Dining Etiquette 101 – Eating in a Traditional Chinese Restaurant

Eating in a Traditional Chinese Restaurant

Nothing compares to dining outside and eating delicious Chinese food. It’s a unique experience that introduces you to various delicacies and dining practices that you may not be familiar with, especially if you’ve never been to an authentic Chinese restaurant.

 If you’ve recently been invited by a friend to have dinner with them at a traditional Chinese restaurant and you don’t know the first thing to proper dining etiquette, there’s nothing to worry about. Keep reading below to find out some useful tips that will ready you for a memorable dining experience at authentic Chinese restaurants.

 Prepare Your Appetite

 When you attend a traditional Chinese setting, you need to come with an empty stomach to ensure you get a real taste of being in a Chinese seafood restaurant. Their meals typically consist of ten to twelve courses of scrumptious servings served on a round table so everyone can help themselves to the food before them.

 You can expect a host or waiter to serve the food using a large spoon or a pair of chopsticks that haven’t been used by anyone else. It will ensure the food remains fresh and untouched by other people’s utensils. 

 Wait for Your Host

 As a sign of respect, you should wait for your host to begin eating first or at least give everyone the signal to start digging in. It’s also essential to remember chewing your food slowly so that you don’t get full quickly, and you can take the time to enjoy each bite. 

 Keep the Fish in Place

 Part of dining etiquette in Chinese culture involves the proper treatment of fish, typically served with the head pointing towards the guest of honor as part of mainland China and Hong Kong’s culture. Since a fish’s head is treated as a specialty, if you’re appointed as the guest of honor, you should keep the fish in its rightful place.

 Aside from that, the fish you’re about to eat will also have to be deboned to ensure everyone has a great time enjoying its meat. Either the host will do the honors or will appoint a server to do it for them instead. 

 Try Various Delicacies

 If you find yourself dining at one of the top Chinese restaurants, you shouldn’t be surprised to witness all kinds of food you have probably never seen or heard of before. The right thing to do is to try all of them to show your host that you’re enjoying yourself. 

The food can range from duck feet to century egg and even snake soup—if you’ve never tried nor heard of them, you’re in for a sure treat! Keep an open mind and try it all out; you’ll be very surprised at how much you’ll enjoy yourself!

 Learn to Use Chopsticks

 You can expect Asian cuisines like Chinese, Japanese, and Korean food to require the use of chopsticks. While you don’t have to be an expert, you do need to be knowledgeable about the proper use of chopsticks. 

 Avoid pointing while using your chopsticks because it’s considered rude. Similarly, don’t place your chopsticks in your bowl and have them stand up because it corresponds to a dark meaning relating to death! Instead, you should put down your chopsticks horizontally on the end of your plate.


 The tips above are just some of the most common reminders that people have a habit of forgetting when they eat at a traditional Chinese restaurant. If you’re looking forward to eating out anytime soon at an authentic Chinese food place, remember to mind your table manners and learn to enjoy your meals!

 Are you looking for the best Chinese food in Houston to satisfy your cravings? Ocean Palace Restaurant serves Chinese seafood and dim sum dishes. We also offer catering, take-out, and delivery options. Check out our website so you can start ordering today!

How Kids Can Enjoy Their First Chinese Restaurant Visit

how kids can enjoy their first chinese restaurant visit

To a child who’s never eaten at one before, Chinese restaurants can be the ultimate novelty experience in trying new food. They can also be unfamiliar and chaotic environments that can stress a youngster out due to the flurry of new activity happening simultaneously. Then there’s a selection of food that is dramatically different from anything they have ever tasted, which is the
real challenge in getting children to enjoy their first visit.

While the experience may turn out to be far from smooth sailing, here are three creative tips to try so that you and your kids can enjoy the best dim sum Houston has to offer:

1. Turn the Unfamiliar Into a Fun Learning Experience

Everything in a Chinese restaurant will be unfamiliar to your kids, but this is something that you can use to your advantage to make it into a highly engaging and educational one. The first point of fascination that many children will have is with chopsticks. They will most likely wonder what it’s for and, once it’s explained to them, exactly how they’re used for eating. Be sure to make the
learning experience fun rather than frustrating. You can do this by placing rubber bands at the end of the chopsticks to make them easier to use!

