Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sharing is caring

My folks learned the art of food sharing during their first trip to China... (as u can see my dad was a huge fan!)

One of the things I miss the most when I am outside of China is... cheap taxis. And food sharing!

The latter, which I wasn't such a huge fan of when I first moved to China, has come to grow on me and nowdays when I visit Sweden I can barely go to a restaurant without selecting at least 3 things from the menu that I want. And no, I am not talking 'starter, main, dessert,' it's more like 'starter, main, main (+ maybe a side order... if one of my mains comes with potatoes -a popular choice in Scandinavia- I might want a side dish of rice... or pasta).'

I am so used to always sharing food with people that I even sometimes forget that my friends in Scandinavia are not living after the same norms as I am (their strange looks when I accidentally nibbled from someone's plate last year put me back in place. This year I have to remember to BEHAVE!) and they are rarely interested in my idea of ordering a bunch of dishes and sharing them.
-The waiters would think we were really weird! They say.
-So what? The food here is already overpriced -and it doesn't say anywhere that you CANNOT share your meal?!'
-Well, sorry jonna, it's just something that we don't do here.

OK, OK, I get it. It is not something I used to do either until I moved to China and discovered how great the whole sharing idea is. First of all there are often a lot of good stuff to choose from at Chinese restaurants, and the dishes tastes so much better when u mix the tastes up a bit... Some mapu tofu and then a bite of egg-tomato stir-fry( 西红四鸡蛋)and then u have a bite of eggplant, some spicy beef, some rice... yum. I love the fact that u can have so many different things at once!

Secondly, the food here is great and cheap. Why settle for one thing when u can have many? I actually gave up being a vegetarian (something I had been for 7 years!) when I moved to Shanghai. Sure, it was a bit odd at first but I got sick of ordering vegetarian dishes that were swimming in meat sauce, or, tofu that came with slices of meat (when I asked the waiter about it and pointed out that I didn't eat meat and that I had therefore ordered something that didn't have meat -tofu- her reply was: -but there is no meat in this tofu? The slices are only there to give taste! It's a spice!)

As my holiday in Sweden is approaching I am reluctantly thinking about eating in Sweden. Sure, there is a lot good Swedish comfort food that I have missed (home made meatballs -here I come!) but it's a shame that the whole sharing thing doesn't work over there. Not even at Chinese restaurants in Sweden (or anywhere else in Europe/America I believe?) can u share -the dishes there are made to be ordered one by one and it would be way too expensive to order a bunch. Maybe I'll try to do what my Chinese friends have told me they do when they are travelling in Europe: they go to a Chinese restaurant and tell the waiter (if s/he is Chinese) to tell the chef to cook for Chinese people. In that way they get a bigger variety, and, more stuff to share. And they don't have to eat the infamous 'sweet and sour chicken' that to many Europeans is 'authentic Chinese food.'


Anonymous said...

Haha..that reminds me of Jacky Chan's Rush Hour. Chris Tucker said 'I'll kick your sweet and sour chicken ass'.

Anonymous said...

Luckily in America we HAVE caught on to the idea of food sharing. At many Chinese restaurants here the wait staff will look at you weird if you decline them dishing out each entree onto each person's plate. Other cuisines have caught on as well. Yeah for being a melting pot!

Dylstra said...

I have shared dishes with people in Perth. Generally at Chinese restaurants, and with people who are more than passing acquaintances, but have also switched plates half way through at non-Chinese restaurants.