WeChat Image_20190225151316

Eating with Gusto! by Tracy

0   2   0   0   0
AL
city 2
An Expat Story by Tracy | My Chinese friend explained: “Slurping noodles and porridge, peeling shrimp with our tongues and sucking on chicken feet is a process that’s not done quietly. If we use tools, we will lose the flavored juices that the foods were cooked in. And we don’t use our fingers to peel the shrimp

Eating with Gusto!

An Expat Story

By Tracy Lesh

Chi de xiang!


One of the first things westerners notice upon arrival in China is the local eating habits. People slumped over their bowls slurping or inhaling their food, chewed with mouths agape while spitting unwanted parts directly onto their plates. I initially assumed these were small-town folks From the countryside whose manners hadn't yet caught up. However, while having lunch with some local female corporate executives, I observed the same table manners. One lady who could talk and spew chicken bones out the side of her mouth at the same time Impressed me. Her silk blouse never saw a drop of oil. Then I realized that these habits weren't simply about table manners.



The first time I ate dinner with my Chinese friend's family, his mom prepared some expensive dishes. She was surprised to see me struggling with removing the heads and legs from the tiny shrimp. Due to lack of skill, yet not wanting to offend, I In the meantime, there was quite a commotion as the family expertly removed the unwanted parts by teeth and tongue. To eat the crabs, I had to zigzag around the sharp claws and spikes just to suck the small quantity of As I feebly murmured "hao chi", my mind wandered back to America when I could crack open meaty Alaskan king crab legs with a metal tool. So much effort for such a tiny amount of meat... could I ever appreciate it?



My Chinese friend explained: "Slurping noodles and porridge, peeling shrimp with our tongues and sucking on chicken feet is a process that's not done quietly. If we use tools, we will lose the flavored juices that the foods were cooked in. And we don 't use our fingers to peel the shrimp. Only barbarians let their fingers get messy while eating!” She went on: “When we eat with sound, it means we are enjoying our food. There is a phrase in Mandarin, (Chi De Xiang) in which means to eat noisily and with gusto!"



From childhood, I was taught to eat quietly and with my mouth closed. Would I ever adapt to a style of eating that in my home country was considered crude and unmannered? I began to research etiquette guidelines for different countries and discovered that in Japan, Where slurping is considered rude, they make an exception for noodles. Why? Slurping enables your olfactory senses to kick in, which enhances the nuanced, savory aroma that the mouth alone doesn't detect. Plus, noodles taste better in hot broth, and Slurping cools the noodles so they don't burn you.


Convinced that eating at a noodle restaurant could be my transition to going local, I ordered a bowl and watched my fellow diner's technique. Here's what I learned:



1. put the spoon in left hand and chopsticks in right

2. hunch over the bowl so you don't dribble on yourself

3. use chopsticks to pick up a few noodles-too many will make it difficult to slurp

4. place the spoon with under the noodles to prevent the broth from splashing into the bowl

5. SLURP, but not so hard that broth makes you choke (this takes some practice!)

5. When the noodles are gone, drink the remaining broth from the bowl


For those who need visual imagery, you can find "How to Slurp" videos online.



After taking that first step, I wasn't afraid to elevate my eating to the next level. My husband was proud to see me experiment with sucking the meat off fish bones and removing shrimp skins



One thing seems certain, the Chinese will continue to slurp, chomp, and spit with robust fervor as they savor their delicious meals. So if you want to really enjoy your food, skip your fussy western manners and chi de xiang!


About the Author:

Tracy Lesh is an American who moved to China ten years ago. Along the way, she met and married a Chinese national who spoke zero English. She enjoys sharing her colorful cross-cultural experiences with the expat community.

Editor & Page Design:

Andy Lewis

User comments

There are no user comments for this listing.
Already have an account?
Anti Spam Check
Don't want to answer that question every time?
Register an account
It's FREE and give you access to advanced features
Comments
You will be able to upload media right after you submit your comment.