Fortune cookies will also surely entertain children. Mystifying the cookie and the fortune it holds within can build up their fascination. To kill time before the food arrives, you can even play guessing games as to what their fortunes will be. In doing so, children can let their imaginations run wild, and you can let the anticipation build for when they get to open their very own cookies.

When they finally break it open, you can continue playing a game of make-believe and explore the meaning behind the cryptic fortune. There are also lucky numbers included, so you can try guessing that those numbers could possibly mean with your kids.

2. Order Food That is Yummy and Easy to Eat

Though you may be used to a selection of hot and spicy dishes, don’t forget to include kid-friendly items from the menu in your order. Try noodles and dim sum in Ocean Palace for Chinese dishes that are delicious, fun, easy to eat, and full of variety. Choosing food with familiar flavors is the key to introducing kids to more foreign tastes and, eventually, spices.

At the same time, keep track of your kids’ favorites and get similar equivalents on the restaurant’s menu. If your kids love noodles, getting an order of Lo Mein might make them more open to trying new food. Egg rolls and dumplings are also popular choices among children, especially since they get to dip them in sauces!

3. Learning Proper Chinese Dining Etiquette

Teaching your kids the proper dining etiquette may be challenging if you are not familiar with them yourself. In such cases, it will be a great learning experience for both of you, and your children will grow up learning how to respect different cultures, especially during mealtimes.

Here are a few good pointers to remember:
● Chopsticks are not forks and should not be used to spear food, only to pick it up.
● Do not use a bowl of rice as a stand for your chopsticks since this resembles burning
incense for the dead. This is considered bad manners.
● Do not use chopsticks as drumsticks.
● Avoid taking home leftovers as this will give the impression that your family did not enjoy the food and is still hungry.

Regular visits to different Chinese restaurants will allow your children to grow accustomed to the proper etiquette expected. They will also become more adventurous with trying new flavors!


Taking your kids to a restaurant with a cuisine they’ve never tried before can be a little nerve-wracking, especially if they’re picky eaters. The environment can also be stressful, especially if it’s full of different sights, sounds, and smells that they are not used to. However, with a little bit of patience, creativity, and thoughtfulness, you can teach your kids how to enjoy Chinese food the right way.

The best Chinese food in Houston should have a proven track record for providing authentic, dependable dishes each time. Ocean Palace Restaurant serves some of the best Chinese seafood and rolling carts of every dim sum imaginable. View our menu to order online or book a reservation today!

Chinese Food 101 – Chicken Feet’s Best Kept Health Secret

chicken feet

Chinese food is well-loved worldwide; this is why there’s always a Chinese restaurant on almost every corner. From beef noodles to shrimp and lobsters, and even dim sum, everybody can’t get enough of these delicious dishes. However, Chinese cuisine can sometimes be eccentric to some, especially with unique dishes, like chicken feet.

There are still many people who don’t like chicken feet. It’s probably because of the way it looks, its gelatinous and chewy texture, and the notion that you’re eating a pair of feet. However, this odd dish has a bunch of health benefits that are hiding behind its appearance.

One of the essential nutrients you get from eating chicken feet is collagen. Collagen makes up about 25% to 35% of our body’s protein content, and as we age, we decrease the production of this structural protein. Fortunately, you can get this protein when you consume delicious and savory chicken feet.

If you’re still on the fence about trying chicken feet, we understand you, but keep reading. Below are the top three benefits you get from eating chicken feet. Let’s get to it!

It can do wonders for your skin

As your body ages, producing collagen can be more challenging, leading to joint pain and even sagging skin. For people concerned about skin aging, taking collagen supplements is their solution to help their bodies produce sufficient collagen.

Collagen is found in numerous animal parts that have a squishy, gelatinous texture, and one of the popular dishes you can get collagen from is chicken feet. Chicken feet are highly beneficial to you because they have the closest structure to our proteins and are easily absorbed by our bodies.

When you have the right amount of collagen, it will help maintain your skin and hair’s beauty, giving you a more youthful glow.

It helps maintain gut health

Another benefit you can get from the collagen-rich dish that is chicken is that it helps maintain your gut health.

