Business Dinner - Politeness

October 30, 2014, 09:15 AM posted in General Discussion

Hi everyone!

I'll be in China for business next week and will likely have dinner with our business partners. However, I've been a vegan for most of my life, which limits food choices during such events drastically. I've been to China before and always found something delicious to eat, but I guess I won't get to choose in this kind of setting. Could you give me some advice on how to explain my preferences without losing face for the company? I won't make a scene if it proves difficult, but I'd like to have some polite explanations on hand. I can express technical stuff in Chinese, but just I don't know how to say this politely, even at home it always becomes a point of discussion.

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October 30, 2014, 10:12 PM

Oh, man! biancathiemer, I totally can relate to this one! I'm a vegetarian (that eats vegan most days) and I never found this to be a problem when I was living in Taiwan. For the most part when I told people, "我不吃荤的", (I don't eat meat) everyone seemed to be fairly respectful and receptive to it. Usually I would get responses like, "哇,素食很健康的!" (Wow! Vegetarinism is so good for you!) It seemed like most people would 佩服 (admire) my decision as opposed to look at me with any sort of disdain. Perhaps in the mainland, it's a little different? Hard for me to say; but my experience in Taiwan in regards to this issue was nothing but positive!