Why do Chinese people eat with their mouth open?

mouth opened

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.

Cultural Confrontations:

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.

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66 thoughts on “Why do Chinese people eat with their mouth open?

  1. I study at a university in downtown san francisco and there’s a large international student population from mainland china. Sometimes they eat in the library quiet room and the lip-smaking noises are so distracting I almost lose my mind. I have to get up and go for a walk to regain my composure.

    Its like they’re intentionally eating loudly as a practical joke. Am i on candid camera? What’s the freaking deal here?

    • It’s mostly, from my perspective, a cultural thing. As a Chinese anomaly, I loathe my parents, friends and classmates making noise while eating the ambrosia in front of me that I think only cilvilised men deserve. I asked them once to tone down a little- not to smack their lips and slurp so dramatically while drinking soup, but they just kept doing. I am sure that in ancient China, this was not the case, as I believe that Confucius would not do that, as well as the aristocrats who composed most of the Chinese greats works, mostly of which we, now, still hold dear for the extant preservation of Chinese traditions. What changed, I believe, was, during the chaotic society after the end of Qing Dynasty, people eradicated Chinese traditions, and during the Cultural Revolution, the extirpation of our culture was in its peak, and, as a result, the noise while eating, a blatant infraction of Chinese tradition etiquette, came into prevalence.

      Another point, one that I also consider highly probable, is that the habit of making noise while eating predominantly exists solely in southern China. I went to Beijing several times, and as a “fanatical opponent” of making noise while eating, I paid very attention to people in restaurant to see if they make noise. What astonished me was that smacking their lips, chewing with mouth open and many other things other than talking out loud while eating were almost in no existence! (Yet I observed some Cantonese on a business trip smacked their lips severely) Thus, if you want to know if it is a cultural things or a majority thing, I’d say it’s a cultural thing that may only apply in certain parts of China

      • I think it has more to do with the way people are raised… I’m Cantonese and my parents always made it a point to not chew with my mouth open. I work and occasionally eat lunch with my co-worker who carries a heavy Northern accent.
        He chews with such intensity, it’s distracting and frankly, it’s very annoying. I’ve met people from both North and South that have different customs and practices, I think it boils down to the parents’ teachings and whether or not they’re taught etiquette.
        Usually my parents refer to these people as people without “ga gao” translated to mean “family taught/teachings.” The ones who are loud, obnoxious, discourteous, unappreciative, or not very thoughtful of others.

    • I really don’t know if this article is entirely true. I’m Chinese and I was raised/taught to always chew with mouth closed. It makes me super grossed out when I see others chew with their mouth open. I think it lacks class and manners.

    • OMG Im in the SAME situation RIGHT NOW
      There is a Chinese girl sitting near me at Syd Uni, in a quiet area in the library – and she is chewing so loudly, smacking her lips, mouth open like a masticating cow. It is ANNOYING as HELL. I want to tell her to SHUT UP! Its freaking RUDE. I dont care if its your culture there – its not ours here. Please respect that! Its a library not a food court.

  2. I was wondering why Asian people do this too. I see this at the hotels I stay at and a family member of mine will soon marry an Asian person which I’m happy for but the open mouth and eating noises are very distracting and annoying. I wish they would try to understand that if they are in the US they should practice closed mouth eating.

      • Incorrect. If you have ever spent time in Korea, you will know that Koreans strictly eat with their mouths open. How can I say that? Nine years in Korea and marriage to a Korean. My wife will eat with her mouth closed around me, but if she ever spends a weekend with her family, she will come back smack-happy as when we first met. According to the people I’ve talked to about it over the years, it helps maintain temperature (Koreans eat food that is waaay too hot for my mouth) and brings a level of enjoyment, as though it enhances the flavor. Yes, I am generalizing here, and no I do not believe 100% of the population does this; it probably caps around 99.5%.

      • I have to kindly disagree. I live in Korea and many people here eat with their mouths open. I really like it here but the eating habits (chewing loudly, smacking, slurping) are rampant and disgusting.