Collagen is known to protect and ease the lining of your digestive tract, preventing you from harboring leaky gut syndrome. When you have a leaky gut syndrome, toxins and germs ooze through the gut lining, connected to autism, food allergies, chronic fatigue and more.

Besides that, collagen also balances your meat intake since muscle meat usually has high levels of amino acids, giving your risks of inflammation over time. But with the help of collagen, its two components, which are glycine and arginine, will assist in balancing and complementing the meat you consume.

It improves bone health

When you visit a Chinese restaurant, you might want to consider ordering chicken feet because another benefit you get is that it’s good for bone health.

Chicken feet contain high amounts of calcium, which prevents your bones and nails from getting brittle and weak. Besides that, chicken feet are great sources of chondroitin and glucosamine, which reduces joint pain and inflammation.


Although they could look a bit weird, chicken feet are packed with a bunch of benefits that your body will love. Now that you know the health benefits you get from eating chicken feet, you’ll hopefully look at this dish in a much better light and maybe even head to your nearest Chinese restaurant and order this alongside other delicious dim sums. So, grab your chopsticks and munch on this collagen-rich dish!

If you’re looking for delicious Chinese food, visit Ocean Palace, a Chinese seafood restaurant located in Houston, Texas. We only serve the best Chinese and only use high-quality ingredients for all our meals. Book a reservation today!

Our Bite on the Health Benefits of Chinese Rice Porridge

chinese congee

Known for its addicting dishes that pack the taste buds with explosive flavors, Chinese cuisine is coveted across the globe thanks to its gastronomic combination of sweet, savory, sour, and unprecedented umami qualities.

World-renowned staples like dim-sum, Yangzhou fried rice, sweet and sour pork fillet, Kung Pao chicken, and other recipes often rise on top of people’s must-eat bucket list when ordering Chinese take-out. However, one humble dish proves to be the ultimate comfort food in more ways than one: rice porridge.

It harmonizes ingredients like fresh ginger and fresh turmeric to give the sticky rice a health-boosting oomph. The chicken’s subtle nuances complete the dish, and every bite feels like giving your stomach a warm hug. Here’s how rice porridge can boost your well-being:

Benefit #1: Rice Porridge Increases Body Moisture

Rice porridge is easy to digest thanks to its simple ingredients, and while it doesn’t impress the palette, its magic typically happens inside the body. For one, it’s an excellent source of water since the rice to water ratio is often 1:8 to achieve the standard consistency you often see in restaurants.

The body easily absorbs the heavy starch and water mixture, but the best part is that it stays longer than any other dish, making it great for improving your digestive system.

Benefit #2: Rice Porridge is a Low Calorie yet Heavy Meal

Eating a full bowl of rice porridge can make anyone feel like slipping into a food coma. Still, if you dig deeper into its nutritional facts, the filling dish has a surprisingly low-calorie content. The more water you add to the dish, the lower the carbohydrates, allowing you to derive 30 calories for every 100 grams of rice porridge compared to the 100 calories you would get in plain rice.

Benefit #3: Rice Porridge is Stomach-Friendly

Whether you’re watching your weight or want to eat dishes that won’t trigger any flare-ups in your stomach, rice porridge is the perfect dish that can safely sate your cravings. For one, the dish can aid your digestion and ease any inflammation, allowing you to cure your intestinal pains and mitigate diarrhea.
It’s the go-to dish for anyone who feels sick, as doctors see it as a delectable recipe that aids a person’s recovery.

The Bottom Line: Indulging in the Deliciously Healthy Properties of Congee

With all its health-boosting properties, congee proves to be a simple dish that offers more value than the sum of its parts. It’s tasty proof that even the humbles recipes can provide more to the table than meets the eye, making Chinese rice porridge worthy of its long-standing popularity worldwide.

Why Dine with Us?

Are you craving to indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine? Hungry locals and travelers looking for the best Chinese restaurant in Houston can order up Asian favorites here with us at Ocean Palace Restaurant.

We can whip up traditional recipes that are sure to delight your taste buds – from dim sum delicacies, seafood, congee, and more classics. We also deliver during the pandemic, so check out our menu today and let us serve you on your doorstep.

