Top 10 China tours 2024/2025 for first visits and returns: embark on a lifetime experience. Learn more

10 Facts You May Not Know About Eating in China

Different countries have different eating customs. You may have tasted Chinese food in your country, but things are different in China. If you are planning a trip to China, this article will help you to know the basic facts about eating in China.

1. Chinese use chopsticks to pick up food, not knives and forks. See Chopsticks to learn how to use them and to learn about chopstick taboos.

2. Wheat noodles are the main staple diet in northern China, while rice is the main staple in the south. Restaurants in southern China also offer noodles, but they are usually rice noodles.

3. Rice is served separately (in shared meals): in small bowls. Meat/vegetable dishes are served on plates or in bigger bowls, placed in the middle for everyone to share. It's not one plate each, like in the West (unless eating fast food)!

4. Chinese cuisine varies across China. There are many regional cuisines with different flavors: spicy, sweet, sour, hearty, etc. Read more about China's regional cuisines.

5. Restaurants usually provide a round table for more than four persons. There may be a tempered glass lazy Susan in the middle of the table, which swivels round enabling you to reach each dish easily.

6. Ingredients of Chinese food are various and sometimes shocking to foreigners (frogs, chickens' feet, pigs' ears, intestines, dog meat, etc.). See unusual ingredients in Chinese cooking.

Round TableRound table with lazy Susan in the middle

7. There are usually no salt or pepper shakers, or bottles of tomato sauce on the table. But in compensation you may find bottles of soy sauce, vinegar, and chili paste.

8. Some Chinese restaurants can be quite noisy and smoky where people don't control their talking volume or smoking; though bans on smoking in public places have recently been implemented in some areas.

9. Tips are not expected in Chinese restaurants. The service fee is included in the food prices.

10. If the Chinese friend you are eating with put food on your plate, it's to show closeness and friendliness, not because they don't want it, or think you can't do it yourself. Nowadays this happens more often at family meals, where the young pass on food to their elders to show respect.

Travel to China and Experience Chinese Eating

To learn more facts about Chinese eating, take one of our private China tours.You may find out more interesting eating habits of the Chinese. See our recommended tours below for inspiration:

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

Sign up to Our Newsletter

Be the first to receive exciting updates, exclusive promotions, and valuable travel tips from our team of experts.

Click to Sign up

Why China Highlights

Customize Your Tour

Customize Your Tour

  • Travel Advisors Rooted in China
  • Instant Response, No More Waits!
  • Direct Connections, Supreme Values
Maximize Your Flexibility

Maximize Your Flexibility

  • Your own personal guide and ride.
  • Explore at your own pace.
  • Unparalleled flexibility, impossible on a group tour.
Ensure Your Satisfaction

Ensure Your Satisfaction

  • The Top 20% nationwide guides at your service.
  • 20% more space on your group's transportation.
  • 24/7 emergency support.
Live Your China Story

Live Your China Story

  • Authentic local culture and lifestyles.
  • Understand the culture by living it.
  • Uncover fascinating histories and witness New China.
China Highlights logo
Trip Advisor rating Rated 5 out of 5 | 98.8% Excellence
China Highlights International
Travel Service Co., LTD
Featured on
China Highlights was featured on these medias.

Address: Building 6, Chuangyi Business Park, 70 Qilidian Road, Guilin, Guangxi, 541004, China