    • americans eat noisily as well, at least the ones i have seen. whenever i see a europian with such a behavior i think the reason must be the american cultur shown in the media

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  4. It is not because of culture. I am Chinese, and there is no rule (until I read your article) I’ve heard of that says you should chew with your mouth open. Personally, my parents have told me and my sister to not chew with our mouths open, so that doesn’t mean that all Chinese people do this. However, I think it is a matter of area. China is considered more underdeveloped. In most places of China you will find that generally the area is not as, should I say, developed/rich/civilized (not being racist to my own race, just the truth) as the US/UK/America or wherever, and don’t care much about etiquette. So generally in China people aren’t as educated in etiquette as in other places. I hope I made sense… Oh well.

    • I knew a chinese guy some years ago who was a lovely man but his eating habits were just awful. In the end I had to tell him that how he was eating was just unacceptble. He did try to amend the noise somewhat after that

  5. With respect to some of the comments here, I think some balance needs to be brought to this debate. Firstly, this is not about prejudices, whatsoever. Secondly, not all Chinese make a lot of noise when they eat, thirdly, people know what I am talking about. We aren’t talking about a minor smacking of the lips, what I’m referring to is this total utter bullshit ridiculous “I can hear you smacking your fucking lips from 40 feet away” utter stupidly loud eating that Chinese (other Asian cultures, I cannot comment) people do. Right now I’m in an office in Sichuan, and my colleague is eating her dinner and making the most obscene, ridiculous, preposterous and disgusting noise I’ve ever heard. It’s not a minor thing, it’s a full on assault of the ears. We aren’t eating together, she’s sat at her desk, and I’m sat at mine 10 feet away. I have urgent work to get on with but I can’t focus because the only noise filling my ears and brain is her munching on her 鱼香肉丝 from the shitty company cafeteria and quite frankly, she sounds like a fucking disgusting pig, and I have a lot less respect for her because of it. The food she’s eating is not some delcious Asian culinary masterpiece, it’s not even particularly good 鱼香肉丝,it’s shitty, cheap cancerous horrible shite made with the cheapest ingredients on earth, cooked by a slave labourer who is more concerned about how he’s going to live on less than 5 dollars a day into his old age, whilst he simultaneously dumps a few extra sacks of MSG just to speed up the metastasis. It appears this is simply a disgusting bad habit that is more prevalent in China, particularly rural China, more so than it is in Hong Kong, or Taiwan (if we’re counting them as part of the PRC) or indeed, in other countries. This has nothing to do with me looking down on her, her culture, or her cuisine. I love Sichuanese cuisine and my ex was from Sichuan, and I loved her very much. There are bad and disgusting habits which are more prevelant in certain cultures than others, for example, in Britain we eat, drink and have unprotected sex way more than other countries with a similar level of Economic and human development. This is simply a bad habit we have, it by no means means we are bad people. Living in an Asian country has made me realise how promiscuous drunk and greedy British people are, and it’s no more or less disgusting than this utterly disgusting noise Chinese people make. No one’s perfect, regardless of your race, language, culture or nationality. Let’s not let political correctness and cowardly accusations of ‘prejudice’ stand in the way of us leaving a better world for our kids. Peace.

  6. i have traveled extensively through asia, and all asians smack their foods when they eat to varying degrees. japan being the first industrialized (i.e. westernized) asian nation, there is less social acceptance of this. the women are generally quiet when eating (but they are quiet as a national characteristic — oppressively so, imo) — unless eating ramen (but who doesn’t slurp a little when eating wet noodles?). japanese men are bolder. koreans are behind this learning curve, having industrialized about 15 years after the japanese. there is more loudness in general, reflective of an overall joviality that is their cultural trait. mainland chinese are hopelessly behind in this respect — but who cares, they are the world’s best cooks, so let them eat and enjoy as they please.

