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 dim sum).
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
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 lose face.
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 offering.
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.