Hong Kong Dating Etiquette

As with other practices, dating etiquette in Hong Kong regions differs from that of mainland China, as well as other countries around the globe. So if you intend to date someone from the region, a lack of knowledge about Hong Kong dating etiquette, culture, and social expectations can ruin your good intentions at the least. It can also make you appear as being rude or commit a cultural blunder. 

Hong Kong, being one of China’s provinces, has a high degree of liberty, is independently ruled, and ranks among the largest financial hubs in the world. Hong Kong’s lifestyles are urban-centric and flexible; still, most of its population remainsvery cultured. The international mindset that comes with its economic positioning has integrated the Western culture into Hong Kong society. Even as the population ethnicity is 93.6% Chinese, Hong Kong culture differs clearly from that of China. As a result, many Hong Kongers usually disassociate their individuality from mainland China. They see themselves as being very different, even when they have the same ancestry and governance. Below are some basic guidelines you must adhere to if you want the entire journey of finding the love of your life to be smooth, crisis-free, and memorable.You may also want to surf through the best online dating apps for foreigners in China so you can meet a prospective partner in no time. 

hong kong dating etiquette flowers

No matter the city you find yourself in, adopting the Hong Kong dating etiquette is the perfect way not just to meet that special person but to also learn about the general culture of Hong Kongers.

1. Don’t touch or attempt to kiss on the first date

While there are cities where hugging or kissing on the faces may be a common way of greeting when meeting someone, that’s not how it goes in Hong Kong dating culture. You can stand close to each other when conversing but don’t try to touch your new date or partner. Do not hug, kiss the other person nor pet them on their back. You can only do those with close friends, relatives, or when you both have something serious. On the first date, you should keep things very formal, offer only a handshake, and avoid body contact as much as you can. 

2. Dress nice and casual

There is always a dressing code for every occasion. You shouldn’t be overdressed for a simple dinner or a movie date. It is considered taboo to dress inappropriately in Hong Kong etiquette. You have to be covered and look simple.

Recommended Reading: Dating in Hong Kong? Here’s What You Need to Know

3. Choose a classic bar or restaurant

It is proper to take your date to a nice looking restaurant or bar. There’s nothing more impressive than taking your date to the perfect dating spot. This generally strikes as a charming gesture in Hong Kong dating culture. 

4. Tap your table when being poured tea

Have you ever been to a dim sum restaurant? You might be surprised seeing so many Hong Kongers tapping their tables when the tea is being poured into a cup for them. First, It might seem like a silly gesture, mostly because it appears like they are asking the server to stop pouring. However, this tapping of two fingers on the table is a gesture of appreciation. It is a discreet way of saying “thank you” without really saying it. When on a date with your partner, keep it in mind.

5. Do not give anything relating to the number “four”

The number “4” (four) is not usually used in Hong Kong. This is because it is considered an unlucky figure. In their pronunciation, the word “4” sounds quite similar to the word “death.”

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6. Offer to pay half of the bill

Offering to pay half of your bills during the first date can leave a good first impression in terms of the Hong Kong dating etiquette. Although the person might not allow it, don’t hesitate to extend the gesture. In the end, you’ll get those good points for the offering.

7. Do not give shoes or clocks as gifts

A good number of Hong Kongers believe that items like shoes and watches should not be given as gifts to your date. Giving them a pair of shoes is considered a bad sign, as it implies the other person should “run away”.

On the other hand, giving your date a clock or a watch as a gift is considered a bad sign because, in Hong Kong culture, the phrase for gifting a clock sounds the same as the phrase for paying your last honors to a family member.

8. Do not be loud or make a loud noise when eating

You don’t want to embarrass yourself at any point during your date. It is wise to be conscious of the pitch and tone of your voice during your first date. When you begin to eat, make sure to control the noise coming from your cutleries and your mouth. Table manners are essential if you want to succeed not just in Hong Kong dating culture, but for any culture for that matter. 

9. Do not leave chopsticks in an upright position

On a date, avoid placing your chopsticks in an upright position when eating a bowl of rice or any food. It is perceived as impolite, disrespectful, and also as bad luck. Chinese chopsticks, in an upright position, resemble the image of incense sticks burning at a tomb for the dead. 

10. Do not do more than three shots

Getting wildly drunk while on a date is seen as rude and impolite according to Hong Kong Dating etiquette and can lead to unusual and uncomfortable conversations. So avoid going beyond three shots when on your first date with a new or prospective partner.

Recommended Reading: How to Meet Singles in Hong Kong

sweet couple

Other Hong Kong Dating Culture & Etiquette Practices

1. Dining culture

While eating in Hong Kong, you are free to raise your bowl to your mouth, slurp, and scrape the bowl. This is acceptable at a street eatery or in a regular restaurant. However, you should never take the last part of the food left on the tray.  Ensure you leave some food on your plate too. Otherwise, your date may feel embarrassed, believing they did not offer you enough food to eat.

Tea is the usual traditional drink that is served regularly when dining in Hong Kong. If you will be doing the pouring, refill your date’s cup before filling your cup – even if it is not empty. And if your partner assumes the role of pouring, don’t hesitate to show your gratitude by tapping on the table with two fingers as you would if it were a waiter.

Again, when dining in Hong Kong, and your date decides to order an elaborate dish, you can share it with every other person around your table. During the meal, you should try to have a taste of everything that is being served. Do not be offended if your date or someone else sitting close to your table decides to dish food into your bowl for you to have a taste.

However, once you’re seated, and the food is served, don’t start eating until your date (the host) begins to eat or tells you to start.

One more tip: If you are ever unsure about the way to behave or you’re unaware of the dating etiquette in Hong Kong, simply watch what others do and emulate their behaviors. This way, you’ll most likely get on their good sides.

2. Dressing culture

Hong Kongers are very style-conscious, and they love to dress well. When you’re going on a date, it’s crucial to dress not only stylishly but appropriately. It’s an essential aspect of Hong Kong dating etiquette if you want to impress. 

All kinds of clothing can be worn in Hong Kong, but they should be worn decently. Cleanliness is also vital. For dates, a man can wear conservative Western-style suits and ties. A lady can wear conservative dresses or skirts and blouses. You should consider wearing a good watch. It might seem a little thing, but your date will notice that too. 

3. Gifts giving/receiving culture

Don’t go on a date without a gift, especially if you have just met the other party. Giving gifts is a Hong Kong dating etiquette that depicts respect and friendship. Be prepared to give a small, presentable gift on the first date. Some good gift ideas are high-quality cognac, brandy, or sweets. Unlike other Asian countries, giving Scotch whiskey is not special in Hong Kong.

You can also gift things from your hometown if your date appreciates stuff from other cultures. Lastly, do not forget the etiquette in giving gifts – present and receive a gift with both hands, and do not open the gift immediately after receiving it.

Recommended Reading: Chinese Dating Culture: The Old and the New

There you go! As soon as you adopt all these tips and guides, you are all set for a truly satisfying and fulfilling dating experience in Hong Kong. Good luck!

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