The Differences Between China and Occident – Mysterious China Blog http://www.mysteriouschina.com Welcome to Mysterious China Blog. The blog's main purpose is to let the world know the ancient, civilized and mysterious China. Mysterious China blog introduces all about China, including Chinese history, Chinese culture, Chinese scenery, China travel tour, Chinese food, China today, Chinese kung fu, Chinese legend and Beijing Olympics. Sun, 16 Aug 2015 22:21:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Occidental Go Dutch VS Chinese Pay the Bill http://www.mysteriouschina.com/occidental-go-dutch-vs-chinese-pay-the-bill/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/occidental-go-dutch-vs-chinese-pay-the-bill/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2008 07:52:06 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=803 occidental-go-dutch-vs-chinese-pay-the-bill

A friend asks me “Why Chinese don’t go Dutch?” So I want to regard this question as the topic and write an article. As everyone knows, Occidental will go Dutch while having a meal in the restaurant. But Chinese don’t go Dutch. Chinese will pay the bill and check out generously. Occidental don’t often entertain guests; but Chinese often invite friend to dinner. A lot of Occidentals feel puzzled to this question.

Why exists such a difference? Because of the East and West culture and custom are different on the surface. I will analyze this question concretely.

First of all, food systems between China and Occident are different. Chinese put into practice Gather Dining System; Occidentals put into practice Individual Dining System. Everybody can share the delicious food of all over the table when eating Chinese food. Please note it is sharing; but Occidentals just eat the food in one’s own plate, if you eat beef, he eats chicken. It is impossible that you taste the flavor of his chicken. The result of the Individual Dining System is that you can only eat the food in your plate. It is unable to share. Ha-ha! What I said is right! So to eat Chinese food is happier than to eat Western-style food. And I want to ask you a question. Do you like the free thing? I think nobody don’t like the free thing. Ok! Suppose I invite you to eat the delicious Chinese food, then I pay the bill. This is equivalent to that you have enjoyed a delicious Chinese food free. So you will be very glad. Have strengthened the relation between us in the happy atmosphere.

Secondly, Occidentals eat for the health; Chinese eat for the friendship. Occidental advocate individualism and independence is strong. So Occidental express that respect for each other’s independence through the way go Dutch. Chinese like making friends and solidarity. Chinese value the interpersonal relationships and friendship very much. There are a lot of folk adages in China, for example “Depend on parents at home, leave home and depend on the friend!”,”Handle affairs is easy if you have many friends!”, another sentence is the more violent: “Insert the knife into both sides of the rib for friend!!!”. Therefore, friend’s position is important in Chinese’s mind. The purpose that Chinese don’t go Dutch is doesn’t want to destroy the friendship between the friends. Dutch treatment is the stingy behavior in China, is unfavorable to the friends’ solidarity and is unfavorable to keeping the harmonious interpersonal relationship.

Third, it is only simple “Have a meal!” that Occidental entertain guests. It is not purpose that Chinese entertain guests, but it is the means. In Americans’ idea, “Have a meal” definition is to add fuel to the body for keeping health and normal life activity. Thus resist the attack of disease. That is to say, there is no any additional value. In the Chinese idea, “Have a meal” not only is for maintaining the health of the body, but also is a kind of life enjoyment, even is the means to promote friendship between the friends. After enjoying the sumptuous delicious food, you are glad, I am glad too, everybody is glad. The friendship between the friends has been strengthened in this kind of atmosphere.

Chinese are a nation liking treat very much. Generally speaking, one party who propose treat will pay the bill in China. But purposes are different. For example you help me to do a thing, I will invite you to dinner in order to express thankfulness to you, certainly, I will pay the bill. Suppose I am a company manager, you are another company manager. I talk about the business with you, and I will say: “Let’s have a meal together!”. Certainly, I will pay the bill. My purpose is that congratulates business’ success, promote the friendship between us, even the friendship and cooperation between two companies.

In fact, Chinese are very complicated. So I say that Chinese don’t go Dutch is not merely a kind of folkway and custom, but it is a means, a method, a repayment way, a way to express emotion, even is probably a kind of stratagem…

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I have summarized some differences between Chinese food and Western-style food. If have incorrect point of view, you can leave your comments and give an advice below.

First of all, the making method of Chinese food is different from Western-style food.

Western-style food is simple; but Chinese food is complicated. In Western-style food cookbook, various ingredients such as the flour, sugar, butter etc. have been indicated several grams, several spoons or several cups, even the size of the egg will all be explained. There are balance, measuring cup and measuring spoon in Occidental kitchen. I think it is like a testing laboratory. So, Making Western-style food is easy, so long as you according to cookbook manual.

