Table manner is considered very important in the Yue culture due to the fact that manners in general is very important. If a child have bad table manners, it reflects on bad parenthood. Therefore, many parents are very strict on their children. We call manners “JiaJiao” in mandarin. My parents weren’t super strict but they taught me 5 strict table manners that I had to follow.
- Dining can only begin when everyone has arrived, no matter how hungry you are.
- Never stick your chopsticks in your rice bowl because it looks like the incense that are used to commemorate the deceased.
- When going to a formal banquet, never finish all the food on the plate as it emphasizes that the host didn’t prepare enough food.
- Always spin the food to the elder/guest first on the Lazy Susan (spinning plate on the round table) to show a sign of respect
- Always ask others before taking the last piece on a dish
Even though there are a lot more table manners to follow, some families don’t view some of them as important anymore these days. The five table manners above are still viewed as very important to most Chinese family, so it is quite safe to still follow those to not offend anyone.