5 Things to Have an Enjoyable and Authentic Dim Sum Experience

5 things to have in dim sum

Dim Sum means “to touch the heart” in Mandarin Chinese. In fact, these little dishes are so good that it will surely leave a mark on your heart! Traditionally, these are eaten for breakfast or brunch—but it has since evolved into an all-day affair, especially in cities like Guangzhou in China.

Dim sum is guaranteed to be a hearty meal, whether you eat it in places such as the Ocean Palace Restaurant in Houston or at home via Chinese food delivery. Here are five things to remember to have an authentic dim sum dining experience:

1. Pick the Right Restaurant

When trying to decide which restaurant to eat at, it’s a good idea to choose places filled with happy Chinese people—especially if there are many elderly and families in them. Since elderly Chinese people are very fond of their traditional cuisine, having them flocking to a restaurant means that the place serves authentic Chinese food.

2. Have It With Tea

Before getting a table, decide on what tea you want to drink. The first thing that a waiter will probably ask when you get to your seat is the kind of tea you want to get. Do you like Green, Black, Ginger, or Jasmine? Oolong, maybe? Whatever you might fancy, tea will always go with your dim sum experience.

Dim sum is usually associated with the word yum cha, which means the act of drinking tea. So if you’re in Southern China and you’re told, “let’s go get some tea,” they also mean “let’s go eat some dim sum. Remember to leave your teapot ajar if you want more tea. This signals the waiter to serve you

3. Eat Slowly

I know it’s easy to get so overwhelmed when you see food, but remember to calm down and get only one or two items at a time. Don’t try to fill up your table within minutes. This will give you time to revel in each taste and texture. Eating slowly will let you enjoy the flavors more.

It is essential to know that dim sum is best when eaten hot, so order only two to three items first.

4. Know Your Chinese Manners

When dining with Chinese people, it is essential to know a few ground rules. Always serve other people with tea before serving yourself. Also, when someone serves tea for you, as a sign of respect, tap the table with two fingers (pointer and middle). In Chinese custom, this gesture means thank you.

The food is always for sharing, so never lay claim to any one dish. Use a serving spoon when getting food or serving others. Never eat directly from the steamer basket or communal plate. Before taking the last piece of a dish, make sure to ask everyone first before digging in.

5. Mind your chopstick positions

Lay your chopsticks horizontally on the edge of your plate and never leave it standing up as it is a sign of death and mourning. Do not leave it stuck on your food too. Always make sure that no food is glued on your utensils.

When you’re done, set your chopsticks parallel to you across the top of your plate. That signals that you’re full.

Aside from all that, remember not to rest your non-dominant hand on your lap. Instead, rest it in on the edge of the table.


The final thing to remember when going out to eat dim sum is to fight to pay for the bill. If you’re eating with Chinese friends, common courtesy requires you to offer to pay for the bill. You’ll make a great face if you manage to get the check. If you do end up paying the bill, be grateful and expect to be treated next time!

The Ocean Palace Restaurant is the top Chinese restaurant in Houston, Texas. The two-story restaurant has been serving authentic Chinese food since 1999 and is famous for its dumplings, chicken feet, tofu, egg rolls, and more. Visit the Ocean Palace Restaurant at our physical location in 11215 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77072, or get Chinese food delivery online via our website today.

3 Reasons Why Chinese Seafood is a Healthy Choice

3 reasons why chinese food is a great choice

Chinese seafood is one of the most highly regarded cuisines globally for its complex flavors and popular style. It also has a lot of health benefits that you can enjoy. Together we will talk about these subject matters deeper so that you and your family can enjoy your next big healthy dine-out.

This article will talk about Chinese seafood and what you can expect. First, we will discuss its impact on Chinese culture to give you a deeper appreciation for the food. Then, we will discuss key health benefits that you can enjoy. Take this as an opportunity to expand your taste for great food and enjoy your healthy lifestyle.

1. A Chinese food specialty

Chinese food is an iconic cuisine, with popular offerings like orange chicken, egg rolls, and fried rice. However, Chinese cuisine also has a rich seafood menu thanks to its long history and vast ocean resources from the South China Sea. Seafood is also embedded in Chinese culture, particularly during the Chinese New Year. For instance, the Chinese term for fish is Yu Yoo, which sounds like their equivalent for the word surplus. It is why many affluent families uphold the tradition of serving Chinese fish dishes during the Chinese New Year. It is good luck that signifies the increase in prosperity that will open doors for financial success.

