Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Archive for December 23rd, 2009

No Sense of Accomplishment- Eating in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on December 23, 2009


China has some delicious food, but why then do I not feel a sense of accomplishment when I have eaten?

The ey is that here they are ultra collectivistic (good explanation here), and the impact is that you feel like you are such a part of the whole that you lose yourself, that you have no ownership nor self-determination.

The scenario, which is a microcosm of living here is that we eat at round tables, share the food. Consider this action, no head of the table, all are equals. Then, we each have matching dishes cups etc. The questions become, what is my food, how much can I eat, and when do I stop.

In the west it has been proven that the size of the portion dictates how much we ea (here).  Thus, we sit down, get ready to consume and are basically guided by the portions in front of us, their size will dictate how much we eat. In essence it is our guide. In addition, my plate is mine, my utensils mine, it occupies a space that I temporarily own. But here, in a round table, there is no sense of ownership. How does one appropriate the correct amount of food, after all what is mine, how much am I entitled to, do I eat till the others stop?

So basically it becomes a confusing state of sit, watch, peck at food then get up and leave with the rest of them, an odd feeling.

Posted in Cultural oddities, Food | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »