The physical distance between the UK and China is approximately 8150 km (or 5062 miles for us Metric users). With the fast pace of technology and more accessible transport links, you could assume that cultural differences no longer play such an obstacle for student travellers going from the West to the East. However, there are still quite a few dining customs that students should take head of when traveling to China.
Playing with Chopsticks
For a child or a westerner not accustomed to using Chopsticks on a daily basis, Chopsticks almost seem like a toy. I certainly got a stern telling off from my parents if I ever picked up my chopsticks and pretended to play the drums to a song on the radio. Weird as it may sound – chopsticks are to be treated very delicately and with a certain amount of respect. A big no-no is sticking chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice. This is a symbol of death and linked to Buddhist funeral rituals, so definitely a topic to avoid at the dinner table.
When taking a rest from dinner or leaving the table for a toilet break, make sure to leave your chopsticks on the side of your plate or on the chopstick rests if the restaurant is particularly fancy. Once you are full up on local Chinese cuisine – lay your chopsticks across your bowl and it will be soon removed by your server.