The Confusion Behind Tipping In Asian Restaurants

Asian restaurants provide Americans with a wide range of delicious ethnic foods. After finishing eating at one, many people may be confused about tipping. Will the people who own the restaurant be offended if you tip? That all depends on many factors.

Cultures Will Vary

Asia is a very large continent, not a country, and the various countries inside of it have different ideas on tipping. For example, it is against the law in many areas of China to tip. The reason for this is simple. It is often considered a handout and, therefore, an insult to give a tip to somebody. It causes a waiter to lose face.

However, in places like Hong Kong, tipping is very acceptable. In fact, it is typically a part of the experience to tip the waiters. How does this translate to Asian restaurants in America? Will the waiters or the owners be mad if you tip or do not tip?

American Restaurants Are Different

When Asian people move to America and open up a new restaurant, they usually take on the American attitude towards tipping. As a result, most will be happy when people tip them 15-20 percent at the end of a meal. This tip is especially true on larger orders. That larger tip can help the staff make up a little bit of money.

However, it may be possible that some owners will be offended if you tip. This fact may be particularly the case in Chinese restaurants, due to their cultural distaste for the act. Talk to the owner or the servers before you leave a tip and ask if it is okay. This can help clear up any confusion and make sure everyone is happy.

Tipping At Buffets Is More Complex

As many Chinese restaurants are buffets, rather than sit-down restaurants, tipping can be more complex. In some instances, it is typical to tip about 10 percent to the waiter. This amount is for the service of drink refills and removing plates. However, some buffets automatically add a tip to the bill to ensure that their waiters get tips.

The act of not leaving a tip at a Chinese buffet may be seen as an insult or a dishonor to the servers. Again, it is important to talk to the owners or the servers about tipping before assuming it is okay or not. Most will be more than happy to talk about it and clear up any confusion.

This simple tipping etiquette guide will ensure that you can eat at a Chinese restaurant and avoid a faus paux at the end of the meal. At the end of the day, tipping is usually a good idea in any Chinese dining situation. To learn more about Chinese restaurants, check out websites like