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seat­ing is quite com­pli­cated at a din­ner party as there are many fac­tors to be con­sid­ered. if there are many ta­bles, you should make clear which is the head ta­ble, who will be seated there and en­sure that your most hon­ored guest is of­fered the head seat.

the per­son with the high­est sta­tus among the guests will be seated on the right of the head. if there are no seat­ing signs, you can sim­ply fol­low the ar­range­ment of the host or ask where you should be seated. one should not sit down un­til the host sig­nals them to or af­ter the host has taken their seat. say “thank you” and be­gin to eat.

Af­ter the host and the most im­por­tant guest be­gin to eat, the dish can be turned to each of the re­main­ing guests. At other times, the host will ask guests to taste dishes first to show re­spect.

tea is served through­out a chi­nese din­ner party. in china, peo­ple of­ten give the per­son sit­ting next to them a re­fill of tea or wa­ter. If you have some­thing in your mouth and can­not say “thank you,” you do not have to feel em­bar­rassed. in­stead, you can tap on the ta­ble gen­tly with your fin­gers to show grat­i­tude.

to wel­come guests, the host will pro­pose a toast such as “wel­come and i wish us a pleas­ant even­ing, cheers!” or “to your health, cheers!” etc. the guests should give an ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse. Pre­par­ing a toast in ad­vance can come in handy on such oc­ca­sions.

in ad­di­tion, a lot of dishes are served dur­ing a chi­nese din­ner party, with each dish hav­ing a large amount of food. i have re­peat­edly seen for­eign­ers be­come full be­fore half of the dishes are served. There­fore, you should look at the menu first to un­der­stand the por­tions be­fore start­ing to eat. only by tak­ing your time, can you en­joy tra­di­tional chi­nese del­i­ca­cies to the fullest. so at the ta­ble, peo­ple of­ten say, “eat slowly, as good food is yet to come!” • Do not ver­ti­cally in­sert chop­sticks into food be­cause it is very im­po­lite. • You do not have to force your­self to eat all of the food if you are full or dis­like any of the op­tions. left­overs do not sig­nify im­po­lite­ness. • Chi­nese peo­ple of­ten hold the glass lower than that of oth­ers to show re­spect when propos­ing a toast.

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