Vietnamese table manners: Find a local friend and do as they do
If you have business travel to Vietnam and stay there for a while, it’s time for you to find a local friend to explore a totally new culture. During the time of work, you will definitely be offered a Vietnamese dinner at least once. To make it a memorable experience without any misunderstanding, these are some small tips about Vietnamese table manners.
Find a local friend and prepare for Vietnamese dinner
How to dress
It is possible that few people pay attention but dresses appropriately to meet up your local partner also contribute to the success of the project. In fact, you can find a local friend and take his advice about what to wear. You don’t need to wear a suit like a home-interview or short as if you are in a pool party. When you’re invited to their homes, your clothes should be politely comfortable.
In fact, you can find a local friend and take him shopping with you. He would be an amazing advisor indeed.
Don’t come with your empty hands
If you are invited to eat out, all you need is your best outfit and your enthusiasm. However, if you are invited to their homes, you need to find a local friend and ask him what to bring with you. A souvenir from your country is not a bad suggestion. Otherwise, Vietnamese people often have dessert with fruits so a basket of fruits will be welcomed here. Besides, you do not have to bring a bottle of wine. It’s not about the culture but about your health. The Vietnamese host will make you plastered with traditional wine which only used for precious guests before you can crave for a little red wine.
Let’s find local friends and learn some Vietnamese table manners
The man is first
Lady first? Yes, but not in Vietnamese diner. It’s the man first then. If you ever find a local friend and have dinner with his family, you would see the man in the family sitting at the prominent spot at the table and served first. Actually, the Dad will be in charge of sitting arrangement. Therefore, instead of people waiting for you to sit down as you have been doing in your homeland, you should wait for this man to sit down first then arrange for you.
>> Read now to explore some Danang restaurants to meet a local friend for business.
Next, you can habitually serve your wife, but if you do it several times whereas the Vietnamese husband doesn’t intend to do the same thing to his wife, they might have a serious talk. As long as your partner is the woman, you would get an extra 20% to win the deal. If that’s a man, you might get minus 10%.
Find a local friend to learn how to set a ‘proper’ Vietnamese table
Firstly, if you are new to “chopstick culture”, you should find a local friend to teach you how to use them like a master. It is because Vietnamese people usually have their meals with a rice bowl and chopsticks set out for each person. The youngest person in the house will grab the chopsticks up and try their best to find out which pairs are the same height and then give them to each person in the order “man first” as always. A spoon and a pair of chopsticks will be placed on your right hand. Besides, a salad plate underneath each bowl and napkins just appear in restaurants. Nevertheless, you have to put the unwanted bits of food (bones, skin, etc.) somewhere not on the table and the floor. That means you should ask for a plate for that food you pick out and some tissue rather than napkins.
Both hands on the table
To get used to this strange rule, you could find a local friend and invite him eating out. I’m sure he will remind you every minute you put your arm on your thigh or hip. Western dining etiquette says that you have your right to decide where to put your hands and elbows. However, Vietnamese mothers prefer asking their children “Where’s your other hand?” when they caught kids eating with only one hand on the table. If you have a hand on anywhere else, not on the table, they might keep staring at you. They won’t ask you directly but keep wondering what your other hand is up to under there. What is more, in Vietnam people often use both hands when they receive something from others. For this reason, putting both hands on the table means you appreciate this meal.
You had better find a local friend then visit his family to accustomed to this habit. Food in Vietnamese dinner isn’t presented individually but each sidedish is put together on the same plates. Family members use chopsticks to pick up what they want, put it in their bowl then enjoy it. Sometimes, for fear of food being out of your reach, or wanting to show their hospitality, they will grab food and put it in your bowl. Just eat it and let them know you love that dish. Maybe you are afraid to taste their saliva. Come on, saliva doesn’t taste!
Find a local friend training you how to chat during the meal
Literally, you could find a local friend and talk to him. He will point out what topics you should and should not mention during the meal with your partners. For Vietnamese people, meals are an intimate time. Everyone gathers around and talk about their lives, how their days were, being late for work, even about their boss’s pink tie or the fly sitting on the windowsill.
Nonetheless, the only thing they don’t say about when they’re eating is the work. “We will discuss more this issue at dining” never happens in this Southeast Asian country. Don’t expect to be able to adjust the details in the contract while having dinner here. Just be patient. Once you have a comfortable meal with full of laughter, all problems at work after that will become simpler.
In addition, unlike the recipes available online for western dishes, every Vietnamese dish has different recipes suitable for people in each region such as more peppery-taste for the Middle or sweetness in the South. Talking about food on the table is also a way to understand more about where you are going to invest in.
Lastly, one more tip for you is to find a local friend and practice several times with him. The secret is to observe and adapt. Don’t worry, missteps will be easily forgiven if you are a foreigner. As long as you memorize those Vietnamese table manners and walk through them, the moment your partner puts his arm around your shoulders, holds you tight and shouts at your face “1, 2, 3 dzooo”, you win the deal!