The contact between different countries becomes much tighter through the globalization. At the same time, the cultural communications become more important in the huge distance between these two cultures. The distinction between cultural communications becomes more and more evident. And the study of Chinese and Western food culture is an important part of it, so this thesis will analyze the different food cultures in Chinese and western countries. And I will compare them from the aspect of main food, drink, tableware, the position of dishes and its reason, and healthy conception.
The first difference between Chinese and western food culture is about different main food.
Rice and cooked wheaten food are two main staple foods in the Han nationality. The southern and northern regions cultivate rice, and rice has become the main nourishment in these areas. The northeast and northwest regions cultivate wheat and give first place to cooked wheaten food. Also, other kinds of cereals like maize, Kaoliang, grain, tuber crop have become staple food, in different areas as well as coarse cereals. The Han nationality’s staple foods have colorful and various cooking methods and has hundreds of kinds of rice and wheat products. Nowadays, the northeast regions in China still give first place to cooked wheaten food.
... motivated an attitude connected to western colonialism and imperialism.” (Food and Culture Pg.395) Heldke further clarifies ... and other food anthropologists is that Chinese food really isn’t at all Chinese. In addition food hybridity’s that ... unanimous for me to conduct my main research of food colonialism at Dahlak. My guidelines ... deliciousness of the lamb tikka and rice. My husband and I found that ...
Meat, milk and bread are the staple food in western countries. A common meal usually consists of soup, bread and butter. There are also various roasted foods besides the brown bread. Another staple food in Western countries is the potato. To westerners, potato is as important as rice to Chinese. You can often see that the British move packages of potatoes in shopping carts in the supermarket just like Chinese people buying rice.
Second, let us look at the difference between Chinese and western drinks.
Liquor and tea are two kinds of main drinks in Han nationality. It is known to all that China is the hometown of tea, and one of the countries which invented the earliest brew technology in the world. Wine culture and tea culture have long history in China and they have become an essential part of Han national food culture in the past thousands of years. They greatly influence other countries all over the world.
There are many kinds of tea and liquor in China. Different kinds of tea and liquor have different functions, so people drink different tea and liquor in different seasons to keep healthy. Normally, people drink three kinds of tea in four seasons. In spring and autumn, people drink tea, which was made of various flowers to make them more beautiful and active. In summer, green tea is the best choice. It is a special kind of healthy drink and has many unique functions, such as refreshing oneself, removing strain, preventing heatstroke, cooling, caring for eyes etc. Most people choose black tea in winter because it is fermenting and not belonging to cold. It can not only foster your stomach, promote digestion and your appetite but also help to strengthen the cardiac muscles.
Chinese people always drink beer in hot summer and liquor in winter. Liquor has thousands of year’s history in China and it creates a unique style in the world. It is fragrantly pure and has flavors. Drinking a small cup of liquor everyday could promote digestion, whet appetite and keeps one warm.
While the grape wine and beer are common drink in western countries. People in some cold area even drink sherry everyday to keep themselves warm. In Britain, bars meet your eyes everywhere on the streets and become second living rooms. The British are experts in drinking and beer is their favorite drink. Normally, there are three kinds of beer which are divided by flavor: Bitter, Lager and Cider. In recent years, it has come into vogue to drink wine and the wine consumption in Britain is the greatest in the world. Simultaneously, juice is also a very popular drink in western countries. Usually people drink juice at breakfast. Juice gets unique welcome in Britain, the annual average consumption amounts to 19.1 liters in Britain.
Food and drinks were different depending on your status, and wealth. “In the early medieval times meat was a sign of wealth. ” (Elizabethan Food). What you hunted for food depended on your status. “Only Lords and Nobles were allowed to hunt deer, dear, boar, hares, and rabbits” (The Last Colony). In the Elizabethan Era, most of the meals were cooked using an open flame, by: “spit roasting, being ...
Then it comes to the different tableware in Chinese and western food culture.
In China it is usually thought that people are an inherent part of nature. Under the influence of this orientation, Chinese people attempt a balanced act with nature and try to live in harmony with it. China is also a traditionally agricultural country. Since Chinese people mainly live on rice and wheat as their staple food by cultivating the farmland, the harvest of the crops depends on nature. Therefore, in such cultural context and natural environment, people tend to live and work in peace.
The application of chopsticks as the chief tableware can be traced back as early as the Shang and Chou periods, although hands were probably used more often than chopsticks. When Chinese people use chopsticks, they usually appear to be cultivated and their attitudes toward food are gentle and kind. Roland Barthes, a famous French literary critic, once talked about the usage of chopsticks, and he remarked that unlike fork and knife, chopsticks were not used to cut, poke or stab food. Therefore, “food was no longer the prey suffering the human beings’violence but turned out to be the substance passed harmoniously through them.” In this sense, chopsticks are the gentle medium between man and food, and they reflect the harmonious relationship between man and nature.
