Eating, Asian-style

Asians love food. Well, most people love food, but Asians seem to be obsessed by it. I don’t have the statistics, but I’m sure that if you did a survey of food bloggers, there would be a high representation of those from an Asian background. Of the three contributors to this humble site, Christine and I both write enthusiastically about food on our other blogs, while Cheryl-Lee is notably silent.

Food culture is a huge thing in Asia. Here are a few points about eating, Asian-style.

Communal eating

A communal style of eating is common in Asia, where everyone eats together and shares dishes. This is the case with lunchtime Chinese dim sum, where bamboo baskets of steamed delicacies are better shared with more people. Dinner is often a variety of dishes shared amongst friends or family.

Dim-Sum-Baskets

Chinese banquet

This contrasts with the meat-and-three-veg style of eating in many Western societies, where your plate is solely yours. However, if you’re an indecisive diner like I am, choosing just one meal for your dinner seems like a much inferior alternative to trying a little bit of everything.

Nothing is wasted

Asians did nose to tail eating before nose to tail eating was a thing. If you know Asians, you already know that they hate wasting anything. As a result, almost every part of an animal will be eaten, including tripe, chickens’ feet, pigs’ blood jelly, and fish heads.

chicken feet

In addition, it’s not just your standard beef, chicken or pork that is eaten. Asians believe that any animal “with its back to the sun” can be dinner, so be prepared to open your mind and palate to scorpion, turtle, or dog.

It’s all about the flavour

When it comes to eating decisions, flavour and taste drive a lot of the choices. This is particularly true when it comes to meat. It’s fat and flavour above all else. Asians will always choose chicken thigh over chicken breast. Wagyu, duck, pork belly, and chicken wings, all fat and flavour rich meats, feature heavily in Asian preferences. It’s a wonder that Asians stay so thin.

pork belly

And did someone say crackling?

* Images courtesy of Cultural ChinaInside IWM, Jules Food, Rasa Malaysia

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