井底之蛙

8/25/2005

Eat and run

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 1:19 pm

Chinese food culture

There is a current series on Amsterdam on Slate where Seth Stevenson suggests that the Dutch are almost never seen walking and eating. Americans, of course do it all the time, and of course we also drive and eat. This got me to thinking about Chinese food culture and wondering if I had been behaving badly. In China and especially in Taiwan there is of course a lot of street food, and I of course have eaten a lot of it. One of the things I don’t remember seeing very often is someone eating and walking. People buying 生煎包子 and taking them home in plastic bags I remember. I can recall at least a few people getting 包子 for breakfast and parking themselves on the street right near the place and eating, but that was rare. (I did it all the time, so I am pretty sure on this one.) Lots of places seemed to have little tables for quick eating, whereas for Americans they might not be needed. Eating breakfast at your desk at work seemed more common, or at least more obvious.

None of this is all that surprising, of course. Watson’s Golden Arches East had some stuff on how the all-powerful arches had failed to change the cultures of eating food in East Asia. I am not surprised to see that American food culture is not universal. What I would like to know is.

1. Is my impression that Chinese don’t eat on the move correct? I was not really paying attention. I’m not really talking about things like lunchboxes, but the American style of eating a hotdog while walking down the street. (Is ice cream an exception? I eat a lot of ice cream while walking, but don’t remember others doing it.)
2. If it is less common, where does it happen? Is this culture changing, and if so how?

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