As an ancient civilization文明古国, China pays great attention to established etiquette非常重视约定俗成的礼仪.

With thousands of years’ development, China has its own unique dining culture and etiquette, which foreign visitors may find quite different from what they are used to与自己熟悉的礼仪不同, and even consider weird认为奇怪.

As a guest at a meal, one should be particular about注重,在意,留心 one’s appearance仪表 and determine whether to bring small gifts or good wine, according the degree of relationship with the master of the banquet与主人的交情如何. It is important to attend and be punctual.准时赴宴


Seating arrangements are very important in China. 座位顺序的安排很讲究

On arrival one should first introduce oneself, or let the master of the banquet do the introduction if unknown to others, and then take a seat in accordance with the master of the banquet’s arrangement.

The seating arrangement is probably the most important part of Chinese dining etiquette.最重要的宴请礼仪

If the guest of honor主宾 or most senior member最年长者 is not seated, other people are not allowed to be seated要等……落座后自己才能坐下. If he hasn’t eaten, others should not begin to eat. When making toasts敬酒, the first toast is made from the seat of honor and continuing down the order of prominence按照座位主次顺序依次敬酒.


When eating a meal in China, people are expected to behave in a civilized manner 举止文明(according to Chinese customs) , pay attention to table manners餐桌规矩;进餐礼节 and practice good dining habits 要有良好的进餐习惯. In order to avoid offense避免冒犯他人 diners should pay attention to the following points:

Let older people eat first, or if you hear an elder say "let's eat", you can start to eat. You should not steal a march on the elders.不能抢在年纪大的人之前动筷

Chinese Table Manners

Most table manners in China are similar to in the West. Don't be deceived by不要被蒙蔽 what you might see in a local restaurant on the streets街边餐馆. Chinese manners don't consist of slurping food down as quickly as possible大声快速地啜食, and shouting loudly!

Consider Others

Take food first from the plates in front of you.

When helping yourself to the dishes自己夹菜, you should take food first from the plates in front of you rather than those in the middle of the table or in front of others. It's bad manners to use your chopsticks to burrow through the food不能用自己的筷子挑拣 and "dig for treasure" and keep your eyes glued to the plates不能老盯着盘子.

When finding your favorite dish发现自己爱吃的, you should not gobble it up吞食 as quickly as possible or put the plate in front of yourself and proceed to eat like a horse继续狼吞虎咽. You should consider others at the table. If there is not much left on a plate and you want to finish it, you should consult others征求他人意见. If they say they don’t want any more, then you can proceed to eat.

Concentrate on the meal and your companions. Watching television, using your phone, or carrying on some other activity while having a meal is considered a bad habit.吃饭时看电视、看手机或者做别的事情都被视为不礼貌

You should try to refill your bowl with rice自己加饭 yourself and take the initiative to主动 fill the bowls of elders with rice and food from the dishes给老人加饭菜. If elders fill your bowl盛饭 or add food to your bowl夹菜, you should express your thanks.


Tea usually is served上茶 as soon as you have a seat in a restaurant. A waiter/waitress serves you tea while you read the menu and decide what to order. The tea pot is left with you on the table after everyone around the table's cup is filled with tea. Guests then serve themselves.自己倒茶

When someone pours tea into your cup, you can tap the table with your first two fingers手指轻敲桌子 two or three times, showing thanks to the pourer for the service and of being enough tea. The pourer will stop pouring when seeing the gesture.


It is not good manners to pick up too much food at a time一次不要夹菜过多. You should behave elegantly举止要优雅. When taking food, don’t nudge or push against your neighbor推搡邻座的人. Don’t let the food splash or let soup or sauce drip onto the table.不要让菜飞溅或者让汤汁滴在桌子上

When eating, you should close your mouth to chew food闭嘴咀嚼 well before you swallow it, which is not only a requirement of etiquette, but also better for digestion. You should by no means open your mouth wide决不能张大嘴, fill it with large pieces of food吃大块儿的食物 and eat up greedily贪婪地吃完. Don’t put too much food into your mouth at a time to avoid leaving a gluttonous impression避免给人贪吃的印象. Neither should you stretch your neck也不能伸长脖子, open your mouth wide张大嘴 and extend your tongue伸出舌头 to catch food接食物 you are lifting to your mouth.

Put bones or other inedible parts of the meal on a side plate.将骨头和其它不能吃的部分放在面前的侧盘里

When removing bones or other inedible parts of the meal from your mouth, use chopsticks or a hand to take them and put them on a side plate (or the table) in front of you, instead of spitting them directly onto the table or the ground.

If there is food around your mouth, use a tissue or a napkin纸巾或餐巾纸 to wipe it, instead of licking it with your tongue. When chewing food, don’t make noises.

It is best not to talk with others with your mouth full.嘴里塞满食物时最好不要跟别人说话 Be temperate in laughing不要大笑 lest以防 you spew your food将食物吐出 or the food goes down your windpipe and causes choking食物进入气管引起窒息. If you need to talk, you should speak little and quietly.

If you want to cough or sneeze, use your hand or a handkerchief to cover your mouth and turn away转过身去. If you find something unpleasant in your mouth when chewing or phlegm in the throat, you should leave the dinner table to spit it out.

Relating to Chopsticks

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

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

Do not stab or skewer food with your chopsticks.用筷子戳或者串食物

Pick food up by exerting sufficient inward pressure on the chopsticks to grasp the food securely and move it smoothly to your mouth or bowl. It is considered bad form to drop food, so ensure it is gripped securely夹稳 before carrying it. Holding one’s bowl close to the dish when serving oneself自己夹菜 or close to the mouth when eating helps.

table manner

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不卫生 to use the chopsticks that have been near (or in) one’s mouth to pick food from the central dishes从摆在中间的菜品中夹菜. Serving spoons or chopsticks公用汤匙或筷子 can be provided, and in this case you will need remember to alternate交替使用 between using the serving chopsticks公用筷 to move food to your bowl and your personal chopsticks自己的筷子 for transferring the food to your mouth.

Knives are traditionally seen as violent in China, and breakers of the harmony破坏和谐, 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.

Seat of Honor

The seat of honor, reserved for the master of the banquet or the guest with highest status, is the one in the center facing east or facing the entrance. Those of higher position sit closer to the master of the banquet. The guests of lowest position sit furthest from the seat of honor. When a family holds a banquet, the seat of honor is for the guest with the highest status and the head of the house takes the least prominent seat.

Round Table

If round tables are used, the seat facing the entrance is the seat of honor. The seats on the left hand side of the seat of honor are second, fourth, sixth, etc in importance, while those on the right are third, fifth, seventh and so on in importance, until they join together.

Square Table

In ancient times there was a piece of furniture known as an Eight Immortals table, a big square table with benches for two people on each side. If there was a seat facing the entrance, then the right hand seat when facing the entrance was for the guest of honor. If there was no seat facing the entrance door (presumably if the meal was outside or there were two or more doors of equal importance), then the right hand seat when facing east was the seat of honor. The seats on the left hand side of the seat of honor were, in order of importance, second, fourth, sixth and eighth and those on the right were third, fifth and seventh.

In Grand Banquet

In a grand banquet of many tables, the table of honor is the one furthest from the entrance (or facing east in the event of no clear main entrance). The tables on the left hand side of the tables of honor are, in order of importance, second, fourth, sixth and so on, and those on the right are third, fifth and seventh. Guests are seated according to their status and degree of relationship to the master of the banquet.