Peking Duck Specialist
Peking Duck Specialist

Welcome to the Dragon Express Restaurant

Best Chinese Restaurant in Christchurch, New Zealand


We put here some standard Chinese table manners, and some which are the same as traditional table manners in New Zealand.

We list these not as an instruction, but to help you feel at ease when you dine in our restaurant, and so you know what to expect.

  1. Take food from the plate directly in front of you.
    If you want something from a plate further away, it is not considered polite to reach over to grab it, instead, asking a fellow diner to pass it to you.

  2. Keep your elbows off the table.
    This is simply because enjoying a Chinese meal is quite an active experience, so keeping your elbows off the table will help to avoid knocking into those either side of you.

  3. Spare a thought for others.
    If there is very little left, and it’s something you want, it’s the height of good manners to offer it to others before taking it yourself.

  4. Use your fingers!
    There’s nothing rude about using your fingers, though generally you are best to use utensils or chopsticks to move the food from shared bowls into your own bowl or plate, before using your fingers.

  5. Use a knife, fork or spoon, if you prefer.
    Although we don’t put a knife and fork out with your dinner, you are more than welcome to ask for one. Fear not! It’s fair to say a portion of Chinese people will never know how to use chopsticks themselves, so we don’t expect everyone else to either!  Please ask, and we’re happy to provide utensils.

  6. Take your unfinished food home, if you like.
    We are happy to pack your unfinished food up so you can take it home. It’s polite to check with your other guests to see if there is anything they would like packed up separately to take home.

  7. Eat directly from your bowl if you wish.
    Putting your rice bowl to your mouth and scooping the food into your mouth is perfectly acceptable.

  8. It is very polite to pour tea for the other people at your table.
    The Chinese will often express their gratutide for the tea by tapping the table with two fingers. This gesture originated in the Qing Dynasty, as a mock bow to express thanks.

  9. Traditionally, the host always orders.
    Sometimes he or she will ask for preferences and opinions but it is best to insist that the host picks. Remember this is just traditional Chinese manners and certainly not a requirement for you or other diners.

  10. The seat of honor for the host usually faces the entrance.
    People of importance fill the seats closest to the host, with importance defined through a complex mixture of age, wealth and position of authority. The safest way is to just let the host take his pick of where to sit before you sit down, and accept guidance from the Chinese people present as to your position.

  11. Be on time.

  12. The most important thing is to be respectful and everything else should come naturally.

“Please don’t feel nervous if this is all new to you, it may affect your appetite!” - says Cliff with a laugh.
“When you come to our restaurant, you’re there to enjoy and relax. This is the experience we want you to have.”

Our kitchen staff are all educated and experienced in traditional Chinese dining, and our serving staff are young and energetic, mostly overseas students, who enjoy all the exercise of serving our valued customers in our Christchurch Chinese restaurant.

Our staff have a good knowledge of all the dishes we serve, so it there’s anything you are not sure about, please feel free to ask.

“If you want to enjoy a Chinese meal, go for the genuine article.”
– Cliff, owner/chef.

Want to book a table?

Call 03 348 1805 and speak to one of the Dragon Express team members