On the contrary, many Westerners think that people are dominant over nature. Quite different from China, the ancestors of many western countries lived by hunting due to some ecological and historical factors. Of course, meat was their basic food source and gradually took the place of staple food. In order to survive in severe and harsh environments, they tried their best to be good at hunting, such as the use of some weapons like knives, forks and arrows etc to fight with or kill animals. That resulted in the aggressiveness and the adventurous sense in their temperaments.
Food, which is the only energy source for human, is essential in peoples’ life. It has many different kinds which gives people different kinds of nutrition. Go through the thousands of years of evolution, diet have become not only an important part of peoples’ life but also a culture. People who are living all over the world have different food choices. The three important factors that influence ...
Compared with chopsticks, it is not exaggerating at all to say that knife and fork represent the violence and cruelty to food without any concealment. The way of eating in western countries actually reflects human’s conquest over nature.
Moreover, another differences between Chinese and western food culture is the position on table where dishes are served.
In Chinese dinner, dishes are served at the middle of table for all to share, and each person uses a small plate in front him or her to hold the food one has picked from the shared dishes. Foods are taken from the plates at the center of the table into one’s own plate during the course of the meal. One takes as much as one can finish. This custom also applies to appetizers. However, as for Chinese dinner main course like rice or noodle, they are often served to each person separately in a small bowl. When several people go out for dinner, the Chinese way of having dinner is helpful to make everyone enjoy a diversified meal, because everyone can order a different kind of dish make it shared by all.
In western dinner, dishes are served in each person’s own plate. So each person uses a big plate. Dishes are put to each person’s own plate before serving. In western restaurants, everyone orders the three courses for oneself.
Speaking of the reason for that, it is necessary to mention the collective orientation and individualistic orientation.
The collectivistic orientation plays an important role in Chinese food culture. Normally, Chinese people would like to take the style of “sharing” when they have a dinner together, whether at home with family members or outside with friends. Good eating manners require each participant take equally from the different ts’ai dishes, so that all will have an equal chance at all the dishes. When the dinner starts, the host usually shows a menu to guests asking them to order the dish they like before making the final decision. When a dinner comes to an end, participants always strive to pay the bill unless someone has claimed it in advance.
Japanese people follow groups. Although in this developed country all the opinions are free and our minds are supposed to be free, it seems like we are caged into some kind of category. The harmony among people are cherished, and so majority always wins. They are said to be modest, but it is more like they are scared to be outstanding. That is not either good thing or bad thing. That is just the ...
However, western food culture is characterized by the “separated’ style because of the great influence of the individualistic orientation. It is contrary to the “sharing” style in Chinese food culture in many ways. For example, westerners do not take the ts’ai dishes from the public plate, but have separate individual plates. The way of “going Dutch” is widely taken when the bill is to be paid, which means everyone pays his own share. The role of individualism in Western food culture is obvious and its influence is self-evident.
At last, we are going to discuss the different healthy conceptions in Chinese and western food culture.
Chinese food and drink usually contains little sugar, which will not lead to getting fat. But there are more and more fat people in China while our living standard has improved. China enjoys a good reputation for its plentiful and splendid cuisine. Chinese people have many complex cooking methods, such as braising, boiling, braising with soy sauce, roasting, baking, grilling, scalding, deep-frying, steaming, drying, salt-preserving etc. And the Chinese cuisine is always exquisite and tastes excellent. But much nutrition is destroyed because of such complex cooking methods. Simultaneously, Chinese people share dishes when they have a meal. Everyone’s chopsticks touch the same dish and that highly increases the probability of hepatitis.
Nutrition and balance are greatly cared for by westerners when they have a meal. An interesting phenomenon in western countries is the nutritional information on the food label, by which people’s concern about nutrition is clearly reflected. A look at information like the number of calories per serving, grams of fat, sodium, fiber and sugar content will make you more knowledgeable in selecting foods to reduce your nutritional health risk. In addition, the balance in diet structure is also essential to Westerners. Nowadays, more and more westerners are starting to worry about their weight for their diet containing too many calories. This is evident in menus in many restaurants offering “low calorie” meal. The vegetable and fruit salad served to westerners all year around because they have low calories and high vitamin.
Chinese culture is known to value education as one of the most important things that you can have in the world. This historical importance of education in the Chinese culture dates back from the teachings of Confucius. China is also rich in great thinkers and philosophers, all having important contributions for China and in the global scale. There philosophy was that they believe in achieving ...
By comparison and analysis we have made so far, one conclusion may be drawn that Chinese and Western food culture reflect each other’s cultures with their own unique features. Due to the open policy, Chinese people and Chinese culture have more and more chances of contact with foreigners and foreign cultures, and vice versa. People of different cultures can learn from each other. In a word, Chinese and Western food culture will develop together by the cross-cultural communication.