1 -- If
someone invites you to dinner it is a compliment
and honor. Arrive promptly, and no more than 15 minutes
early. In Western culture you eat and then afterwards
relax and talk. In China, the main social event is the
meal itself, and the gathering ends when the guests rise
from the table. You may, therefore, leave whenever you
feel it is appropriate.
2 -- Most Chinese
families eat dinner between 6:00 pm and 7:00 PM and dinner
is the most important meal of the day. The mainstay of
the diet is rice.
3 -- A typical simple
Chinese breakfast is congee (rice porridge with fish or
meat or vegetables). A Cantonese breakfast consists of
a variety of several small dishes, such as meatballs,
vegetable dumplings, and BBQ Pork Buns (commonly called
4 -- The social norms
in China in regards to alcohol, like most things, have
their own particularities. If you prefer to abstain from
drinking, you should be prepared for a certain amount
of peer pressure, and it is therefore helpful if you practice
how to do so gracefully. It is poor taste but acceptable
to get drunk in a bar or disco, but not recommended as
it makes you vulnerable to theft. It is never acceptable
to get drunk while eating dinner at someone's home, even
if the host should do so.
Ed. note: Women travellers should always watch
their alcohol intake. Too much to drink and your reasoning
ability diminishes and everybody sees you as 'fair game.'
5 -- If you want to
bring a gift to the family, a gift from your culture or
toys for the children is acceptable. Food or candy is
often a good gift. If you are travelling with a man tell
him that he should never give a gift directly to your
host's wife. This can be misunderstood and your host will
6 -- Chinese eat a
lot of fish and spicy food. If you are sensitive to spicy
food you may want to drink a glass of milk before you
go to dinner. Chinese families will understand if you
say the food is too spicy for you and you cannot eat it,
but you should at least be courteous enough to taste it,
if you can.
7 -- In the evening,
Chinese go out to have a good time, so restaurants are
jovial and the noise levels are high.
8 -- Asking to take
left over food with you from a restaurant is acceptable
if you are paying the bill.
9 --T here is generally
no tipping in Chinese restaurants (except in the big cities
and in big hotels). They have never heard of it and the
waitresses give all the money on the table to the cashier.
10 - Always call if
you cannot keep a date.
- If you travel into the countryside and accept
lodging with a family you do not know, always privately
offer money to the wifebefore you leave. It is customary
to refuse three times before accepting the money. Keep
Ed. Note: For obvious
reasons, a woman travelling solo should be extremely careful
about accepting free lodging from someone they do not
know. That said, trust your intuition and your gut feeling
and try to make at least one other person know where you
are spending the night.
12 - Chinese people
do not hug when they greet one another or part.