If I were in the UK this blog post would be an extensive listing of all the nasty little table habits to avoid at a dinner with polite company. But I am not in the UK, this is China, and so this will be a list of the things considered appropriate, nay, encouraged at a dinner table. Indeed, these acts are totally common place. I guarantee you could commit every last one of these etiquette faux pas at a dinner with your boss and keep your job. In fact, I’ve seem my boss commit quite a few of these.
- Leave any dropped food splattered on the white table cloth, and there will be dropped food, no one is that good with chopsticks
- Intentionally place food you don’t want to eat on the table beside your bowl, examples include: bones, things you don’t like and especially chewed pieces of food you only just discovered you don’t like
- Blow your nose, fart, open mouth burp or any other generally “rude” body sound, totally okay, in fact the only rude thing would be to acknowledge that you heard such a sound with a little giggle or an immature joke
- Grab food with your chopsticks from the communal bowls in the center of the table while the lazy susan is still spinning causing some nice splatter effects
- Slurp, smack, lick, chomp, basically eat with gusto, ensuring that you chew with your mouth open while making lots of satisfied noises
- Bring your bowl of food right up to your face then use your chopsticks to lever the food directly into your open mouth, note: this move works especially well for amateur chopstick users, especially while eating noodles
- Use a toothpick to clean out your teeth, if you are really slick you may cover your mouth with one hand while you do this, but that is absolutely not expected
As you can see surviving a fine dinning experience in China should never be stressful, unless of course you are a neat freak or not fond of people eating with their mouths open. Most, I think, will find the whole Chinese restaurant experience to be great fun reminiscent of their younger years before we learned where to place the cloth napkin and which fork to use first. In China it is all about the food. Bon Appetite!