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    Người gửi: thạch sanh
    Ngày gửi: 17h:14' 12-07-2017
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    Vietnamese Table Manners
    My parents raised us with a moderately-high level of formality. Whenever there were guests in the house, we were paraded in front of them, made to stand in a row and bow. If we visited other people’s homes, we were expected to be quiet and polite, no matter how bored we got. When I misbehaved at the table, my mother would put a very very firm grip on my leg to convey her disapproval. With five children in our family, there was plenty of horsing around. However, we had to don our public faces when appropriate.
    The photo above is of the grandson of a friend of my mother`s.  He enjoys his food with gusto and around his age (I venture that he was around 8 when I snapped the shot in Saigon), he eats with one hand on his hip!
    Having lived in America for most of my life, the manners from my childhood have relaxed over the years. Nevertheless, certain behaviors endure at the table because we relive all the eating experiences of the past whenever we sit down to a meal. Here are some Vietnamese table manners and etiquette that I can’t quite shake: 
    Both hands on the table – Western table etiquette says that you are not supposed to put both hands and elbows on the table. I learned that in elementary school and from watching lots of American television shows. So it was that I started eating with only one hand on the table. When my mother caught me, she told me that you have to have both hands on the table during a Vietnamese meal because otherwise, (1) you cannot pick up your rice bowl and use chopsticks at the same time, (2) you cannot use all your fingers to wrap up food in banh trang rice paper and lettuce, and (3) other people won’t know what your other hand is up to under the table.
    Trying to remember to keep one or two hands on the table depending on the cultural situation and its rules of etiquette has been akin to learning to be ambidextrous. I’m not great at it. Forgive me if you see both of my hands on your table.
    Personalize food before eating – Vietnamese cuisine is a highly personal one in that “you CAN have it your way,” as the Burger King motto goes. Before diving into a bowl of pho, I go through the ritual of adding bean sprouts, torn herb leaves, and chile slices. I love to mix up a little dipping sauce at the table or tweak one that’s been set out. With western foods such as a hamburger, I often take a good 5 minutes to arrange all the garnishes to get them just the way I like it. I love buffets because you can freely make your own food and flavors. It’s fun to personalize and tinker with your food, even if other people are nearly halfway done with theirs before you take your first bite.
    When it comes to eating Vietnamese food, I don’t know if there are general rules as much as parameters. On the other hand, we each set up a little personal set of rules based upon childhood experiences and personal preferences. They’re hard to change but then, why?


    QUESTION 1: What did the author do when there were guests in the house?
    made to greet them C. stood to talk to them
    waited them to bow him D. expected them to go away

    QUESTION 2: Why did writer’s mom put a very firm grip on his leg?
    he was so naughty C. he did something wrong
    he behaved in a good manner D. he did nothing but sit at the table

    QUESTION 3: If you are in a VietNam meal, ___________
    you should put both hands and elbows on the table.
    it isn’t necessary to put both hands on the table.
    you had better pick up your rice bowl and use chopsticks at the same time in one hand.
    it depends on whether you are interested in putting your both hands on the table or not.

    QUESTION 4: What does the word “diving” in the last pharagraph mean?
    exploring underwater C. leaping into a bowl
    enjoying the meal D. cooking the food

    QUESTION 5: Why does the writer enjoy the self-serve meal?
    It desn’t cost him much more than other food.
    It doesn’t waste of time.
    He can freed to choose what he want.
    He loves to mix up a little dipping sauce at the table.


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