Latest articles

Closed streets in TEDA for Marathon
Category: What's Up
Drivers in TEDA please remember that streets will be close on Saturday 4th for annual TEDA marathon More info on the marathon click here Closed roads map
hao chi longtaitou
Category: Lifestyle
This year, the Longtaitou Festival falls on 7th March, 2019. Let's learn about the origins, traditions, customs, and the legend of the blue dragon! The Longtaitou Festival ...
Visions
Category: Lifestyle
Panoramic shots of Tianjin and the surrounding areas with history and commentary Tianjin | A light snow of 2019. The morning sun illuminating the sky. ...
Permanent Establishment and Taxation guidance in China
  This article has been redacted for tianjinexpats by AsiaLink Tianjin, company registration, taxes, accounting, visa services, for more info please contact us asialink@outlook.com     Introduction : In the past few years there has been a rapid growth in industrial, material and technological establishments in China. In turn, the Tax Liabilities due to the business transactions in China are moving into a delicate situation with a matter of national concern. The foreign bodies who pursue...
How Do I Find An Ayi (Maid/Household Help)
      How Do I Find An Ayi (Maid/Household Help)   If you live on your own, there are tons of advantages to hiring someone to help you clean and cook. What I've done is hired someone to work two hours a day around lunch hour to help me clean (sweep & squeegee-or-whatever-you-call-that-thing the floor, pick up random clutter, handle laundry, heat a thermos of water, dishes) and to make the day's food for us. ...
How Do I Connect To The Internet?
  How Do I Connect To The Internet?   Depending on which part of Tianjin or the complex/building you live in, Tianjin offers you varieties of internet service providers. Internet Connection installation is usually handled by your landlord. Suggest you talk to your landlord and see what options you have there for your building/area. Chinese people don’t care too much for internet speed so whenever you move in a house/apartment, makes sure to tell your landlord to apply for the fastest connection package available. ...
How Do I Pay For My Electricity?
  How does the electricity generally work?   Most electricity in Tianjin is purchased in advance by the unit, to be consumed only after purchase. However, some people must pay a bill collector who personally comes to their door every month to collect. When you first move into your apartment, your landlord should give you a cardboard card with the apartment’s electricity purchase record and a two-inch long plastic charger piece or the electric purchasing card. After removing the plastic cover, the head of this...
How Do I Rent An Apartment
    Tianjin Housing Guide   When it comes to renting an apartment, best you have some local friends with you as you will be ripped off regardless of what once the landlord/agent knows you are a laowai/foreigner. Here in Tianjin, real agents get their commission directly from the landlord if you are renting the apartment for a year which is usually one-month worth of value of the rent itself. For this, don’t ever give in the agents or the landlords. Commission is...
How Do I Seek Medical Care In Tianjin?
      Hospitals in general:   There are little clinics every few blocks in Tianjin, and if you've got something minor, go there. I'd recommend getting a medical translation dictionary. The doctors are usually competent IF they know what you're talking about, and they'll listen, again, if you know what you're saying to them, but they can be super pushy if they don't. Also, they've got a pretty wide array of basic Western antibiotics and such, but you've got to know the translation....
How Do I Use The Post Office?
      Insight on China Post   In experience, using the postal service is one of the more frustrating experiences one can have in China. A lot of times it seems like their jobs are more to hinder people from using the postal service rather than to provide a service; although some times are much better than others. If you have a complicated task, and your Chinese is not up for it, it might be necessary to find someone to help you. ...
How To Watch Tv Shows and Movies in China
A quick overview of different way for you to watch your preferred movies and TV shows while in China 1 Buy dvd in the Streets Cheap way, be sure to ask the vendor to watch it before buying, to be sure that the subtitles are actually to good one, and that you don't get a movie in Cantonese with Japanese and Korean subtitles only. You won't be able to bring these DVDs back home, EMS won't allow you to send then out of the country, and...
How to Bring My Pet in China
