Former Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
Richard W. Clark
Former Visiting Associate Professor, Human & Community Development
Former Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development
Former Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development and 4-H Youth Development - Metro
Former Outreach Initiative Specialist
Former Director of Web Development
Former Extension Educator, Youth Development
JoAn C. Todd
Former Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness
Former Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development - Metro
23 Total Posts
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008
There are many ways to explore a foreign culture but one of them certainly is to learn about their food. Thanks to our fabulous hosts we have been treated to all sorts of Chinese food from simple street food to the greatest and most expensive delicacies. Some in the group showed more adventurous spirit when it came to unusual types of food than others but I believe it was an experience for all of us. Thankfully our Chinese colleagues were understanding when not everybody heartily digged in to Jumping Fish (Greg's favorites), Sea Cucumber, fried eel or duck tongue. I for one can say I found some new favorite dishes but I am worried I won't be able to find them around here. These sweet dumplings with cinamon filling were a feast to my taste buds!
Another important cultural experience around food is the style of eating it. First of all all the dishes are shared by pushing the turning table around. That gives a great sense of community. The order in which the dishes arrive is different from what we know. There are several sweet dishes served throughout the meal, rice is meant as a filler and usually arrives towards the end of a meal and the last dish typically is fruit. Table manners are different, too. Slurping and spitting out bones is perfectly okay but blowing your nose at the table is a big no-no! In the end, all of us managed the use of chopsticks quite tolerably and some even mastered eating steaks with them.
Food preparation is also interesting to watch. In fact, you can watch it in most cases! In many restaurants the chefs stand behind an open counter and the customer can pick out the ingredients and the dishes laid out in front of them and then you can see how your food is prepared. Some people don't like that too much but I enjoyed the freshness of everything!