  7. I am Chinese, well Cantonese, and I apologize for the higher number of population in our race that does this. Growing up in America I remember being taught not to chew with an open mouth very early on by friends and my mother I believe, they told me it was rude. That being said smacking lips when eating is one of my biggest pet peeves to a point of where I loose my appetite, I quickly become irritated, and try not to yell. My parents are from Hong Kong and I believe the problem is much less significant there as it has been westernized for a while. I do have relatives from mainland china that I go visit sometimes and it is agonizing, especially when there are tables loads of them (I have a big distant family).
    Recently I have had one of those family members from the mainland come stay with my father and I to study at USC. As you can probably guess she eats with her mouth open everywhere. I am conflicted on how to deal with it. Every bone in me wants to correct her, but I would feel incredibly rude as it is not a manner highly considered in mainland china Please help.

    • douglas,
      i understand how it may be uncomfortable for you to correct your cousin’s table manners. you don’t want your cousin to “lose face” at the dinner table. also, it may appear that you are somehow presenting yourself as “better” or more refined. but it’s really ok to make a gentle suggestion! would you rather she remain oblivious? if it annoys you that much (rightfully so), you will begin to detest her… maybe even blow up at her for something unrelated…i’m serious. either you (if you are the elder), or your father, has every right to correct this offense. maybe you can say something like “americans are very sensitive to this” in a cautionary tone. since she is learning the western ways and hasn’t lived here very long, now is the best time to bring the subject up! part of hosting her at your home is easing the culture shock, most things being fun and exciting — but there will be these times, too. she’ll understand!
      swm

  8. I was born in Canada and my parents arrived from China. Some folks from the prior generation seemed to have the etiquette. China seem to have lost the etiquette after a generation of chaos where they were only concerned with feeding their stomachs. I noticed that the generation that went over before the war have different eating habit. For example, my cousin from China makes a mess of the dining room table when eating. My relatives from N.America do eat much more neatly and the cleanup after eating is less than mine from China.

    I have a horrible experience with my in-laws who make a slurping noise considerably louder than my Collie.

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  10. If only I had known what kind of noise I would have to suffer through at my own dinner table before I agreed to host an international student from Hong Kong (for two years!!). Honestly, the lip smacking, slurping and chomping that goes on is disgusting. There are only three of us at the table for meals; the student, my hubby and I. I have positioned the student beside me so I can’t see him as I would lose my dinner if I had to see as well as hear him. My husband is lucky to be hard of hearing :). He is a nice young man and I like him as well as his parents, who we have hosted in our home (the noise when there are three of them is utterly soul destroying) and I don’t want to offend any of them. Surely when it’s just the three of us he is aware of the fact that he eats very differently from us? His posture at the table is ridiculous and even though he is bent forward and scraping food in to his mouth from the edge of the plate he still manages to make a disgusting mess. I know he is probably accustomed to using bowls rather than a plate but when offered bowls he refuses them. He does not use chopsticks at home so doesn’t use them at our home so his problem is not from lack of experience with a fork. I don’t think I can get through two years of listening to it and I know he would be so upset if he had to change host families as he likes us and our home. I’ve run out of excuses to eat later in the evening. I’m not comfortable in my own home any more. What to do?

    • This whole notion of expressing satisfaction, appreciation, or complimenting the cook is rubbish. My roommate is Chinese and whether he cooks a delicious meal or microwaves a TV dinner that cost a dollar, the same noises come out of his mouth. This is the case with chewing gum as well (God help me), which isn’t technically even food. So there are three possibilities. 1) Chinese people, especially mainlanders, exist in a cultural milieu where there is nothing sanctioning loudness. This should be unsurprising given how much louder they speak than the rest of the planet. When you are poor and uneducated, there are bigger things to worry about than manners, mainly feeding yourself. 2) If it is the case that Chinese are expressing appreciation or satisfaction, then why do they do it when 1) they cook for themselves and 2) they both cook for themselves and eat by themselves, even when they think no one is home? If they are in effect complementing themselves for a job well done cooking, then that becomes cocky and narcissistic when it happens during every meal. The second question is like asking, if a chinese person is eating and no one is around to here him, does he make a sound? Yes, it reverberates through the goddamn heavens. Related to main point 2), if he/she is merely “savoring” the food, this is both pure superstition (eating louder has no effect on the deliciousness of food and any effect is placebo) and reflects and overall self-interest and lack of respect for those around him/her. The self-interest is related to the cockiness of point 1. That is, they privilege their own satisfaction (eating loudly to somehow coax all the deliciousness out of the food) over the desires of the people around them, whether they are sleeping or eating or studying, as it the case in my apartment. This is the sticking point and, has really been my only concern with the chinese I see and interact with on a daily basis–they have no sense of social conscientiousness or presence. I should say that I am in the US and, just as they would want if I were to visit China, they should at least make an ATTEMPT to understand the MOST BASIC of norms in the country they are living in. That they dont is further evidence for the conclusion that they are not socially conscientious, self-centered or self-infatuated and have an extremely underdeveloped theory of other minds, which reflects their childhood development.

