How Should You Eat Fish When Dining in China?


Quick Answer

Diners in China who are served fish may find that the dish comes with a whole fish rather than a fillet; in these cases, the diner should eat the meat from the top half of the fish and, if he or she still wants to eat more, then remove the fish's skeleton using chopsticks in order to reach the bottom half of the meat. Diners should not flip the fish over on their plate in order to work around the fish's bones.

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How Should You Eat Fish When Dining in China?
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Full Answer

There is a somewhat superstitious reason diners should never flip over the fish on their plates. Fish can be seen to symbolize boats, and by flipping the fish, the diner is metaphorically flipping the boat, sending all those inside to a cold, watery grave. While not all Chinese people may see things this way, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid flipping a fish on one's plate. By using chopsticks to get a firm grasp on the fish's spine or tail, the diner should be able to lift the skeleton out and set it aside to make room for the rest of the meat. Once removed, the skeleton should be placed on the plate rather than on the table.

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