For example, is it rude to drink the entire sake each time they come and fill it up again? Or is it rude not to finish your sake, taking only sips at a time? More than likely your international business partner won’t tell you their customs, so you’ll be stuck with your own judgement.
Fortunately, we’re here to help with the food and drink etiquette:
In Japan, they make sure your glass is filled with a drink so if you finish it, you will likely get another pour into your glass. To keep your wits, don’t drink the entire glass and keep it somewhat filled. After all, getting drunk is not a smart way to get acquainted with your new business partners. But, when it comes to food, Japanese people would be offended if you left food on the plate, suspecting you didn’t like it. They believe in cleaning their plate, so be conscious not to order more than you can consume! In China, on the other hand, it’s not good to clean your plate. It’s believed you didn’t get enough to eat.
In Korea, they say cheers with words translating to “bottoms up” and they really mean it. If you are the guest and a toast is given in your honor, you’re most likely expected to drink it all. There are underlying social hierarchies where the most senior person is responsible for pouring. Be considerate of respecting the elders and senior business associates, but try to pace yourself. If you don’t want to keep accepting the drinks, you may consider offering to pour for others.
Just because we, Japanese, Korean and Chinese people, are all “Asian,” doesn’t mean we have the same customs. Do your research before dining out with your international business partners.