Etiquette you need to know before your Chinese New Year feast
Rule #1: don't stick your chopsticks in your food
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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