Ask an Asian: What should I bring and do at a Chinese New Year Dinner?

© Copyright Chris McMillan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

(Every so often, we here at 8Asians get e-mails asking for advice. Here is one from contributor Jeff (me) asking about what to do when invited to a Chinese New Year banquet.)

My family has been invited to a Chinese New Year dinner with a couple who usually spends Chinese New Year in Asia.  They have invited my extended family, all six of us, to what will be a sumptuous dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.  While being Asian but not Chinese and having never been to a real Chinese New year’s dinner, I had the following questions:

  • Who pays?  The hosts, since they invited?  Should I split the bill with them?  Should I attempt to split the bill?
  • Should I bring anything?   If so, what?
  • Is a gift appropriate?  If so, what should it be?
  • Is there anything else that I should do to be appropriate (such as things to wear or not to wear)?

What advice do you have for Jeff?

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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