Like night and day, the East and the West are distinguishable places of society, environment, perspective, and culture. The East and West are diverse parts of the same world, with a myriad of dissimilitude defined by customs and behaviors. They differ in history, worldviews, and ways of living everyday life.
One fascinating distinction is entwined deeply with food. It’s more than a source of sustenance but also a personal journey of daily habit closely linked to cultural ties, family traditions, and local resource availability. Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between Western and Eastern eating habits.
A Distinction of Utensil Usage
A forking of separate paths between the East and the West begins with eating utensils themselves. Long-held traditions are the root of influence in how we as humans eat, drink, and dine on a daily basis. In Western cultures, the commonplace norm is to eat with a fork, knife, and spoon. This is how a traditional table is usually set. Perhaps you’ve dabbled with a spork as well.
While Eastern cultures do use forks and spoons, people with Asian backgrounds traditionally eat with chopsticks or just their hands. By default, mouthfuls are smaller so each bite is more mindful. These customs are traditionally in line with one’s culture or faith. For example, in India, it can be a sign of respect to physically touch the food that one is eating as a spiritual connection. Eating etiquette is greatly influenced by the assorted use of utensils.
Dishes: Concept of Sharing Versus Individuality
One of the maindifferences between Western and Eastern eating habitslies in how the food is dished out and served on the table. In many Eastern cultures, main dishes are designed to be shared with other people as a symbol of unity. Communal eating is a virtuous and respectful experience of collectivism. A multitude of dishes is put onto the middle of the table for each member of the meal to share with their dining companions.
Within Western culture, individual dishes are the norm. They’re put right in front of an individual’s table setting to directly consume for themselves. Bigger meals or holiday affairs may call for passing dishes around, but individual portions of a dish are the standard of circadian dining.
Cooking Methods and Meal Variety
An established variety of Western dishes are fried, baked, roasted, or broiled. Raw veggies are popular for salads, without any kind of prep or cooking. Cold drinks and foods such as yogurt and cheese are also notable variances in dietary cuisine.
Comparatively, Eastern dishes are predominantly steamed, stewed, sautéed, boiled, or stir-fried. Raw veggies are rarely consumed but rather fried or stewed with species or oils, as warm/hot dishes are the commonality instead of cold foods and drinks.
Despite these differences in what a meal consists of, there are shared loves of the same foods. Meat is a valued and popular protein around the world, and you can cook such delectable meat as Wagyu beef in an assortment of ways. Food may culturally be part of one’s identity, but it also brings all types of people together.