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Old August 30th, 2017, 02:29 AM   #1
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History of repeated dipping into shared food in certain Asian cultures?


In China, to this day, when dining together, each convive repeatedly dips his or her own spoon and chopsticks into the shared platter, pot, etc., no matter how soupy or saucy the shared food is. Reportedly, the Japanese did (do?) the same.

Some say such manner wasn't popular in classical China (like the Spring and Autumn), especially among the nobility - is it true?

Was/is such manner popular in other East Asian countries neighboring China?
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Old September 21st, 2017, 09:39 PM   #2
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Currently, a public spoon and/or a pair of chopsticks is available during feasts among a table of guests who would use the public chopsticks to take in food from the table into their own bowls.Each guest would then use their own set of spoons/chopsticks to consume his food in his bowls in front of him. This is a common Chinese practice in a more proper official kind of feasts like wedding and birthday functions in a public restaurant.

Whereas in private friendly or family functions the public spoons/chopsticks may be exempted from the table of shared food dishes/pots.

No. The Japanese and the Koreans would not shared food in this current Chinese manner. Their dishes are served separately in portions except the Korean BBQ beef/pork /meats I think.

Actually the ancient Chinese before the North/South Dynasties consumed their food in their own portions like the Japanese and the Koreans.That was the ancient Chinese practice. The nomadic culture from the steppes prefered shared food/meat together from a central table like Maek Roast 貊炙 where a whole piece of roast lamb (or other meats) is served. This custom was acculturated by the Chinese since the North/South Dynasties.

I am not sure about other East Asian countries has the similar custom or not.

Last edited by DannyT2; September 21st, 2017 at 09:42 PM.
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Old September 21st, 2017, 09:52 PM   #3
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That repeatedly dips one's own spoon or chopsticks into the shared food dishes or even use one's own chopsticks to deliver favored food to another guest may look odd to westerners or people from other countries. However to the Chinese this behavior only implies an etiquette of intimacy and caring.
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Old September 21st, 2017, 11:04 PM   #4

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In India, we do it among friends or family. Though Hindus will not drink water from the same glass, Muslims do. We do not use spoons and eat with fingers. People offering morsels to others or to children is nothing strange with us. In my community, we used to have large platters known at 'Satrat' (for seven), where many people could eat together. This was brought out at happy occasions like marriage or sacred thread ceremony. And if there were germs, our immunity would take care of it. I think the people in the image below did not have the traditional 'satrat' at their place. It used to have a diameter of about one yard.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Sometimes, it is just a banana leaf.
Click the image to open in full size.
Of course, orthodox brahmins will eat in their own way.
Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by Aupmanyav; September 22nd, 2017 at 12:44 AM.
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Old September 21st, 2017, 11:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenestella View Post
Was/is such manner popular in other East Asian countries neighboring China?
Nope. It's dirty and disgusting. Dont compare us to the northern barbarians. Everyone got their own bowl of soup and rice. If you are out of soup, use the big spoon from the soup pot and pour the soup into your bowl. Then you can do whatever you want with your own bowl and personal spoon.
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Old September 21st, 2017, 11:43 PM   #6

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I haven't even seen people in china scoop food from a shared dish with a spoon that was in their mouth. However, they will pick up food with chopsticks like this, but if there is a larger gstherig of peiple than there is usually a pair of serving chopsticks with a particular dish
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Old September 22nd, 2017, 12:02 AM   #7

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Using your chopsticks in the communal pot is a no no in japan.
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Old October 27th, 2017, 03:55 AM   #8
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Dipping chopsticks into this communal hot pot is a yes yes move into the fun.



https://www.google.com.hk/search?q=%...vNFU13oC_VkvM:

This is 涮羊肉火鍋 Mutton Boiling Pot. Most Chinese would not use a publicly shared chopsticks to take in the mutton slices from the pot unless a guests is sick with influenza etc. It is not unsanitary as it looks the boiling soup has a pasteurizing effect on gems in the pot.

This hot pot for mutton is thought as an invention from the Mongols who had stayed in Beijing during the Yuan Dynasty and they started to use chopsticks. I don't think this type of hot pot is to be found in North Mongolia at present.
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Old October 27th, 2017, 05:38 AM   #9
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Yes it is true, this mannerism didn't exist in ancient China. The ancient Chinese used to serve their food in separate portions just like the japanese. Such practice continued to be the mainstream at least until the Tang Dynasty. However, from the Song Dynasty onward, due to the ever stronger influence from the northern nomadic or semi-nomadic peoples, the Chinese started to serve their food in a shared platter or pot.

In modern China it really depends. I think in more formal occasions people would prefer to be served in separate portions and with a public spoon to take the shared food, but in more private or informal occasions such as the gatherings of family members or friends, such practice may be exempted in favor of a more intimate way of eating like what the OP described. Although there are exceptions; my family follows the formal way of eating even on informal occasions. And I'm also under the impression that the repeated dipping into shared food seems to be a practice more common in the northern parts of China where historically the nomadic influence is the strongest, though I could be wrong.
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Old October 27th, 2017, 05:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyT2 View Post
Dipping chopsticks into this communal hot pot is a yes yes move into the fun.



https://www.google.com.hk/search?q=%...vNFU13oC_VkvM:

This is 涮羊肉火鍋 Mutton Boiling Pot. Most Chinese would not use a publicly shared chopsticks to take in the mutton slices from the pot unless a guests is sick with influenza etc. It is not unsanitary as it looks the boiling soup has a pasteurizing effect on gems in the pot.

This hot pot for mutton is thought as an invention from the Mongols who had stayed in Beijing during the Yuan Dynasty and they started to use chopsticks. I don't think this type of hot pot is to be found in North Mongolia at present.
This is certainly not the only way to eat hot pot in China. I believe more and more hot pot restaurants in China would have their guests served in individual small pots rather than a shared big pot for every diner at a table, most likely due to sanitary concerns. I dislike the Beijing way of eating hot pot, to be honest.
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