Having a meal together is a good way to start talking about business. If you’re interested in the Far East, you have to take into account the higher degree of formality that exist, when compared to the West. Make sure you learn the table etiquette of Eastern cultures, to avoid embarrassing situations. Here you can find some tips:


Chinese

  • Chinese often pick up their bowls and use their chopsticks to scoop the rice into their mouths.
  • As a general rule in China, you should always decline something given to you at least two or three times before accepting it.
  • Soups are usually eaten last.

Korean

  • Chopsticks are used to pick up food from shared dishes. Koreans actually use a long silver spoon to eat their rice.
  • They will only eat after the most senior person has started eating the meal.
  • Koreans don’t pick up their bowls when eating their rice.

Japanese

  • When the food is served, join your hands in the “Namaste” gesture and say quietly, “Itadakimasu” – the phrase literally translates as “I humbly receive.”
  • Do not pass the food at the table from a set of chopsticks to another set of chopsticks – it’s a very offensive gesture because when a Japanese family is sifting through the ashes after a cremation, they handle the bones of the deceased in a similar fashion.
  • Never plant your chopsticks in a bowl of rice. Instead, lay your chopsticks on the chopstick holder or at the edge of your individual plate.