    • OMG I have a Chinese student here but he has only been here since February, is leaving in JUNE Thank god, he is a great kid! BUT!!!!! The lip smacking and open mouth is beyond what I can take. The other day he told me that he cannot eat potato chips or any type of snack like that as it cuts this inside of his mouth. It did not dawn on me right away, however I realize that this happens as he is not chewing, rather he is chopping and very loudly I might add, I have a difficult time sitting at the dinner table and the bagel he eats in the AM will wake the dead. I think I had made a hint to him one day and he stated that in China it was compliment to smack the food around loudly, I told him that here was the opposite, it was considered gross, still no change, you are not alone UGH!!!!!

  11. It is all about enjoying the food and showing it. There is nothing more to it. It is a cultural trait, and in China, it is seen as a sign that someone is having a great time, not that he is being rude.

    • Fine in China . Their rules.
      Not acceptable in the West.
      Its disgusting and very basic behaviour. We’re civilised humans arent we, or animals?

  12. I work with three Chinese guys and only one of them shows this trait. I have recently learned that there is a disorder known as Misophonia which explains the high levels of anxiety and frustration that I experience when I hear somebody eating so loudly. The guy smacks his lips so loud that it annoys everybody in the office, even the other Chinese guys. Unfortunately I have no idea how to confront him to tell him that I feel like I’m going to explode and punch a wall from the sound effects he makes!

  13. Where I work I have four Asian co-workers. This is where I came to make the observation that at least two of them, (since I don’t have lunch with the other two) smack their lips when they eat. So I wondered if it was part of Asian culture. But you can’t just read online that “yes, it is”, because that’s my GUESS too, and I could have easily written a blog post or a Yahoo Answer that asserted that it was, even though I was only guessing. I wanted to know for sure, from Asians themselves (though I’m too worried about offending my co-workers to ask them directly). Seems to me, after a bit of searching, that there are two main comments I want to make: 1) Not all Asians agree that this has anything to do with their culture. But that simply means it may pertain only to specific regions of the globe. 2) I’m not sure that it’s really a sign of appreciation to the chef, since my co-workers smack their lips eating the food they’ve prepared themselves, or the chewing gum they bought from the store. Nevertheless, it’s doubtless that there is some connection to Asian culture, or else so many people wouldn’t be asking the question.

  14. oh no, poor trish! since it’s been a few months, i’m curious, how did you follow-up on this? i am asian and know exactly what you mean — and you describe it to a tee. my advice is to gently point this out to the exchange student. it’s really the only way.

  15. I chew with my mouth open all of the time! I feel like the air circulation it provides increases the flavor. 🙂

    • Eat like a pig in your own home. What are you, an animal ? Eating with your mouth open and smacking your food is disgusting, primitive and just bloody rude in the West.
      Lets hope you dont get a smack in the face one day cause you have bad table manners.

  16. We have employees from China who come to our HQ in the USA for training. These are very well educated people in professional occupations. While making noise is usually not an issue, spitting food and scraps on the table as well as talking and chewing with an open mouth full of food is a big concern. When chewing piles of food with an open mouth, food goes everywhere … all over the table, all over their faces, their clothes and even you if you sit too close. After the first time this happened, I started presenting a 30 minute “Business Manners in USA” class that addresses these issues, but despite “training” these employees continue to have horrific (by US standards) table manners. I know that once they return to China it will not be an issue, but it is deeply disturbing to their US team. I do not want to embarrass or offend them by calling this out as it happening, so would very much welcome suggestions.

