• When going out to eat with other people, it is prestigious to pay for the meal. It is therefore rude to prevent someone from paying if they have made the offer first. The offer can be made as soon as going to a restaurant is discussed or anytime thereafter. On the other hand, inviting others for a meal, drink or event automatically creates the expectation that the one giving the invitation will pay for the others. Among younger people, the practice of splitting the bill is increasingly common.
  • It is customary to pour alcoholic drinks for others before pouring for one’s self. Typically no one imbibes until everyone clinks their glasses together, at which time everyone drinks. This happens throughout the entire drinking session and not just at the beginning.
  • Whether the meal table is Western-style with chairs or Vietnamese-style and close to the floor, it is rude to begin eating before inviting others to eat (particularly elders, guests, etc.). Children should always invite adults to begin eating first.

  • When children invite adults to begin eating, it should begin with people with a higher prestige in the family. (It goes in order of oldest to youngest, with the male being higher than the female.) For example, the grandfather will be asked, then grandmother, then father, then mother, and then older brothers, followed by older sisters. Younger siblings can be invited, but it is not needed.
  • Some Vietnamese meals involve scooping food into lettuce or mustard plant leaves and similar fresh vegetables at the table rather than employing utensils. Fellow diners will typically enjoy helping newcomers master the technique.
  • The Vietnamese language is very rich in pronouns. Make sure you are addressing others correctly, according to their age, rank, gender etc.
  • Do not show the soles of your feet to other. This is perceived as rude, because the feet are considered dirtiest part of the body.
  • Do not touch the heads of others, especially the elderly, for this is where our spirit lies.
  • Lower your head when receiving a gift or change, especially when it is being received from the elderly.
  • Stand when someone of higher rank enters the room. This shows respect.
  • Talking is usually avoided while eating. Small talk will usually take place over tea.

Learn about Brunei and Malaysia customs and etiquette

 

 

 

*This guide is mainly based on wikipedia’s texts & images. We thank the authors , for their great efforts