But it is not the easy thing that you want to make fine Chinese food. Even if you have bought the cookbook, it is not so easy. Because the Chinese cookbook will not tell you several grams of ingredient, for example salt, Chinese cookbook just tell you appropriate amount of salt, don’t tell you several gram, several spoon or several cup. Why? The taste of people who live in different places is different in China. There is a folk adage in China “south sweet, north salty, east hot and west sour”. I explain it: The Chinese southerner likes eating the sweet food; The Chinese northerner likes eating the salty food; The Chinese eastern people likes eating the hot food; The Chinese western people likes eating the sour food. If the cookbook hard and fast rule several grams of salt, perhaps Shanghai people feel it is too salty, but the northerner feel it is not salty enough. So, a good cook rely on experience and skill when cooks in China. Just because the skill of Chinese food is complicated, the high-level cook’s salary is very high in China.

Secondly, the kitchen of Chinese food is violence than Western-style food kitchen

It seems that the kitchen of Western-style food is more peaceful; what you bought is only the fish lump which can’t distinguish the kind, even crab may have been already boiled, what you can do is to put them into the oven or the pan. But the kitchen of Chinese food seems violence. The chicken, duck and fish is cut in the kitchen. The kitchen is full of glint of kitchen knife. Ha-ha! I feel it is like the battle field.

The tableware of Western-style food is knife and fork, the tableware of Chinese food is only two simple small bamboo sticks — Chopsticks. So, I think the tableware of Western-style food is violence than the tableware of Chinese food.

Third, the atmosphere of Chinese food is different from Western-style food while having a meal

The atmosphere of Western-style food is particular about scenery and ware. The good restaurant is generally built in the beautiful mountaintop, park or the revolving dining-room of the city center high building. So Western-style food is “Eat the scenery” but not “Eat taste”.

The atmosphere of Chinese food is particular about taste and participation. Chinese food conquers the world with taste. There is a folk adage in China “If want to conquer your heart, I will conquer your stomach first”. Everybody sits around table while eating Chinese food, everybody is eating the dish in the same plate, the hospitable host will also nip the dish into your bowl, it is so friendly. The friendship between person and person is deeper after a meal.

Fourth, the way that Chinese and occidental praise food is different

Chinese praise food, will generally say: “Your dish is cooked very excellently, has caught up with the level of the restaurant”; but occidental praise food, will say just like what the home make.

In fact Chinese food and Western-style food have a lot of similar things, especially Italian food and Chinese food. Because Marco Polo took Chinese pie and noodles to Italy, the Pasta and Pizza appeared in Italy.

Even if there are some differences between Chinese food and Western-style food, but I think Chinese food and Western-style food can get along harmoniously. For example Chinese food of U.S.A. is suitable for Americans’ taste, because through Americans’ improvement; similarly, the Western-style food of China is more suitable for Chinese’ taste, because through the Chinese’ improvement. Certainly, if you want to eat the traditional Western-style food, you should go to U.S.A.; if you want to eat traditional Chinese food, welcome to China.

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The chopsticks and cutlery reflect the China and Occident difference. Chinese use the chopsticks while having meal, and westerners use the cutlery. Origins of the two are different, each has advantage.

Chinese used bamboo branch turn and stir food in remote ancient period. Later, people learnt to pick up food with two stick gradually. That’s the embryonic form of chopsticks.

The origin of the cutlery relates with the habits and customs of the ancient nomadic people in Europe. They used to take knife everywhere in life, often bake the meat, cut and eat. After the life settle down, the cutlery enters the family kitchen. Therefore is easy to find out the identity of chopsticks and cutlery are different.

Cutlery and chopsticks, not only caused the differences of food habits, but also influenced the life idea of the east and west people. The cutlery must result in Individual Dining System. Therefore western people pay attention to independence; but the chopsticks result in Gather Dining System, the whole family sits together and have meal, stress family unit, so Chinese have firm family values.

The act of the Chinese chopsticks is that press from both sides, emphasize control and equilibrium; the acts of knife and fork are cut and insert, emphasize efficiency. So Chinese pay attention to being steady, occidentals pay attention to efficiency.

Chopsticks and cutlery are symbols of the cultural tradition.

Even if Chinese go to U.S.A. life, but still use the chopsticks; even if Americans have learnt to use the chopsticks in China, get back to own country to still use the cutlery. Culture is deep-rooted. Chopsticks and cutlery, which is advanced on earth, various statements are different, in fact each has intelligence.

]]> http://www.mysteriouschina.com/chinese-chopsticks-vs-occident-cutlery/feed/ 4 The Food Habits Differences between China and America http://www.mysteriouschina.com/the-food-habits-differences-between-china-and-america/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/the-food-habits-differences-between-china-and-america/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2008 09:34:17 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=662 Because of the factors influence such as the region, environment, custom etc., there are many food habits differences between China and America. I summarize several aspects as follows:

1. Americans like eating several meals one day; but Chinese are used to eating three meals a day.

2. Chinese are used to buying the fresh food every day; Americans often buy food for one week once and store them in the refrigerator, eat the frozen foods every day. As everyone knows, the tin and salting foods include more preservatives and pigment, it is harmful to health.

3. Chinese families will prepare a lot of dishes when celebrating a festival and it is a lot to entertain guests; but Americans never extravagant when entertain guests or celebrate a festival.

