Thanks to our Member Huan for sending in these tips about her home city.
1. Chinese people are very superstitious; for example, the saying goes that wearing a green hat means that your wife will cheat on you – hence men don’t wear green hats!
2. If you are invited to someone’s home, you are expected to take a gift – even if they say they don’t want you to bring anything! For younger middle class people flowers are acceptable, but not so older people who regard them as a frivolous waste of money preferring instead gifts of food.
3. Reservations for dinner are not the done thing in China, and even if you succeed in making one the chances are they won’t take any notice and you’ll still have to wait. If restaurants are busy they often have a ticket system – you take a ticket and then wait or wander. Lunchtimes and the weekend will be the busiest times.
4. Tables tend to be round in China and the ‘upseat' or what we may refer to as the ‘head of the table' is reserved for the more senior, most respected member of the party.
5. When it comes to street food, if you would eat from a burger van back home then you would be ok with street food in Beijing, which is invariably cooked fresh and in full sight.
6. If you go out to dinner with Chinese friends there is no such concept as going Dutch or splitting the bill; one of you will pay, and at a later date the favour will be returned.
7. Rings don’t really mean anything; for example they don’t symbolize that someone is married.
8. Bathroom facilities throughout China are not great, even in upscale malls and restaurants. Take toilet paper and hand sanitizer with you.
9. In the north of China, houses have central heating and will be warm in winter. But not so in the south, where the cold and damp seeps in and even hotels and guest houses can be freezing.
10. In markets you can expect to bargain, but not so in shopping malls.