Nowadays, Chinese seafood is eaten all year round for special occasions, like family gatherings and intimate get-togethers. Ensure that you get the best Chinese seafood and more from us at the Ocean Palace Restaurant for your next special dine-out.

2. Packed with lean sources of protein

You can enjoy seafood and gain a healthy amount of protein, which helps build and restore muscles. It enables you to do intense workouts without much effort because lean proteins are also jam-packed with good energy. Through this, you can eat a healthy amount of Chinese seafood and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

It’s also important to note that Chinese seafood is the best protein source because there are a variety of lean protein-packed dishes to try. Many types of fish and shellfish have a lot of healthy protein, meaning you won’t get bored since you enjoy different kinds of dishes. That way, you can change up your healthy diet and maintain it.

3. Loaded with good cholesterol

Cholesterol often gets a bad reputation among weight watchers and other healthy eaters, but did you know that there is a good kind of cholesterol that you can enjoy? The healthy cholesterol High-Density Lipids is rich in different kinds of seafood and other healthy foods, like olives and nuts. It can aid in decongestion within the bloodstream, which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

As such, consume a healthy amount of healthy cholesterol in seafood to keep your heart health in check. Don’t forget to exercise daily to keep your body strong. And don’t fail to positively influence your family by eating healthy seafood together and practicing a healthy, active lifestyle.


You can’t go wrong when you feast on Chinese seafood. It’s delicious, has so many nutritional benefits, and offers a lot of good options. You just need to find the right restaurant that can provide you with the best that China has to offer. Consider all the formerly mentioned facts about Chinese seafood and enjoy them today!

Are you ready to enjoy the best seafood and Chinese food Houston has to offer? Dine with us today at the Ocean Palace Restaurant. We can provide you with an authentic Chinese seafood experience with our specialities and other non-seafood dishes. Enjoy the health benefits of seafood today, and take your tastebuds on a journey!

Top 4 Traditional Chinese Food Dishes You Must Try

top 4 chinese food dishes

As much as you wish to deny it, the Chinese food you get from your favorite takeout spot is far from the real thing. Although they can be tasty, they are most likely heavily Westernized.

The good news for you is that authentic traditional Chinese cuisine has a wide array of dishes, and they vary from region to region. This means that you will never run out of foods to dig into! On the other hand, this can also seem overwhelming—with a plethora of choices, where should you begin?

To help you get started with experiencing the real goodness of Chinese food, be on the lookout for these dishes:

1. Fried Rice

Like in most Asian countries, rice is also a staple in Chinese cuisine. However, there’s something special with China’s fried rice—or Chao fan—that will surely keep you coming back for more.

This fried rice is extra special because it contains a wide variety of ingredients. Whether you’re craving for some chicken, pork, or shrimp, or want a balanced meal with some vegetables, you’ll find all the goodies in this dish. Chao fan is not only flavorful but also very wholesome. What seals the deal is that it is easy and quick to make at home!

2. Peking Duck

If you are interested in trying some duck, you’ll never go wrong with Peking duck. This Beijing dish is an interesting crispy roasted duck dish that is sliced into bite-sized pieces. Additionally, these pieces are rolled up in a wrapper with salad and hoisin sauce.

What gives it its rich flavors is the preparation: the meat is seasoned, dried for 24 hours, and then cooked in an open-air oven.

Because of the intricate steps required to cook this dish, this isn’t something you can easily whip up at home. The upside is that you can get this from Chinese restaurants in Houston, TX!

3. Kung Pao Chicken

This is considered as the most well-known Chinese chicken dish outside of China, and for a good reason. Originating from the Sichuan province, Kung Pao Chicken is a traditional spicy stir-fried chicken dish.

You may have tried this once or twice from your usual takeout spot. However, this is most likely the Westernized version. You can easily tell authentic Kung Pao Chicken from the rest; it is fragrant, spicy, and can even numb your mouth a little!

4. Bao

Sometimes also called baozi, this type of yeast-leavened filled bun has two types: dàbāo, which means big bun, and xiǎobāo, which means small bun.

