Foreigner Masters This Chinese Tradition! Have You Ever Done It?

I came across a very funny video the other day that shows a foreigner whos so well integrated himself into Chinese culture and customs that it makes the scene even funnier.

It shows him sharing a meal with his Chinese friend inside a restaurant.

When his friend pours him some tea, he automactically uses his fingers to sightly knock the desk. 

But when he reciprocates and pours tea into his friends cup, she goes on with her meal without knock the table with her fingers.

He waited for a few seconds and at the end, he just couldnt bear it anymore and felt compelled to force her to do the hand gesture.

Some of you may have seen this before or at least understand what this social etiquette is about.

If you havent, know that this custom is called "" [ku shu ch l] which translates to hand tea ceremony.


This is very common in Guangdong province, which is a sign of respect towards the tea maker at the time of drinking it. 

It is said to be dating back to the days of Emperor Qianlong who once visited small teahouse secretly with one servant in Guangzhou to drink tea.

This was known by the local magistrate, who aimed to protect the emperor. He sat opposite him and as Qianlong began to pour tea, he was then in a tricky situation - if he kneeled to thank the emperor, his identity would be revealed, but if he didnt, it would be the utmost lack of respect.

As a compromise, he put three fingers on the table and tapped it gently nine times in replacement of three kneeling bows. 

This tradition has descended across generations, and today, this is merely used as a thanking gesture when a friend or someone else around the table pours tea in our own cups.


If an elderly pouring tea into your cup, use all five fingers to tap three times. 

Have you ever seen this at your table or done this with your friends before?

What do you make of this tradition?

Let us know in the comment section below!

Editor: Crystal Huang


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