1 Two ways to proceed : DIY , use an agent DIY Go to your local consulate and ask for necessary documents. They are the most up to date source of information. It is not so hard Contact an agent : look on google “bring my pet in China” . This is a very expensive solution but they will take care of everything. Pay a lot just for something you can do by yourself   DIY 2 Vet certificate that proof your pet received...
How to Buy Electronic Stuffs Online for Your Apartment and Pay While They Arrived at Your Place (by using www.jd.com)?
Are you still looking for electronic stuffs to fill your apartment? However, of course it will take more time to go shop around the outside will the limitation of products to be compared. I have asked some Chinese friends about buying electronic stuffs to fill my living place. Most of them suggest me to do the online shopping in JingDong. Some of the advantages are: 1. The price is quite cheaper rather than doing the offline shopping. ...
How to register on Alipay, to buy on taobao (without chinese id) Updated 30/06/16
  Why you should have an alipay account? Shop on most of Chinese website, including Taobao and Tmall Transfer money to your friends Pay credit card bills Pay phone bills Go Dutch Get a taxi       Add us on Wechat : tianjinexpats or by scanning the QrCode   ...
Exchange your Yuan and send Money out of China(Union Pay, Wire, Western Union, Alipay, Paypal) updated 09/08/2017
Whether it is for your student loans and credit card debt or you're just looking to buy some gift going back home for Christmas, every expat will have a day the need to transfer money abroad. It seems like a hassle but www.tianjinexpats.com team hope this memo will help you a lot. 28/07/2017 Update: New S.A.F.E. regulations about international UnionPay payment: Starting the 22 of September Chinese banks may report to taxes bureau any transaction over 1000元, (including cash withdrawal abroad and shop payment abroad). If you regularly use your UnionPay card abroad for payment and withdrawal of more than 1000元, you may...
How and why should you get an verified Alipay account (without Chinese ID card) Updated 30/06/2016
How and why should you get a verified Alipay account? 30/06/2016 Update. That article is to get a passport verified account, later alipay may ask you to get a second bank card verified account. You can check our second article for that purpose by Clicking here Alipay and Wechat account after 1st July 2016. What should I know and do? or scan qrcode   Let's start with the why? To override...
Exhibition Jacques Bartz in Le Loft
Category: Lifestyle
关于我 作为波兰裔的法国人 我一年半前到天津 一直对周围的环境充满好奇 随着时间推移 我的洞察力越来越敏锐 所以很自然的 我开始从事摄影 作为完美的现代浪漫主义艺术 摄影对我而言首先是展现世界的视窗 也是我对现实的模糊印象 通过这18张照片 这就是今天我希望向大家展示的 希望大家好好观看、欣赏、感受 « 照片所呈现的是不可见的 它不仅是我们所看见的样子 » Roland BARTHES.  About me, French of Polish origin, I settled in Tianjin a year and a half ago. Since the early days, I have been curious about the surrounding environment. I have become very observant over the years. Therefore, quite naturally, I turned to photography. Modern romantic art par excellence, photography is to me, first of all, a point of view over the world,...
Alipay and Wechat account after 1st July 2016. What should I know and do?
New Chinese regulations have been released and people have been ask to prove their identity on the on-line payment platform : Wechat and AliPay. New regulations are not here against foreigners, they apply to everybody. But verification is more complicated for foreigners, cause of the way banks input our name into the system.   Basically new regulation split user in 3 categories depending on the amount you spend, transfer monthly, or annualy on your account.   Wechat Category 1 : Wechat need bank linking //everybody...
How to share your events with the expats community
Category: What's Up
By posting your event on the website, you will gain into visibility. It will be reposted on WeChat official account, WeChat moments, Facebook and in the mailing list   It is important that you use well the event tools, to setup correctly and nicely your event.   First a few rules: (I know nobody like rules, but ….) In the event calendar shall appear only events (looking for a job, offering job, buy/sell, reviews of places and places) shall be put in appropriated...
An Art Exhibition of ‘Memories in Tianjin’ at The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin
Category: Lifestyle
The famous artist Mr. Ekkehard Stoevesand from Germany will hold his solo exhibition at The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin from April 20 to April 24, showing memories in Tianjin for a foreign artist in an artful angle. The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin has been famed as an “Art Museum”, presenting more than 60 copies of world famous paintings on display in public areas. The exhibition for Mr. Ekkehard Stoevesand’s art works with the elegant and exquisite atmosphere in the hotel will...

Copyright © 2017. AsiaLink.com-Goexpats.com-津ICP备18008001号-1 .