When you have a Vietnamese friend or two, there will be occasions where they will invite you to their home to have a family meal with them. What should you do at those times?
Luckily for you, we have some tips. Firstly, check by the front door when you enter the house to see if there are shoes, as most Asians remove their shoes when entering a house.
Secondly, dress appropriately because you will most probably be seated on the floor, andthat means dresses or miniskirts are not recommended.
Thirdly, expect to be offered chopsticks to use. Do NOT stick them vertically into a bowl of food and leave them there. Simply put them on top of the bowl or on the side if you have to go somewhere, pause for a conversation in the middle of the meal, or when you’re done eating. Also, don’t play with the chopsticks during a meal, unless you’re a baby. Note, you can simply ask to use a spoon or fork if you don’t know how to use chopsticks to avoid any unnecessary embarrassment.
Fourthly, show your respect by waiting for the elders or the family owners to eat first, and be sure to say “mời cả nhà ăn cơm” (invite everyone to the meal) to them before you start eating.
Finally, make sure you thank the owners for the meal at the end of the meal. With these tips, you are ready to join any Vietnamese family meal anytime without fear of offending anyone.