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Asia’s Dining Etiquettes

It’s always a good thing to review some practices of Asian dining etiquette because western traditions generally differ greatly from those accepted in Asia. Here are some guidelines on general dining etiquette practiced throughout Asia. Keep in mind that it’s most important to be respectful and courteous.  
It is not uncommon for Asian meals to be served family style or on public plates for everyone to share.  Remember to use the center spoons provided on each dish when helping yourself.  Also, never rest your chopsticks upon the plates that are meant to be shared.
If there is an instance where utensils aren’t provided for everyone, you’ll have to put your chopsticks to use when offering food to guests.  However, it’s customary to flip your chopstick over; so that the end that touches your mouth isn’t in contact with the food you’re serving to someone else.
Tea is usually served with meals throughout Asia, and if someone refills your teacup, tapping your fingers three times symbolizes appreciation.  As one of your guests or your server fills your cup, simply place two fingers on the table and tap lightly three times.  This method was developed to silently show gratitude without interrupting any conversation that may be going on.
Your meals will most likely be served with a bowl of soup without a spoon.  You’ll have to pick up the bowl with both hands to sip the soup, and use chopsticks to pick up any solid pieces that may be in the broth.
Dining is one of the most essential ways of communicating and entertaining in Asia. Meals, etiquette and placements have many important meanings and you should make a special effort to know and understand them. If you are uneasy in a certain situation do feel free to ask your host. They do not regard your questions as embarrassing but as showing respect and interest in their culture.
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