Differences between Chinese and American Food Culture
Food is closely related to people's lives .The United States is a country by the immigrants of Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and other regions. They value the individual efforts, freedoms and interests. Thus Americans formed a core value of individualism. In the short 200 years’ history, the American food culture has the characteristics of diversity and pluralism, but not forms the unique characteristics food culture. China is a five thousand years long history, profound country. Chinese food culture reflects the classical Chinese philosophy “harmonious” concept embodies the thinking of collectivism. Here are several differences between Chinese and American food culture. For example, the main food resource, the cooking, the style of eating and the dining tools.
The most of difference between Chinese and American food culture is daily main food resource. Most of people in China are used to have rice and wheat as their daily main food resource. Meat is not the major food for us. Chinese people always believe that rice, wheat, vegetable, fruit are the best for our health. In contrast, meat would give more troubles to our health, for example, heart attack, high blood pressure, high blood fat, etc. On the contrary, American people mostly have meat as their food resource. They mostly have beef, chicken, shrimp, turkey, instead of pork and lamb. The food style gives American people much more energy than we have. So they are much stronger than us.
The second difference between Chinese and American food culture is cooking workmanship. The technology of cooking in China is very developed. A lot of food that the foreigner thought is unable to eat can be made. When you see it, your appetite will develop at once. We eat every thing if possible and we do not have any taboo. The writings about aid the famine are a lot, so we can know which potherb can be eaten when the famine comes. Dining is the first require in China, we thought eating food is a happy thing. We can not eat full and dress warm in the past years, so eating has the special position in Chinese lives. However, because meat is delicious in nature, American do not need to decorate their food, it limits the development of the cook. When they are rich, they use the dining tools to represent their rich. They do not purse eat because it is easy content for them. Americans do not daintily the details of the food and it is in a popular style. In restaurants, you can easily find hamburger, steak, ribs with a little rice and a piece of bread, because their live style are so fast.
Thirdly, China and United States food culture differences reflect the two different food concept and values. Chinese eight cuisines reflect the cultural richness of the Chinese food culture. Chinese food focuses on the dishes, color, smell taste and shape, focusing on the inherent quality, but the lack of attention to nutrition. However, the United States considers the food nutrition and pays attention to nutrition mix and absorption. Americans believe that food only has one meaning, so they mainly pay attention to authentic, not excessive pursuit of taste.
The styles that Chinese and American eat are very different too. In China, any dinner party has a form that everyone sits around the table. We use round table in the banquet. It means solidify, manner and having the common habits. The delicious dinner is placed in middle of the table. People toast for each other and take vegetables to others. It shows the respects and comity among people in front of the fantastic thing. Although this kind of eat method has obvious shortages in sanitation, it matches the common thought “reunion” of our race. Nevertheless, in American dinners, although the food and wine are important, actually
that is a setoff. The purpose of the party is making friends. They make friends by chat with their neighbor. It also represents Americans personality and respect.
In addition, the method we drink tea is the quintessence of our country, it has a long standing. When we drink tea, we emphasize clearness and elegance. We daintily the matching of the tea and tea cups. There are many kinds of tea cups in China. Chinese rarely hold on tea party. If there are some, the hosts themselves pour tea for the guests. But Americans like drinking coffee instead of tea, they also drink tea, they hold tea parties sometimes. The conversation is the core of the party. The tea party is a place where can train the diplomat.
The dining tools between the two countries are obvious different. Chinese use chopsticks. The thin and long chopsticks cannot be used to cut food, so we usually use our teeth to act as knives. We hold our food, meat or vegetable, with the chopsticks, send them to the mouths, bite off a part of it and remain the other part on the chopsticks. That’s the usual way we eat.
We are also used to hold up our bowls when having rice or soup. The etiquette in the America requests that when eating, bowls and plates cannot leave the tables. Food should be cut by knives to fit into the mouths. Of course your mouth cannot touch the plates or bowls. So the regular process is like this. You cut your steak on the plate with fork and knife, send the meat cube into the mouth with fork and nothing will be returned back but the fork alone.
However, no matter what opinion we have, China and the United States food culture are human civilization. Though we can choose the food we like, we should respect all of these.