk about business and exchange information.

It is Chinese tradition to serve rare and expensive foods to their guests. By doing so, they express their social status and show respect to their guests. It is also used to represent high economic status and a way to show, how much wealth they have. Bird’s nest, shark’s fin, and lobster are few examples of their custom. These rare foods are from animal sources and high in protein.

Majority of Chinese people prefer to have 3 meals a day. Their formal dinner includes 8 to 10 hot dishes, 4 to 6 cold dishes, served with fruits and soup. All dishes are put in the middle and shared between all members of family. Members need to wait until whole family gets seated. Usually a rotating platter, in English it is named as lazy Susan, is used to facilitate the distribution. Their traditions vary in different places. In some places, Chinese have a tradition to serve others first. They first serve elders and the younger members, followed by men and ladies. In other places, women eat after men. But mostly, the group dining is the preferred eating system in Chinese society. Yet, group dining culture also brings the possibility to spread infectious diseases. Thus, one should consider the benefits of separate dining. Regardless, due to dispute against standard dining culture, separate eating is not encouraged in China.

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Do’s and Don’ts in Japan: Things to know before you go to Japan

Japan is a land full of wonder and mystery that may have no equal in the world. As such, it’s no surprise the way people go about their lives entails some pretty specific and unique customs to match. Some of which may seem so unique that they may be too hard to follow for anyone else around the world. To those weary though, we say, fear not. Instead, just remember the age old saying: when in Rome, do as the Romans do, and while in Japan, never blow your nose in public! You’ve been warned. 

DO’s

You can slurp your soup!

Slurping noodles in Japan is considered a sign of good gesture towards the house and the chef signaling a delicious meal. But this custom also has a practical purpose, slurping usually aids in cooling noodles by allowing air to pass through them while eating. This is often necessary because noodles (especially ramen) are served piping hot, and are best consumed at the hottest temperature. Slurping is particularly encouraged while eating ramen and soba, and slightly less common when eating other noodles like udon. While difficult for foreigners to get used to, after a while, this custom will quickly become second nature!

Drinking on the street is O.K.!

Japan has no open container laws; as a result, you are able to buy a beer, sit in a park and sip back a drink or two. Since there are plenty of cheap places to wet the whistle, most Japanese use this as a way to top off while traveling from party to party or bar to bar. In the spring and summer, people take the chance to drink outdoors in parks or next to rivers under cherry blossom trees, as well as during picnics with friends.

Smoking in a restaurant or bar

Influenced by the salary man culture, Japan surprisingly still allows indoor smoking within designated areas. This is particularly the case in izakayas, arcades, pachinko (or pinball) parlors and small bars. Don’t be surprised when visiting a restaurant and being asked, “smoking or non-smoking?”

“This is not a library!” Standing and reading is A O.K.

If you walk into a convenience store in Japan, don’t be surprised to find people reading magazines and books on display; something that in other countries may grant you a sharply addressed reaction from the store owner. The practice is so common that there is even a name for it; “tachiyomi” (which literally means ‘stand and read’). This is true unless the magazine or book is taped shut or wrapped in a yellow elastic. This means there are promotional items inside that could otherwise fall out. Other than that, all reading material is fair game.

Sleeping on the train and street

If you’re headed to school during the wee hours of the morning or exhausted after a long day at work, be sure to take a nap on the train or, if you’re tired after a few beers, just take a nap wherever. Throughout the country you will often find businessmen, complete with briefcase and wallet, leisurely (and drunkenly) napping just about anywhere. Join in the fun, and find a comfy space en-plain-air. More recently, the Tokyo government is discouraging the practice for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to no avail.

DON’TS

Blowing your nose

While in Japan, never, and we mean never, blow your nose in public. In fact, try to avoid touching your nose altogether. Ever wonder why people wear surgical masks in Japan in the first place? The pervasive surgical masks seem like a mystery to most foreigners that visit or know about Japan. But the reason behind them is simple: since it is nearly impossible to blow your nose in public and not be seen as a germ machine, surgical masks are necessary to hide the nose plugs and runny noses that may be behind them.

Talking on the phone on the train

Considered a public space in a country that values privacy, peace and quiet, the train in Japan is a place of nearly complete silence. Speaking on the phone on the train is seen as a uniquely foreigner faux-pas, as there are signs everywhere in English asking people not to talk on their phone or make loud noises. Consider the train like a library; read, listen to music with headphones, maybe take a nap, but no loud noises. In addition, be conscious of large obtrusive backpacks (we’re looking at you backpackers). Throughout Japan you will also find signs in English (along with cartoon mascots) that discourage unconscious backpacking and noisy gabbing plastered throughout most trains.

