Feb 15, 2018

Prepare your stomachs and eating pants, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s Chinese new year tomorrow. There will be a lauriat, there will be tikoy, and, we’re hoping, there will be red angpao. How does one survive a Chinese new year feast? Simple: pace yourself.

Oh, and don’t forget your manners.

Never skewer your food with your chopsticks

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You’re not spearing a boar. This is considered rude across all chopstick-using cultures, particularly Chinese. When you stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice, it resembles incense left out for the dead.

Always use serving utensils, if not the back of your chopsticks

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Use the serving utensils. If not, use the back of your chopsticks. It’s just sanitary that way.

Avoid putting too much seasoning on your food

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For some, it’s considered rude to the chef to season one’s food with table soy sauce before tasting.

Younger people serve tea to their elders

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Lightly tap the table with two fingers to say thanks to your tea server

Legend has it that an emperor in disguise once poured tea for his servants. To show respect but not give away their master’s cover, they “bowed” by tapping on the table.

The practical reason? The tapping is done in lieu of speaking, so you don’t disrupt another conversation you might be having.

Don’t flip the fish when one side is done

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When eating a whole fish, eat the top part first, debone, and eat the bottom half. The Chinese regard a turned over fish as bad luck. It’s an old fisherman’s superstition.

Finish. Your. Rice.

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Another Chinese superstition says you’re not supposed to leave rice in your bowl. The number of grains left will be the number of pimples on your future spouse’s face. On a practical note, it’s not good to add to food waste.

Header photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Read more:

Hotel restos’ Chinese New Year specials you shouldn’t miss

Eat Chinese dumplings for good fortune this Chinese New Year

Eat your way through Chinatown for P500 or less

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