9 things you should never do when eating Chinese food

9 things you should never do when eating Chinese food

The INSIDER Summary:

  • There are certain etiquette rules everyone should follow when eating Chinese food.
  • Examples include not putting soy sauce on fried rice, never crossing chopsticks on the table, never sticking chopsticks straight up in rice, never popping a soup dumpling, and never flipping a fish.
  • You should also hold your glass with two hands when making a toast, and be sure to hold the lid of the teapot when pouring tea.

Adding soy sauce to fried rice can offend the cook.t-mizo / Flickr

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Don't put soy sauce on your fried rice.

You know how some chefs consider it rude to salt your food at the table? Adding soy sauce to your rice offends Chinese cooks in the same way. The idea is that they've already seasoned your food to perfection, so you shouldn't need to add anything more.

Lift your cup with two hands when making a toast.

This tradition is more symbolic now than when it began centuries ago. Having your left hand on your cup in addition to your right would signify that you were unarmed. It's also seen as polite to grab a cup with two hands when it's handed to you.

Don't hold your cup with just one hand when making a toast.Joseph Chan / Unsplash

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Never flip a fish.

Chinese restaurants often have whole fish on the menu, but if you order one, beware of the specific way to polish it off. Once you eat one side of the fish, pull the bone out and continue eating it. Flipping it over symbolizes the fishermen's boats capsizing.

Never "pop" a soup dumpling.

Soup dumplings, or xiao long bao as they're called in China, aren't like pistachios: They're not meant to be eaten any number of creative ways. The correct — and polite — way to chow down is by lightly biting the skin of the dumpling and slurping the broth before eating the rest of it.

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