5 Chinese Habits That Puzzle Foreigners


Foreigners in China often experience a cultural shock, because some Chinese habits and ways of living are just beyond their understanding. For example, Chinese people’s passion for drinking hot water still remains a mystery to the outside world…

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the habits Chinese people have that baffle foreigners.


1. Collecting plastic bags

Plastic bag at a Chinese supermarket

Chinese people usually ask for a plastic bag from the cashier when they are paying for their purchase in a supermarket. However, after using this plastic bag to carry their stuff home, they keep it in a drawer, which is purely for collecting plastic bags. The purpose of doing it is that people in China think sooner or later these plastic bags will come in handy. At the same time, this illustrates Chinese people’s thrifty lifestyle.


2. Using Over-the-Top Cases for Mobile Phones

iPhone case

It’s now a trend in China to use a snap-on case to give your mobile phone some extra protection. And mind that a monotonous black phone case with no patterns what so ever is out of fashion. These days, young people in China tend to use something more creative, or more “adorable”. For instance, Hello-Kitty shaped snap-on cases are quite popular among Chinese girls.


3. Having a Diary

Chinese diary

In China, writing diary isn’t just something you “want to do”, it’s often part of primary students’ daily homework. Many teachers in China believe that diary writing can help kids develop their language skills, help improve storytelling and summarizing abilities. And guess what – some Chinese people still keep this habit when they grow up.


4. All Sorts of Excuses For a Get-Together

Chinese get-together party

Chinese people love to spend time with their friends. Regardless of whether they have some good news or sad news to share with their friends, a warm get-together meal is the best way to make it happen. Food quality doesn’t play an important role for a casual get-together, the most important thing is the joyful atmosphere.


5. Taking Selfies


Just like all the boys and girls around the world, boys and girls in China seldom miss an opportunity to take pictures of themselves. The difference is, in China, it’s become natural to post selfies on WeChat moments, and wait for a downpour of likes and comments from friends. Taking selfies has become a popular after-work activity for many Chinese girls.


Do you agree with this list? What other strange habits have you noticed?

Share your experience – tweet us at @thatsmandarin!

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