What are the rules for eating at round tables in China?

When eating and dining in China, there are a variety of formalities that you could follow when eating around a round table. Round tables are a traditional part of Chinese culture and allow you to enjoy a wider variety of food because you will be able to share many dishes with your friends and colleagues, rather than ordering yourself just one plate of food. They also place everyone equally around the table regardless of status or wealth. There are some rules to follow when eating at the round tables, and this page aims to give you an insight into how to politely dine.

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Eating And Technology

Do not all your favourite dish! With there being lots of delicious options to choose from it’s important not to eat all of one dish at a round table. The other diners may enjoy that dish equally as much as you do, so it’s important not to eat all of it and share all of the options. Also with Chinese food being very cheap, you can always order more of the popular dishes. 


As we grow into a progressively technologically orientated society, our smartphones become an ever-increasing part of our lives. When dining at a round table, it is important to be present and give your full attention to the other people. Therefore, to be most polite, it is important to put your phone on silent and not to use it. This is more significant if you are out with people that you are less familiar with.

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What shouldn't I do with chopsticks?

Using chopsticks, especially for people new to China, is much more difficult than using the traditional knife and fork. Like using a knife and fork, chopsticks also come with their own rules. You should not stab them into rice to balance them, as this is viewed as rude. Also, chopsticks cannot be placed to create an X. When you are using chopsticks, or a spoon, be sure to eat with your mouth closed and help people less able than you are first. No chewing out loud or slurping as this indicates, typically, that you are less educated.

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Will the rules be different in my city?

Whilst we’ve given you a brief introduction into the formalities of dining around a round table, it’s important to confer with the locals as they may have slightly different perspectives on what constitutes as good dinner manners. be sure to ask questions and remain curious as this can give you a deeper insight into following Chinese cultural norms, even outside of eating at a round table.

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Your FAQs

We’ve put together a Resources Page to answer your most frequent questions. From Saving Money, to Getting Your Z-VISA, we have gone into detail there.

Your school will apply for your VISA for you to work directly for them. We’ll be with you every step of the journey. We’ve created our own VISA Support Page. Remember, the VISA you’re applying for is a Z-VISA.

You will have a minimum of a one-year contract, that will be full-time. You can save a lot of money teaching in China, and we’ve put together more information for you to read.

When you are directly employed by the school, they will offer you insurance. This means private level care. Be sure to check your contract for sick days.

You will have to go through your bank to legitimately send money home. To do this, follow the steps they give you. Your school will help support you and will be able to translate anything you need.

That is fantastic news! Not speaking Chinese is great for your students, as you will be able to immerse them in English more. We’ve also put together an Essential Mandarin Guide, and Benefits For Learning Mandarin when you’re exploring.