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Is this proper in a Chinese restaurant?

When eating chinese food, my husband likes to fill a rice bowl with rice and hold it up halfway to his mouth. Maybe a little closer than halfway. He then uses a chinese soup spoon to spoon the rice into his mouth. I thought it looked improper till he pointed to someone else and said "Look, he does it too". Sure enough, someone else was eating the same way. So, is it OK to eat rice this way??

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  1. I've always seen the rice bowl very near the mouth but eaten with chop sticks and I think that is indeed proper.

    1. My experience has been that adults use chopsticks to push rice from a rice bowl into the mouth. The bowl touches the lips. Using a soup spoon? Only kids do it. But there really aren't that strict a rule about how rice is eaten in Chinese restaurants.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PeterL

        Plus, it's pretty easy to "shove" the rice in your mouth using chopsticks, compared to picking up stuff. I've never seen anyone use a spoon though... but I guess I haven't really ever looked either!

      2. It's "okay" but he really should work on his chopstick skills a little bit more so he does not have to resort to the spoon. That's just my preference not state or federal law. Yet.

        1. I would just loosen up and relax.

          The most important thing is to actually get the food into your mouth.

          Unless your husband is dining at a super formal Chinese banquet, let him eat the way he likes.

          Most folks at Chinese places aren't going to care. After all, any notion of proper etiquette goes out the window when the folks at a table fight over the fish head ... and trust me, there is NO proper or dainty way to suck a fish head clean. None.

          8 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            You never saw my grandmother work over a fish head! We never fought over it...if she wanted it, familial respect dictated that she got it. And she would DAINTILY poke and prod the head until there was NO meat left, nor skin. I have no idea how she managed to do it do delicately...my brother and I tend to look like we're locked in mortal combat with the fish heads, surfacing every now and then for air before diving back in.

            1. re: ricepad

              Sucking on the eyeballs was my favorite thing to do as a kid. We would fight over them!

              1. re: ricepad

                Us, young whippersnappers just don't know how to properly eat fish head!

                Kudos to grandma!

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I'm all about effect, not impression! My *other* grandmother could put a chicken foot in her mouth and draw out nothin' but BONES! It's been over 30 years since I last saw her do that, and the memory is still vivid.

                  1. re: ricepad

                    My uncle can do wonders with duck head.

                    Give him some hoison sauce and any duck head will magically disappear in his mouth, without any trace of its prior existence on a plate.

                    1. re: ricepad

                      My dad lived to 93 and he ate the chicken drumstick that way too until he passed away. When he was about 90, there were a couple of months when he had to eat "mechanical soft" type foods (mushed up stuff)... he hated it and went on a hunger strike :-) I kept telling them to let him eat regular stuff, so finally the speech therapist came to look at his swallowing again. The ironic thing is that he died because he was having problems catching his breath after he choked on water when taking a pill. He was the best pill swallower in the world too! He could put a bunch of them in his mouth, sipped once, and swallow all.

              2. Well, if he goes to China he should use chopsticks and raise the rice bowl almost to his lips.