When it comes to cultural heritage, every society has what it believes is right for its people. Norms differ at various levels, some of which include gender roles, leadership styles and even cooking. You only need to compare between the Chinese and the Western food cultures to get a glimpse of how wide cultural differences can be. The Chinese have always been known to maintain some degree of originality in everything they do, and cooking is no exception. Join me therefore as I introduce you to a real Chinese dining situation.
#1 Two things with 4 legs Chinese don’t eat.
Do you know the answer? Chinese cuisine is an important part of Chinese culture, which includes cuisine originating from the diverse regions of China, as well as from Chinese people in other parts of the world. One of my friend make the joke with me. 2 things with 4 legs Chinese don’t eat are tables and chairs. Ha-ha, it may be true. When you travel in China, you can find all kinds of food which never exist on your table before. Such as chicken feet, all animal organs, fish head. But don’t worry, if you are enough adventures, you will not have disappointed.
# 2 Where shall I seat in an official dinner
The manner in which people sit during meal time is also a major difference between the Chinese and the Western food culture. The Chinese prefer the north and south sitting arrangement while the Western culture goes with the right and left sitting arrangement. The Chinese sitting arrangement comes from the fact that guests from a long time ago were all facing north when they met the emperor. On the other hand, the Western culture draws its sitting arrangement from a traditional norm where the most distinguished guests were often seated on the left-hand side of the host. If you look keenly, you will find that the Chinese sitting arrangement was inspired by a sense of reverence for their leaders. The north is always viewed as the upper or front side [even when it is not] and it is the side where their emperors would sit as they addressed their soldiers or subjects.
# 3 Most local restaurants don’t take reservations
If you don’t go to a fancy restaurant, you just go and wait for the line. Most of the local restaurant doesn’t take reservations. As there are millions of restaurant here, you can always find a great place to eat.
# 4 Chopsticks
It is also worth mentioning that the Chinese prefer chopsticks as opposed to the folks and spoons that are generally used in the Western nations. This is yet another living proof of the extent that the Chinese will go in preserving their tradition.
In addition, the Chinese meals often feature a wide range of drinks. The drinks could range from caffeinated drinks such as coffee to even beer in a single meal course. The basis of this is that everyone can at least find a drink that catches their fancy and that no one feels left out of the meal occasion. On the other hand, most meals in the Western cultures only feature beer or wine.
#6 One menu per Table
The restaurants offer one menu per person in most western countries. On the other hand, Chinese restaurant offers only 1 menu per table. All the dishes are meant to be shared and one-person order for everyone include the drinks.
#7 Why do you put the soup in the swimming pool?
In a lot of local restaurants, the size of the food is very generous, 1 person per dish is more than enough. If you don’t want to waste the food, look around other table and get an idea the size of the dishes.
#8. Where are my appetizers?
Chinese have the soup at the end of the meal. Don’t look for an appetizer if you didn’t request beforehand. Soups and all forms of carbohydrates are served last. And most of the restaurant don’t have dessert.
#9 You look very impolite when you drinking.
Have an individual toast during the meal is very popular during business dinners. But when the higher ranking people toast to you, your glass suppose 2 inches lower than the boss. Some of my friends always lower the glasses to show their respect and good relationship with you. When individuals are toasting as a big group around a big table, everyone will tap his glass on the round glass in the middle of the table as a substitute for physically clinking the glasses.
#10 People don’t tip in the local restaurant.
For some fancy restaurants, they always charge 10 to 15% as the service fee. But people don’t leave money as tips. The waiters always run after us to give the tip back when my previous clients want to tip them.