rr asked in Society & CultureEtiquette · 1 decade ago

dining etiquette and table setting?

formal dining etiquette and table setting in Hong Kong style (be specification and with pic if possible)

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Hong Kong

    Seating & Dining Customs

    Banquet

    If a Chinese dinner has been arranged in a restaurant, the host will usually sit nearest the kitchen or service door. Then he will be in the least-favored position—sitting where the waiter will stand while serving individual portions of food (the waiter's "mark" being his serving utensils laid on the table). Some hosts, however, seat their most junior guests or family members at this slightly awkward spot so that the host can talk more easily to guests on either side of him. It is also becoming more common for hosts to sit next to foreign guests of honor.

    Should you find yourself in one of the "junior" seats on either side of the server's position, take comfort from the fact that your fellow diners are either even more "important" or older than you and you are honored to be sitting with them, or your host has flattered you by deciding you are one of the least status-conscious guests!

    Whatever your table position is, you may be expected to make at least one toast during the meal—to the course which is about to commence, if necessary, when everyone else has used up all socially-acceptable topics of mutual esteem! Every person stands up for a moment, raises his or her glass, and finds out who has the strongest constitution!

    Taking one's turn is also expected for tea-pouring at smaller gatherings where each guest leans over or rises to fill fellow-diners' tea cups. The almost surreptitious finger-tapping on the table that greets the pouring service is said to date back to a ploy invented by a Qing Dynasty emperor. While making an incognito tour of South China, the emperor visited a teahouse. In order to maintain his cover as an ordinary member of a party of travelers, the emperor took his turn at pouring tea for his companions. They started to acknowledge this astonishing honor by bowing in the usual fashion but the emperor told them they could simply tap the table with three fingers—two of which would represent their prostrate limbs, while the third finger would symbolize their bowed heads. The custom survives in Hong Kong and South China as a silent token of thanks for the gesture.

    Other, older habits have been known to make some visitors a little uncomfortable when not used to fellow diners slurping their soup, laying discarded bones on the tablecloth, and audibly making a meal of a meal.

    The second habit is dying out now that most restaurants provide side-plates for bones but it is still possible to see waiters clearing a table by sweeping everything into the middle of a tablecloth—rice bowls, chopsticks, bones and all—in order to have a vacant table as quickly as possible.

    As for meal-time noises, they are considered sounds of culinary appreciation, the slurping of soup also being an acceptable way of cooling it down before it burns the tongue.

    Hong Kong

    Chinese Dining: Beliefs and Etiquette

    Dim Sum

    "A Chinese dinner host will not expect a visitor to know all the traditions associated with a Chinese meal. But the visitor who knows some of them will gain 'face' and give 'face' to his host!"

    Investigating those traditions is part of the fun of a Hong Kong visit, where English-speaking friends or business associates will happily tell you the whys and wherefores of seemingly arcane rituals. You may even hear different versions of how a particular dining tradition originated!

    Foreign visitors will be forgiven for not knowing dining etiquette, just as they will be good-naturedly offered a knife and fork if their chopstick prowess is not up to par. Just as Chinese food, however, seems to taste better when it is eaten with chopsticks, so the whole meal will be more enjoyable if one knows a little of the ancient traditions and beliefs that place the meal in a 5,000-year-old culinary heritage.

    Why is a fish never turned over? Why do tea-drinkers surreptitiously tap tables? Why will there be a place laid for a guest who will never come? Why is it not improper to slurp you soup but improper to eat a fish head? Why are Chinese dinner tables round and how will you know who is the guest of honor? How and why will you say "Cheers!"?

    Although Western customs have influenced dining habits in Hong Kong, the majority of old traditions still live on. The guest of honor will usually be seated facing the door of entry, directly opposite the host. The next most honored guest will be seated to the left of the guest of honor. If the host has any doubts about the correct order of precedence for his guests, he will seat them on the basis of age.

    The host sits near the door, as in Western practice, so that he is nearest to the kitchen. If the meal is held in the host's home, he can then bring each dish to the table more quickly. He will himself serve his guests portions of food, on the tacit understanding that they are far too polite to help themselves.

    But for some dishes, especially fish, the host would never do so—for the good reason that the dish would be inedibly cool by the end of the service. Instead, each guest is expected to help himself.

    Hong Kong

    Finger Tapping

    There is another yum cha ritual that has an historic origin. When you see tea-drinkers tapping the table with three fingers of a hand, do not think it is a superstitious gesture. It is a silent expression of gratitude to the member of the party who has refilled their cup. The gesture recreates a tale of Imperial obeisance.

    The story tells of a Qing Dynasty emperor who used to go out and about on his lands on incognito inspection visits. While visiting South China, he once went into a teahouse with his companions. In order to preserve his anonymity, he took a turn at pouring tea as not to have done so would have revealed his special status. His shocked companions wanted to kowtow to him for the great honor he was doing them. Instead of letting them reveal his identity, the emperor told them to tap three fingers on the table. One finger represented their bowed head and the other two represented their prostrate arms. Apocryphal or not, the relatively modern tale is the basis for the charming custom of discreetly tapping your acknowledgment of a tea-drinking companions consideration.

    Source(s): Hope this helps.
  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    The dining room table is where friends and family come together over a bountiful meal to share stories, trade jokes and catch up. So it’s no surprise that many people shop for a table right before the holidays. But before you run out and buy the first thing you fall in love with, you’ll need to consider a few factors first. Another popular feature in casual dining is the butterfly leaf. This is a simple design concept where unused table leaves, which otherwise have been stored in closets or under beds, fold in half on a hinged center bar, and tuck inside the table.

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