  17. I’m an American living in Hong Kong and this drives me absolutely insane. It causes this strange mix of panic and rage when I hear the CHAP CHAP CHAP SLUUUUURP CHAP CHAP GLOMP CHOMP CHAP noises. Trust me, I wish that it didn’t bother me. It’s not actually physically harming anyone, so why am I so bothered? And, hey, I came into someone else’s country. What right do I have to come into someone’s home and tell someone else how to eat, no matter how much I hate it? This is my problem, not theirs.

    Psychologists have identified what they believe to be a neurological disorder called “misophonia”, but it’s poorly understood. I’m not entirely convinced that biology is a sufficient explanation, but there definitely IS more to it than just “disliking someone’s manners”. I’ve actually paid my check early and left restaurants because the sound was ruining my meal. Anyway, I’ll be leaving Hong Kong soon. There are a number of other cultural factors that have led me to believe that I’ll never be able to integrate here as I’d hoped, but certainly I cannot wait to go back to my home country and enjoy the relative peace and quiet of a cafe in which people aren’t shouting at each other or into their mobile phones while slurping and chomping at 120 decibels.

    • Maybe in Hong Kong or China where these bad manners prevail , but its the way of the “culture” there, then it is your problem.
      But in the west , where chomping, smacking and slurping is basically ‘neanderthal’ behaviour it most definitely is NOT your problem. Its offensive , bad, arrogant manners, and the problem is with the slob eating like a pig, not the person subjected to the offensiveness of it.

  18. I just ran across this after my husband confronted my daughter about snacking loudly (at least to him). This was a perfect find, thank you. When we went to China, it didn’t bother me one bit how people showed appreciation for their food.

  19. Actually, I’m wondering where westerners got the habit of needing to be quiet while eating. I understand that Asians slurp their noodles or soup to show that the food is delicious. Why do we westerners eat our noodles quietly? I teach ESL in an American university and in our class we have many cultures that we often compare. They ask me questions sometimes and I have no idea where our habits, especially of eating quietly, came from.

    • Because we are no longer primitive and have some basic manners. Its lovely to have a shit too isnt it, why dont we all shit next to each other to show how much we “appreciate” the lovely feeling

    • This comment is old but I want to answer it anyways. Table manners came from the middle ages and during the Renaissance where it was good manners to speak French and aspire to be as high class as possible. The reason to eat quietly is as to keep your “bodily functions” to yourself as to not harass other people with whatever is going on inside. That means anything related to “natural functions” is to be kept under wraps to be polite. So anything that reminds the other person of your body is to be kept quiet and to a small radius, like burping, farting, coughing, sneezing, yawning, smacking lips when eating, fidgeting, sniffling, speaking loudly altogether, hacking or excessively clearing your throat. The more you keep your bodily functions under wraps the less likely is also to spread germs (that’s why put your hand in front of your mouth when sneezing, coughing and yawning) . That’s why it is subconsciously so disgusting to Westerners.

      Most “good manners” have a very practical function that is forgotten in modern days. The reason western men politely open doors or pull a lady’s chair was actually because they wore such elaborate dresses that it was impossible to do it on their own.

      I could go on and on about this, but these are the basics. However, now I might sounds rude too, as a European I already found American table manners to be already somewhat lacking and encountered the lipsmacking a couple of times with very educated business people, however not to a horrifying degree like in China.

  20. I sit about 10 feet away from an Asian coworker who not only chews VERY LOUDLY with his mouth open, slurping and spilling food everywhere (let’s be real here, this is absolutely disgusting, no matter who you are or where you’re from), but also has not once washed his cup in the 4 months I’ve been working here (it has dust STAINS in it), coughs with his mouth open, types so hard on his keyboard that the letters are coming OFF, sneezes with his mouth open, clears his throat every 30/45 seconds and SLAMS every door that he opens. Now, this person is in a position of authority, so I can’t necessarily yell at him to have some respect (which I’ve contemplated every day for the last 4 months). WHAT DO I DO?! I can’t listen to music at work, and earplugs don’t work. I’m going crazy, and I hate to say it, but this is worth quitting this job if it doesn’t stop.