Wearing shoes indoors

Take off your shoes when visiting a Japanese home. This is a common custom for many northern Europeans and Canadians. Like these northern nations, Japan is a country of four distinct seasons. In the fall or winter, walking indoors with your shoes on can make for a dirty mess. In addition, Japanese people focus on cleanliness and shoes are generally considered unclean. Even Japanese architecture accommodates this cultural practice; every Japanese home has a ‘genkan’ which is meant for individuals to take off their shoes and jackets. The genkan will be the space you encounter immediately after entering a Japanese home and will clearly be lower than the rest of the house. In addition, make sure to point your shoes neatly towards the door. Japanese tradition states that facing your shoes inwards will invite wandering spirits into the household.

Finger pointing

While in Japan, use your palm and never your pointer finger while pointing at signs or directions. It is considered offensive, forceful and has negative connotations. Avoid finger pointing even when talking with people you know. Pointing should only be done with the palm faced upward and with the entire hand. Try it out; you may find it to be more pleasant and it may help you understand the Japanese mindset better.

NEVER cross chopsticks or pass food with chopsticks

Considered unsanitary, passing food with chopsticks is essentially a way to pass germs. Think about it and this one is easy to understand. This gesture is also considered taboo due to the connotations associated with using chopstick-like utensils during funerals to prepare the body for burial or cremation.

BONUS: NO walking and smoking. Get to that designated area, or better yet, get to a bar!

A land of unique customs and traditions, Japan can be a bit discombobulating at times in regards to everyday practices; but as you become more accustomed to Japanese customs, they can quickly become second nature with ease. Just remember, NEVER blow your nose in public!

 

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Javanese Dining Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts

Javanese culture has a big impact in Indonesia, since the number of Javanese tribe is on the top. Some of the Javanese culture, like kebaya and batik for example, has become the icon of Indonesia. Javanese culture originally came from Java Island, indeed, but only the people from Central and East Java are called Javanese, while the ones who came from West Java are called Sundanese.

There are so many rules that became a living guide for the Javanese. Here are some examples of the dining etiquette that still applied until now regarding to Javanese people:

1. Chewing sound is a big NO

Silence is golden, especially when you are eating with Javanese. Make a sound when you are chewing considered as impolite. Javanese always keep their mouth close when chewing, and if they have something to talk about, they will do it after there is no food inside their mouth.

Not only chewing sound that prohibited when you are eating with Javanese, but also some noises from your cutlery. Javanese will make the sound as low as possible, barely heard.

2. Sit and eat

Javanese are not used to stand while eating, except on the situation when they come to someone’s wedding party that has no chairs for all guest. For Javanese, it is better to sit while eating because regarding to them, it is a good manner. Still, there are some places that prohibited, like in front (or the middle) of a door. Javanese believe that when someone eats in the front of a door, he/she could not find his/her lover easily.

3. No phone call while having a meal

Answer a phone call when you are eating with Javanese is considered as rude. It is better to keep the phone in silent mode until the dinner finish. Not only phone call, leave the dining table for another business is not recommended. Javanese will always finish their meal first, put the cutlery in the sink, then continue with their business. Doing something else while eating is also prohibited.

4. Offer another people to try the dishes

Javanese people are well-known as polite. Their politeness standard is quite high, even about a single thing like greet another person. It is not only in public places, but also at the dining table too. When a Javanese host invited another people to have a dinner together, the host (and his family) will offer the guests to try the dishes. For Javanese, offer a dish to another people

shows their warmth and kindness. As the one who got offered by the Javanese, it is better to take the dish even in a small portion to appreciate the kindness of the Javanese.

Last, it will be much better if you take your cutlery to the sink by yourself after you finish your meal. Regarding to Javanese, people who do that are considered as well-mannered.

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Cuisines and Dining Etiquette in Chinese Society

In Chinese culture, food has more than just a vital function. It has a significant social role. Their meals are times for family get together, friends reunion and business meetings. They prefer to consume food in a form of group of people rather than alone. For instance, occasions like Spring Festival, Chinese folks eat dumplings to express the relationship between themselves and God. Thus, food is an important part of life in Chinese culture.

Why Chinese are proud of their food

Chinese people are very proud of their food and they have every right to be. Chinese food is probably the most diverse in the world. And, certainly it doesn’t restrict itself to the five or six dishes you usually found in Chinese restaurants in western countries. Chinese cuisine uses a wide variety of ingredients, and there are totally 48 ways of cooking them. Such as stir fry, deep fry, steaming, roasting, boiling and so on.

