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Dining Taboos in China

China is one of those wonderful countries where people are particular about Dining etiquette and taboos. Traditionally speaking, there are many taboos at Chinese tables, but these days not many people pay attention to them. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind; especially if you are have a dinner in your Chinese friend’s home.

1. Chopsticks should not be left standing straight up in a bowl of rice. This act is said to bring bad luck to the restaurant owner as the chopsticks in rice look similar to incense placed in urns at temples when meals are offered to ancestors. So if you stick your chopsticks in the rice bowl, it looks like this shrine and is equivalent to wishing death upon person at the table!

2. You should know that finishing everything on your plate is not a good thing in China. If you eat all of your meal, the Chinese will assume you did not receive enough food and are still hungry.
Don't lose your temper. You can be form as long as you remain polite but to lose one's temper is an absolute loss of face.

3. Make sure the spout of the teapot is not facing anyone. It is impolite to set the teapot down where the spout is facing towards somebody. The spout should always be directed to where nobody is sitting, usually just outward from the table.

4. When eating, never point the knife or fork directly at someone, as this is a hostile signal and can cause the other party to have an accident.

5. Young children should not eat chicken feet as it is believed they might not be able to write well when they start school. They may also be prone to get in fights like roosters.

6. Don't tap on your bowl with your chopsticks. Beggars tap on their bowls, so this is not polite. Also, in a restaurant, if the food is coming too slow people will tap their bowls. If you are in someone's home, it is like insulting the cook.

7. Do not hang the cooking wok upside down or reversed. This signifies there is nothing to cook and indicates the opposite of abundance. The same applies to cooking pots. So the western style of hanging their pots and pans suspended above the kitchen table is something the Chinese frown upon.

8. When eating with a group, if there is a dish everyone is sharing (which is customary), do not use your chopsticks or the spoon you are eating with to dish your food. Use the serving spoon to dish into your bowl or plate and then use your spoon or chopsticks to eat. When using a toothpick in public, you should cover your mouth with your hand.