Asian Dining Etiquette

Dining Etiquette In Asian culture, entertaining and communicating is very much about dining. For Asians, almost everything is a symbol and has a special meaning, including etiquette, meals and placement. This is why you need to get familiar to these practices and understand them, before having contact with the Asian culture. Don’t hesitate to ask the host in any circumstances that you feel uncertain about. This will be a sign of interest and respect towards their culture.

When an Asian host is sending you an invitation

  • You should confirm the acknowledgement of the invitation, whether you accept it or not.
  • Coming too early is unacceptable. It’s better to come a bit later, if you can’t be exactly on time. An exception might be the Chinese weddings, which are often delayed.
  • When it comes to a formal invitation or a special event, if the invitation does not specify it, ask your host about the dress code.
  • When you go to a Muslim home, don’t overdress, just put on modest clothes.
  • Don’t forget to say thank you. If you do it by telephone the following day, it will have an even greater impact. Although it is a Western custom, you can send flowers before or on the following day.

How to invite an Asian guest

  • If you own a dog, be sure to lock him in a different room. Muslims are forbidden contact with dogs and most of the Chinese fear dogs.
  • Take into consideration the Ramadan month when inviting Muslims.
  • Don’t serve a Muslim any alcohol, they are not allowed. If the guest is coming unexpectedly, then you should serve drinks.
  • Before launching a lunch or dinner invitation, inquire about any food restrictions. Muslims have very strict rules about what they can and cannot eat, as Allah approves or prohibits. The approved food is called Halal and the prohibited food is called Haram. Haram includes alcohol, pork, animal and lard shortening, pepsin, gelatin, animal hormones, monoglyceride and diglyceride emulsifiers if they originate from animals.
  • In order to be sure you don’t make any mistakes, cook chicken, fish and vegetables, as Muslims don’t eat pork, Hindus don’t eat beef and some other guests could be vegetarian.

Photo credit: midorisyu on Flickr

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