Vietnamese people – specifically business men – are very into inviting their partners and friends to join them for lunch or dinner in some special occasions. This articles will provide you some basic knowledge about table manners in Vietnam.
The occasions can be their birthday, their spouse’s birthday, their child’s wedding, promotion day, housewarming party, new year’s celebration and so on. These kinds of parties are often celebrated in restaurants or at their house, and they often send out invitation letters by mail or directly to you. When you receive an invitation letter to a party hosted by a Vietnamese’s partner or friend, it usually means that there are many other people will come and you should dress neat and tidy. An envelope with small amount of money inside (mostly in weddings) or a gift (in all occasions) are recommended, and it should depend on the level of luxurious of the party
Upon your arrival, the host of the party will greet you at the door or front lobby, then you will be seated in a table randomly or up to your choice. It is possible that you might be seated in a tableful of strangers, some of them might speak Vietnamese, so it is best for you to introduce yourself briefly and how you know the host if you are asked; otherwise just smile and make cheerful eye contacts to the people in your table.
In these parties, usually, Western dishes and Vietnamese dishes are served together. Therefore, you are suggested to be well – prepared of knowing how to use the eating utensils. Partners who come from the East Asia region (such as China, Korea, Japan) are already familiar with using chopsticks, while western people often struggle with how to use the chopsticks and end up using forks and spoons instead. To Vietnamese people, it is acceptable if you can not use chopsticks to eat Vietnamese food, but they would be impressed if you know how to use those utensils properly.