You may feel a little nervous, not knowing what to do if you are invited to a Chinese banquet. In today’s article, we’ll show you everything you need to know about Chinese table settings.


Table settings


First things to know:


– Chopsticks in China are used in all meals.

– The food is placed in the center of the table and can have more than one main dish that is taken with rice.

– Some foods are picked up and placed in the bowl, which you take near your mouth to eat.

– The bones and seeds that are not eaten are placed on the table or a plate but never returned to the bowl with rice.

– When finished, the person carefully places the chopsticks on the table; they are not left in the rice bowl.

– The soup is served at the end of the meal, except in Guangdong Province, where it is served at the beginning.

– In restaurants, a rotating tray in the center of the table allows customers to see a variety of dishes.

– Toasted bread is found throughout the table and sometimes at a neighboring table.

– At formal banquets, guests should have brief, friendly words prepared to respond to the host’s comments.


Utensils used


-Wet washcloth: the cloth is to wipe your hands before and during the meal.

-Bowl with spoon: there is a regional difference to use. In the south, people serve themselves from the communal dishes into their small bowl and spit bones, skin, etc. onto the plate. Elsewhere, the bowl is saved for soup or fried rice.

-Small sauce bowl: this little bowl is used for dipping sauce.

-Wine goblet: it will be used to serve any communal alcohol you order.

-Tea glass/teacup: Typically, the service also includes a teacup. Sometimes tea is served in a glass.

-Spoon and chopsticks

-Plate: the plate can be used for serving yourself food or for keeping the non-edible pieces

-Cloth napkin: It is pretty rare to find a cloth napkin in a Chinese restaurant. If you do have one, the etiquette is to put one corner under your plate and then let it hang into your lap


This set is probably the maximum number of items you’ll have at your table. Depending on the simplicity of the restaurant, you may find only the bowl, plate, and a set of chopsticks.



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