  21. for all the non-asians here commenting with (understandable) disgust about food-smacking, consider this: asians are completely grossed out by some things you do, too! for instance, nose-blowing at the table! or wearing your shoes all over the house, even on your bed. how about handshaking — think about how disgusting some people’s hands are. and with all honesty, whenever i see someone exiting a public bathroom stall and not washing their hands — it’s always a white person! i’m serious. i don’t mean to be nasty.

    • 1) I’m Canadian.

      I’m grossed out, by each of what you have mentioned here, gs. I was brought up in a home where you don’t blow your nose at a table. Like, how hard is that to understand, lol! Should be common sense – it’s like sneezing, but without covering your mouth or turning your head at the dinner table. It’s gross. It’s not that hard to leave the table, instead of letting snot and the sound of blowing the nose ruin the dinner for others at the table. Wait – the sound of blowing the nose is gross, or blowing the nose? I mean, if blowing the nose because it could spray or something is upsetting, then so should eating with the mouth open as the mouth sprays food and spit all around.

      I also grew up in a home where wearing shoes in the house, is not appreciative and is rude. But, in my own home alone – I clean it, so I can wear my shoes if I choose. Plus, the gross sweat of naked feet on a hardwood floor is a hell of a lot more disgusting to me than the dust and dirt from the bottom of shoes. If someone is wearing sandals or flip flops, I would happily tell them to keep them on because I don’t want to mop their foot marks off my floors later.

      And washing hands, you’re right – it’s always a fricken white person or black or hispanic or other. Very few asians have I ever seen leave a public washroom without washing their hands. Except every Chinese friend I have ;). I’m white myself, but every time I go to a public washroom I use the paper towel, or hand towel to open the door and to wash my hands by turning on the sink. This goes for most woman too, who I believe always wash their hands (generalizing). However, if you’re just taking a regular pee and holding your man parts. There’s more splash of piss ending up on clothes, and all around then on the hands or is it just a general spray-back that hits all of what’s available. Why is it so different to hold a man part, then it is to hold your arm? They both have the same skin, and they’re both often covered by clothes. But ya – disgusting, I do fricken agree. But the argument goes both ways, so I guess this could be cultural too. I find it more disgusting to use the public washroom sink (bathroom for you Americans, even though it doesn’t have a bath), then it is to leave without washing my hands. The handles on the sinks are far more disgusting, then holding my man part. I’d say the real word, but worried of the filters blocking my long winded comment.

      Simply put. You’re for using the public washroom, grabbing the handles to turn on and turn off after 1000s of hands used it, and opening the door with 1000s of hands not washing them. But not for handshaking? Everywhere you put your hand in a day, I can almost guarantee someone else’s unwashed hand was there. This is how people become germaphobes.

      Shoes on the bed? Seriously – people do that. wth, lol. I’ll lay on my bed with my shoes hanging off, but there is no way my shoes are going to touch the place I lay my damn head. Nasty.

  22. If I were in China or Hong Kong I would be obliged to tolerate it, but I live in Canada so why should I have to put up with the disgusting noises that some (fortunately not all) Chinese people make when they’re eating in public. They are the ones who are obligated to adapt.

  23. I work with Korean people (among others) and therefore I constantly have to avoid their company during lunch breaks. At my work there are eleven nationalities all together, and at the dining hall its Koreans who eat separately from other nationalities. It’s just that smacking sound that drives me insane. Unforgivable rude and either they do not understand or care. Stay away from my table.

    • can’t you leave a note with them, even anonymously? if it bothers you that much, i mean, you should let them know. i come across many asians in my work, and there are annoying cultural differences. deal with it and move on. or accept it, as they are surely accepting some poor behaviors on the part of europeans, too.