Chinese breakfast vary greatly between different regions. In northern China, breakfast fare typically includes Chinese hot pocket, tofu soap, Spicy Peppery soup and soy milk paired with fried Chinese dough. In southern China, represented by Guangdong province, breakfast includes rice porridge prepared to thicker consistency than those sold in Shanghai, and side dishes are not served. Some of them also like to have congee in their breakfast. Other breakfast options include pan frying noodles with bean sprouts, spring onions and soy sauce. Their Cantonese breakfast also includes turnip cakes and rice cakes wrapped in bamboo leaves. The dim sum breakfast is a world in itself and it’s often eaten as brunch in specialist restaurants. Chinese folks enjoy their morning tea and dim sum breakfast together with lots of people, where they talk about business and exchange information.

It is Chinese tradition to serve rare and expensive foods to their guests. By doing so, they express their social status and show respect to their guests. It is also used to represent high economic status and a way to show, how much wealth they have. Bird’s nest, shark’s fin, and lobster are few examples of their custom. These rare foods are from animal sources and high in protein.

The amount of meals a day Chinese have

Majority of Chinese people prefer to have 3 meals a day. Their formal dinner includes 8 to 10 hot dishes, 4 to 6 cold dishes, served with fruits and soup. All dishes are put in the middle and shared between all members of family. Members need to wait until whole family gets seated. Usually a rotating platter, in English it is named as lazy Susan, is used to facilitate the distribution. Their traditions vary in different places. In some places, Chinese have a tradition to serve others first. They first serve elders and the younger members, followed by men and ladies. In other places, women eat after men. But mostly, the group dining is the preferred eating system in Chinese society. Yet, group dining culture also brings the possibility to spread infectious diseases. Thus, one should consider the benefits of separate dining. Regardless, due to dispute against standard dining culture, separate eating is not encouraged in China.

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5 Major Insights On Chinese Business Culture And Etiquette

The difference between China and other western countries regarding business culture and etiquette cannot get ignored. It’s big and diverse. China’s unique history contributes immensely to their distinctive business culture and etiquette. With China’s economy opening up and joining trade organizations like WTO, it sure has become a darling of many in doing business. If you intend to travel to China for business reasons, there’s no better advice than you having to learn some basic Chinese business culture before traveling.

In this article, you will gain insight on how to conduct a successful business in China as you avoid cultural and social disasters. Here are the tips:

The First Approach.

Chinese prefer doing business with people recommended to them by other business associates other than direct contacts. Referrals form the basis of business relationships. If you have no connections, contact investment committee for direction and advise.

Friendship.

Unlike business relationships in the Western countries, in China, they graduate to a social relationship with time. Business relationships become closer as you share more of your political opinions, personal life, hobbies, aspirations, and family. They accept your deal based on how much they know you.

Precedence.

Chinese business people value addressing each other based on rank. One gets addressed according to his/her seniority and especially in the state-owned businesses. The other party gets addressed as Chairman, Director, Manager, or other titles that represent a particular rank. They avoid addressing each other as Mr., Miss, or Mrs. While giving out any documentation like name cards, always start with the senior person. Make sure you stretch out your both hands.

Giving Face.

Giving face also refers to giving due respect. Respect gets accorded according to rank. When giving gifts, they should differ according to seniority. Those in high positions get better gifts than those in lower levels. Sitting in board meetings or when dining should get accorded according to rank.

Gifts and presents.

Gifts, especially from the western origin significantly enhance business relationships in China and especially in the small cities and towns. Similarly, you will receive gifts from them and especially products with a touch of Chinese art. You should not refuse gifts from them as they refer such an act as impolite and will affect your business relationship.

While conversing with the Chinese, never mention the following topics and avoid them as plague:

  • Independence of Taiwan as a country.
  • Your Friendship with Japanese or show that you praise them over Chinese.
  • Anything to criticize Deng Hsiao Ping.

They term them as taboo and mentioning the above topics results to nasty arguments. Converse anything else under the sun with the Chinese except for the above topics.

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“Kamayan” Eating with bare hands

There is one trait that Filipinos happy to do and that is by eating without spoon and fork or natively term as “Kamayan” (eating using bare hands). This custom usually relates more to the poor because it mirrors poverty but can be practiced by whatever social status one has.

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Be seated

If you are a guest coming to somebody’s house, it is a polite thing not to take a seat before your host invites or offers you to have a seat. If it is in a house, guest should take the seat closest to the door facing the inside part of the house, while the host sit on the opposite facing out ward.

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Chinese and smoking

Smoking cigarette is also usual in China, even when you are having lunch or dinner together. Chinese people are not accustomed to the concept of non-smoking area. So if your clients or hosts start smoking while having a meal, please don’t be surprised.

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