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Serving and Eating Etiquettes

http://www.chinese.cn 11:12, November 15, 2010 Xinhua News Agency

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During a banquet, there are serving and eating etiquettes.

Serving Etiquettes

Serving etiquettes are mainly about where and how to place a dish. Also, clearly stipulated are matters such as the direction in which a dish points, how a steward should hold a dish and where a main course is placed. When serving, the steward balances a dish on his left palm with the right hand assisting.

Serving and Eating Etiquettes
Serving and Eating Etiquettes

The meal normally starts with a set of about four cold dishes, then to be followed by the main courses of hot meat and vegetable dishes. Soup then will be offered (unless in Guangdong style restaurants) to be followed by staple food ranging from rice, noodles to dumplings. If you wish to have your rice to go with other dishes, you should say so in due time, for most of the Chinese prefer to have the staple food at last or have none of them at all.

When hosts place dishes on the table, they will arrange the main courses at the center with the supporting dishes evenly placed around them. When the main dishes are prepared in a decorative form either by cut or other means they will be placed facing the major guests and elder people at the table. This also embodies virtue.

The direction of a dish is considered particularly important when serving a whole fish. Usually the tail is placed toward the most honored guest because of its being easier to pick meat off the bone from the lower part. In winter, however, the fish fresh at the stomach is tender and rich, so this side is placed toward the honored guest. In summer the best part is its back.

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