  24. It’s disgusting, quit chewing like a god damn water buffalo. How about you just say “horry sheet, dis food is rearry good” rather than chewing like a fucking troglodyte.

  25. I really needed this article and the comments have been so helpful. I’m actually studying at a Chinese university in Beijing now and it’s hard to describe just how gross the noises from the canteen are. It’s more like a zoo than a canteen. I’ve heard many people actively clearing their throats and blowing their noses without any tissue, (God knows what they’re placing the snot) without pausing eating. The slurping, lip smacking at eating with their mouth open goes without saying and it’s not even like only some of them eat like this, it’s everybody in the canteen, everyday! At every meal time! Also someone actively just started eating over the buffet trays and no one batted an eyelid. How is this acceptable?

  26. I am an Indonesian; since I was a kid our parent always put effort to teach us about this manner. And we think it is correct to eat silently. Once I study in Taiwan, my labmate from China, eat with audibly sounds so Annoying and distracting. I just simply wear my headset to deal with it. 😦

    Even we are still from Asia, but we have totally different culture and manner

  27. I work with co-workers of various nationalities. I have also noticed that not just persons of Chinese descent but persons from Malasia and Philippines (only one example of each nationality) also make a certain amount of slurping and smacking noises when eating in the office. This I have noticed over a period of many years. Now I sit about 10 feet from two such persons. I’ve taken to listening to stream flowing sounds in my headset during lunch hour if I am here. Both are professional gents, highly competent, pleasant to work with, cooperative, etc. Maybe I’ll just eat out more. Based in what I’ve read here, I am not optimistic that a kind word would have any effect. Suspect this is ingrained behavior from decades ago. And the open mouth style of eating is not something I have seen with foreign-born folk, but have seen a few examples among folks born here in the USA. Tough to talk about this with them, maybe I’ll give it a try!

  28. men, i m having chinese colleague close to me, 2 meters away. it chews all the time. at 9 when he come, all day long with chewing gum, at noon with soups and so on. Not that loudly. Just enough to drive me crazy. I m ain t better or worse, i m french, i smell, BUT GOD DAMN IT IT IS SO IRRITATING! And i know it s culture stuff blah blah. but shit men respect other people hears.. worst is the guy pretend to have manners and shit, to be a wine lover… my useless 2 cents of frustration.

  29. It’s a problem of education not race.

    Some people are just massive assholes about this.

    I was roommates with a white half Jewish guy in college who would chew with his mouth open because it conveyed a laid back attitude. I guess he wanted to seem cool.

    It’s not racial. I didn’t say all half Jewish white guys from Massachusetts did this. I said just obnoxious people with zero concept of other people do this.

    I live in the Chinese capital now and I’m a huge stickler for table manners. I’ve never seen the fabled poor Chinese behavior. Never experienced loud eating, pissing in bottles. Etc. I’ve seen pissing on the street but I’ve done that before, in the US.

  30. If I go to China I’ll be tolerant because it’s the culture. Here it is not, so have some manners and learn the culture. It’s rude.

  31. Pingback: How Sounds Shape Our Expectations and Perceptions of Food? – Food and the Senses Spring 2016

  32. All bullshit. Chinese are uncouth barbarians, now with a bit of money. The worst. They have no respect whatsoever for others and they eat with their mouth open even when munching on a snack, it has nothing to do with “cultural ways to show appreciation for the food”, it is just a basic lack of manners and consideration for others.

  33. I’m a Chinese from Malaysia and I dont eat/chew with my mouth opened, but my dad does and I didn’t grow up like him, so this is a matter of self awareness and thoughtfulness. Please do not assume all Chinese eat with open mouth, it’s rude!

  34. Listen primates. Why would a person that is civilized have to educate you when it’s common sense Look at every American that you eat around or witness eat. Do they sound like a German Shepherd that’s been starved eating out of a bowl. No.
    little bit of better observation from you people is more like what needs to happen. Ask yourself Would you like to watch the first phase of the digestive process happen right in front of your face as you eat. So squat on your ankles like a chicken as you do
    and observe true knowledge. Buck buck Mo lo lung!!!!

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