Chinese Food Culture
As a country that pays great attention to courtesy, our cuisine culture is deep rooted in China"s history. As a visitor or guest in either a Chinese home or restaurant you will find that table manners are essential and the distinctive courtesies displayed will invariably add to the enjoyment of your meals and keep you in high spirits!
It is really an admirable custom to respect others at the table, including the aged, teachers and guests while taking good care of children.
Chinese people stress filial piety all the time. The practice of presenting the best or fine food first to the senior members of the family has been observed for countless generations. In ancient times the common people led a needy life but they still tried their best to support the elder mother or father who took it for granted.
Although the hosts in China are all friendly and hospitable, you should also show them respect. Before starting to eat dinner, the host may offer some words of greeting. Guests should not start to eat until the host says, "Please enjoy yourself" or something like that, otherwise it suggests disrespect and causes displeasure.
When hosts place dishes on the table, they will arrange the main courses at the center with the supporting dishes evenly placed around them. When the main dishes are prepared in a decorative form either by cut or other means they will be placed facing the major guests and elder people at the table. This also embodies virtue.