Unlike the West, where everyone has their own plate of food, in China the dishes are placed on the table and everybody shares. If the hosts are hosting guests, they will do their best to show their hospitality. For example, preparing as many dishes as they can and ask you to keep eating despite if you are full or not.
If you are invited by a Chinese host, here are a few etiquettes you need to know!
1. If there are older people to eat with, let the older people eat first.
2. The Chinese eat with chopsticks. And sometimes the Chinese host uses their chopsticks to put food in your bowl or plate. This is a sign of friendliness.
The appropriate thing to do would be to eat the whatever-it-is and say how yummy it is. If you feel uncomfortable with this, you can just say a polite thank you and leave the food there.
3. Don’t stick your chopsticks upright in the rice. Instead, lay them on your dish. Because it’s like incense burner with incense. Chinese burn incense to the ancestors and gods, so it’s rude to do so while eating with others.
4. Don't tap on your bowl with your chopsticks. Only Beggars tap on the bowls.
5. It’s rude to rifle through the dishes for what you want to eat.
6. It’s inelegant to suck the chopsticks.
7. The most formal manner: not to leave your bowl on the table while you’re eating. Hold it in your hand.
8. If you finish eating before others, and you want to leave the table, the polite way is to put your chopsticks next to your bowl and say “我吃饱了，你们慢慢吃。Wǒ chī bǎo le, nǐ mén màn màn chī.（I‘m full. Enjoy.）” or “你们慢用！Nǐ mén màn yònɡ(Enjoy!)