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Hey, Hey Volunteers — Here's A Guide To Dining in China

Posted by Lindsay Hall on 7/11/15 9:00 AM

ILP China

If you're living in China for a semester abroad (or just visiting), you'll realize that there are some things to know about the food and food-culture there! 

Get a better glimpse is what life in China actually looks like, right here. 

One of the most important things about traveling to a different country is learning appropriate behavior at the dinner table. It may be pretty different than what you are use to, but it is important to embrace their culture and learn! Here are some tips you'll want to embrace if you'll be volunteering in China:  

  • Slurping is okay
  • Pick up your bowl
  • Spit bones on the table
  • Do not stick chopsticks vertically in your bowl
  • Do not pass food with your chopsticks

Slurping is okay!

Slurping your food when eating noodles or soup is totally fine. No one will think twice about you doing it and it actually shows that you are enjoying the food. So, slurp away! 

Pick up your bowl

If you are eating rice, soup or anything that comes in a bowl, pick up the bowl and put it close to your mouth. Do not hunch over the table to get close to your bowl. It is considered rude and bad for your digestion, so sit up straight when you eat and lift the bowl to your mouth. 

Spit bones on table

If you are ever eating meat with bones in China (that'll actually be pretty common), it is perfectly fine to spit (yes I said spit, not pull the bone out of your month with your hands) the bones on the table. They much prefer you to spit than use your hands. It's also not considered rude to just leave the bones hanging out on the table. 

Don't stick your chopsticks vertically in your bowl

Chopsticks sticking straight up in a bowl represents incense at a funeral. Don't Always either keep them flat across the top of the bowl (if you are finished with your food) or put them flat next to your bowl.

Do not pass food with your chopsticks

One of the biggest eating taboos in China is passing or receiving food from someone else's chopsticks. If you are eating from a communal bowl (you'll see this a lot), flip your chopsticks around (to the side your mouth has not touched) to get more food to put on your plate. 

ILP China

You're now totally ready to eat it all in China. And if you need more China in your life (um, of course you do), come check out the ILP blog all about our favorite ILP vacations there, all the cool adventures you can only have in this country and a bit more about what it would be like to teach English here with International Language Programs.  

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Topics: China

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