Food & Drink

10 Dos and Don’ts of Vietnamese dining etiquette

If you have the chance to home-stay with a Vietnamese family, it’s time for you to explore a totally new culture. To make it a memorable experience without any misunderstanding, keep in mind these small tips about Vietnamese dining etiquette:

5 DON’T-S 

1.Stick the chopstick straight into the bowl


Photo by

This is considered as consecrating the food to the people who passed away. For living people, it is the sign of bad luck and death.

2.Serve too much rice for one bowl


Photo by

It is impolite to some people if you serve them too much rice for one bowl. It’s also very difficult for that person to take other food into the bowl. Just serve the rice in around half or 2/3 bowl is enough.

3.Flip the fish on the plate


Photo by

If you don’t want to see the locals’ rage, never do this, especially if you are in a place near the sea. Flipping the fish is considered as an unlucky sign of fishermen’s flipping ship. Taking the fish-bone out is surely a better choice.


4.Point the chopstick to someone


Photo by

Pointing the fingers to someone’s face is rude, and pointing the stick on the dining table is far much ruder. Don’t make this mistake if you don’t want people to hate you.


5.Dig into the dish

Just take the food on the dish randomly. Don’t try to select, it’s very impolite when you seek for the good things and leave the not-good-enough part to others.


Photo by

5 DO-S

1.Wait for all people before starting the meal

Family Around Dinner Table --- Image by © Randy Faris/Corbis

Family Around Dinner Table — Image by © Randy Faris/Corbis

Photo by

Be patient if you see that there’s not enough people yet. Vietnamese people respects those who are polite and caring for others on the small actions like this.

2.Eat after the seniors and elderly


Photo by

You can be the first of anything but never be the first eater on the dining table. Wait until the elderly and seniors eat, then it’s your turn.

3.Stay until other people finish


Photo by

Leaving the table too soon will make others think that you don’t want to talk with them or you look down on them for being slow and eating at lot.  Show your respect by talking with them or helping to serve dessert if you have finished your meal. It is a good chance to build your relationship with the local family and learn more about their culture.

4.(For man) Serve wine or beers for other men


Photo by

‘Friends mean drinking together’, this is the key to building a strong bond among Vietnamese men. Don’t need to drink too much, but also don’t hesitate to offer the drink to the senior men in the same table. It shows your respects and eagerness in building rapport with them.

5.Wash the dishes/ Clean up the table after finish eating


Photo by

Show your gratefulness for the meal by giving the host a hand on cleaning up work. They will truly appreciate your kindness for helping them.



Most Popular

To Top