Have you ever been shocked to sit next to your group of Chinese friends and realized where does all this noise come from? Yet all of a sudden, you realized that it is YOUR Chinese friend next to you chewing like a cow? Oh god, how embarrassing is that?!
You ask yourself again and again if it is the lack of education raised by the family or you put yourself in doubt and in embarrassment when this thing keeps happening over and over again. Simply enough, you do not understand why they could just constantly chew like a cow with high enjoyment even perhaps in a classy restaurant with a romantic landscape view of the city. How much of this romanticism has it been ruined? Even worse, perhaps you keep staring at your Chinese partner with his/her mouth opened while eating and he/she even offers you a bite of his/her food to try. All you could think of is to please end this embarrassment but how could I tell my partner straight in the face that “hey honey, er, could you please lower yourself a bit when you chew?” Even as indirect as you try, your Chinese partner will definitely “lose face” (big taboo in the Chinese culture) or hurt.
Simply the reason why:
Eating and fulfilling and satisfying the hunger has been long a very important aspect in the Chinese culture. To show the appreciation and the delicate cuisine we present it by making chewing noise to show it. Even when drinking hot tea for instance, the louder we make, the more it indicates the savor of such tea. When you as a foreigner spotted such an act from your Chinese friends/employees/relationship partners, it would be lovely to give some tolerance instead of hiding it in your thoughts and blaming for such bad manners. A little bit of nudge quickly to him/her would be highly appreciated.
When you are together with a Chinese person and you experience such thing, don’t give it a judgement first. The important thing to understand is that we do not do it on purpose, it has never been an intention for such misbehavior act in the western culture. Kindly present your point of view and always give a quick hint to us instead of keeping all your prejudices to yourself.