Inedible does not happen in nature, there are only bad cooks – so says one ancient Chinese proverb. Culinary art of this country has been perfected over many centuries. For three thousand years of its existence it has acquired all the very valuable knowledge and skills that allow Chinese dishes be among the most useful and delicious.
As a rule, all the tables in Chinese restaurants are round, and the dishes are placed on a special rotating disk in the middle. Thus, each guest can easily reach any dish. On the big gala dinner in the restaurant about forty different dishes are served, though everyone who sits at the table gets a bowl full of bland boiled rice and chopsticks. In the center of the table there is the main course.
Tea is very important!
Any lunch or dinner in China can not do without a cup of green tea. Before the meal guests are sure to be offered green tea. Leaving untouched cup of tea on the table is considered impolite or even rude act. Even if you do not like green tea, just make at least a sip – this is polite. The tea is served without sugar or milk.
The culture of Chinese meal
In China, food is often a reason to communicate. Compared with many other countries, where people in a restaurant make ordering for each individual participant of the meal, and in which food is served on a separate plate for each person, in China is usually done this way: anyone who sits at the table, orders what he wants, and when the waiter brings the meal, all present eat all ordered meals together. Everyone sitting at the table has a small cup of rice. In addition, there is an empty plate, which can be applied for food of those dishes that were brought by waiters. This can be done with chopsticks or if the situation is more formal, or you do not want to cause discomfort to other people, – by separate cutlery such as spoons. In this case, the meal for Chinese dinner table is a bit like in the style of “buffet”, when there is the opportunity to try several different dishes.
Senior eat first
The Chinese revere and respect their parents and older family members, so these members of the family start the meal. If grandparents are not present at the family dinner in a restaurant, an older man in the family is the first to start eating. Family Dining Etiquette and some table manners in China are similar to European: it is necessary to chew slowly, do not slurp, do not sip.
Laying the table in Chinese restaurant
Table layout is also very important moment for the traditional Chinese cuisine. So, there is the tradition to withstand a single color (usually blue and white), avoiding any sharp color contrasts. The meals consist of very skillfully sliced products (they may be in the form of grains, straw or wheat spikelets and even chrysanthemum petals), forming together the graceful figures of birds or fish, flowers or fruit, dragons or entire landscapes. In most cases, the uniqueness of the Chinese national cuisine is achieved by skillful handling of all feedstock.
We often associate setting a traditional Chinese table with the rather grand way tables can be laid out in Chinese restaurants. In these settings, sometimes plates are laid out with chopsticks atop; this is more the way a feast is presented, rather than a family meal. Setting the table for an everyday meal the traditional Chinese way is simple. It requires just a few supplies and a few minutes to get it right.
Things You’ll Need:
Chinese soup spoon
Small sauce bowl (optional)
Larger bowl for main course
Lazy Susan (optional)
Noise and smoking
Keep in mind that in some popular restaurants the locals, especially in the evening, can speak and laugh very loudly. Smoking in many Chinese restaurants is allowed. To create a more comfortable environment for those customers who want to escape from the noise and smoke, many great restaurants include separate rooms, fully fenced off from the common room.