Both are bread-like dumplings filled with various ingredients such as meat, veggies, and even bean paste. On top of that, they can be made in many different ways. Nevertheless, baos are usually steamed, and it is this process that gives them their soft and squishy consistency.

Bao is usually served with dipping sauces such as soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and chili paste.


Of course, there’s more to authentic traditional Chinese food than the four dishes mentioned above. Nevertheless, trying these four meals out can get you to a great start when it comes to exploring the cuisine of this interesting country. To make sure you’re getting the real deal and that your testing experience will become truly enjoyable, visit authentic Chinese restaurants near your area!

If you are looking for the best Chinese food in Houston, TX, you have come to the right place! Ocean Palace is a restaurant opened in 1999 and is located in the heart of Chinatown at the Hong Kong City Mall. We serve the best Chinese seafood and dim sum in the area. Visit our website today to order online!

Key Dim Sum Vocabulary You Must Know

dim sum vocabulary

Aside from having your fill of flavorful Chinese food, nothing beats the satisfaction of ordering Chinese food successfully. Whether you like to admit it or not, it feels good to be complimented by your friends when you know what you’re ordering—especially when the names are in a foreign language.

This can be easy especially if you’re getting food from a restaurant you’ve always frequented. However, there will be times where you’ll want to try a new restaurant to try other dishes you haven’t tasted before.

Truth be told, Chinese menus can be quite intimidating. While some have pictures to help you, they’re not always there to give you an idea of what a dish is. In some cases, you may end up paying for food you weren’t even craving for. In the worst cases, you may end up ordering a weird combination for your family or friends!

To help you avoid this embarrassing moment and enjoy great Chinese food, here are some key terms you must know when it comes to Chinese dim sum.

1. Dim Sum – Diǎn Xīn (点心)

Dim sum is ingrained deep into Chinese culture. Initially, it referred to the group of small dishes that were eaten during teatime. Eventually, it has been used to refer to any snack eaten between meals.

Today, dim sum is served all day in bamboo or metal steamer baskets and is often paraded through Chinese restaurants in trolley carts.

2. Dumpling – Jiăo Zi (饺子)

Dumplings are a staple in dim sum. They are made of pieces of dough wrapped around a filling and can either be steamed or fried. The dough can be made from flour or potatoes and the filling can either be meat, fish, cheese, vegetables, or fruits.

This dish is prepared and eaten during the Chinese New Year celebration as it represents prosperity according to Chinese tradition.

3. Buns – Bāo Zi (包子)

This is a type of yeast-leavened filled bun that is popular not only for its taste but also its appearance. While you may think that buns are naturally round, there’s an interesting story behind why bāo zis have assumed this shape.

According to history, the buns we enjoy today are invented by Zhuge Liang, a military strategist during the Three Kingdoms period. Bāo zis were made to resemble human heads as a symbolic offering to the gods to end the plague.

4. Siomai – Shāo Mài (烧卖)

Siomai is one of the most famous steamed dumplings—if not the most. Originating from Hohhot, this dish is an open-wrapped dumpling and is usually served as a dim sum snack. It is usually filled with pork and shrimp and resembles a budding flower with its appearance.

5. Radish Cake – Luó Bo Gāo (萝卜糕)

If you’re a vegetarian, it helps to remember this dish’s name. Also sometimes called turnip cake, this is a savoury pudding made from grated radish, rice flour, and bits of Chinese sausage, dried prawns, and soaked dried mushrooms. This is usually pan-fried until the edges are crunchy.

Like dumplings, radish cakes are usually prepared and eaten during Chinese New Year celebrations because they symbolize wealth and prosperity.

There’s a lot more to Chinese dim sum than the five dishes mentioned above. However, if you’re working on your Chinese food vocabulary, starting with these famous dishes is a great strategy. Once you’re confident that you’ve familiarized yourself with their names, don’t hesitate to learn more names and try new dishes. It will take time and effort, but your taste buds will certainly enjoy the experience!

Satisfy your cravings for the best Chinese food in Houston, TX here at Ocean Palace Restaurant! Since 1999, we have been serving traditional Chinese dim sum delicacies and the best Chinese seafood in the area. Visit our website today to order online!