4. Chinese like vegetable oil such as the soya bean oil while cooking; Americans like animal oil such as the butter.

5. Chinese often put in more salt while cooking; but the salt that Americans put in is only Chinese half. It may cause all sorts of diseases to take in too much salt.

6. Chinese like adding the monosodium glutamate while cooking; but Americans do not use the monosodium glutamate. The monosodium glutamate includes sodium. It is harmful to health to take in too much monosodium glutamate.

7. Chinese eat fresh vegetables and fruits more than Americans; the protein which Americans take in every day more than Chinese, but the stomach function is influenced because of lacking cellulose in the body.

8. Chinese eat the viscera of animals such as the pork liver, intestine, lung, etc.; Americans do not have this hobby. Animal’s viscera contain a large amount of cholesterol and it’s harmful to health.

9. Chinese like to eat the ordinary rice and flour; Americans like eating the bread or cake that made of white flour.

10. Americans are used to eating sweet food after the meal; but Chinese are used to the eating fruit after the meal. But the nutritionist thinks that it is more beneficial eat fruit before the meal.

11. Chinese often drink a cup of hot tea after the meal; but Americans like drinking coffee after the meal. Tea can reduce cholesterol, but coffee will improve the fat of blood and stimulate the heart.

12. Chinese generally like soybean food such as the soybean milk and bean curd. It has not merely kept the nutrition of soybeans, and human body absorbs the nutrient easily. Americans have no interest to the bean curd.

13. Chinese get used to whole serving. Americans get used to the individual serving.

14. Chinese like eating the cooked food; Americans like eating the raw food. The raw food is more nutritious than the cooked food.

It causes the food habits differences between China and America that the factors such as culture, custom, history, nutrition values… It’s beneficial to our health if we can find some questions from it and learn other’s strong points objectively.

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Etiquette Difference between China and Occident http://www.mysteriouschina.com/etiquette-difference-between-china-and-occident/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/etiquette-difference-between-china-and-occident/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2008 09:20:22 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=608 Because of the difference of culture, there are some differences between Chinese etiquette and occidental etiquette. There are seven aspects.

1. Treat praise

The attitudes which Chinese and occidental treat praise are different. Though the happy very much, Chinese always give courteous denying to others’ praise, in order to show modesty: “Still not all right!”, “So-so!”, “Can’t compare with you!”, “I’m flattered!”… Occidental attitude towards praise may be “very joy” and say “Thank you!”

2. Entertain guests

Chinese are always used to think about from others angle when Chinese get along with people. This shows on receiving guests or as a guest. Guests always try not to trouble the host; therefore guests always decline the host’s hospitality courteously. For example, the host asks what guests want to drink, guests will generally say “I am not thirsty” Or “Don’t bother”; the host pours the wine for guests, guests always decline, say “It is enough, it is enough!” But in fact, guests may want to drink, just stand on ceremony. So, the competent host will not ask directly what guests want, but try to figure out guests’ demand, and offer content actively. Hospitable host always urge the guests to eat dishes and drink wine ceaselessly at dining table. So, the atmosphere of Chinese receiving guests is often very warm: host urges ceaselessly, guests decline ceaselessly.

No matter the host or guest, everybody is very frank when Occidental receives guests. The host will ask the other side directly “What would you like to drink?”; If guests want to drink, will reply “what beverages do you have?” and choose a kind of beverage liked oneself; if guests do not really want to drink, guests will say “Thanks! I do not want to drink.” The host will ask guests whether or not need some more on the dining table, if guests say enough, the host will not try to urge the guests to eat dishes and drink wine.

3. Modesty and self-approval

Chinese deem that the modesty is a kind of virtue. No matter to own ability or achievement, Chinese always like self-effacement. If not so, others may criticize “non-modest” or “arrogant and conceited”. For example, before the Chinese scholar lectures, will usually say: “my knowledge is not deep and the preparation is insufficient too, please everybody give advice or comments” (In fact he is very erudite and the preparation is very adequate); The hospitable host faces the dishes on all over dining-table but says: “have no good dishes, please help yourself” on the banquet; Chinese will usually say modestly:”I am probably difficult to be competent.” when the leadership give an important task.

Occidental does not have modest habit. Occidental think one person want to get others’ recognition, must self-approval at first. So, Occidental always appraises own ability and achievement objectively.

4. Advice and suggestion

No matter Chinese or Occidental, all like proposing some friendly suggestions and advices to relatives and friends, in order to show caring about and cherish. But the way of advice and suggestion are different.

Chinese often propose suggestion and advice to the friend directly and often use some words with order tone. For example, “it is very cold, you should wear more clothes and prevent catch a cold! “, “very slippery on the road, walk carefully!”, “you should pay more attention to your health!”, “you should shave!”, “you should go to work!”…

The words is very mild and euphemistic when occidental propose and advise to relatives and friends, for example, “it is very cold today, if I were you, I will add a sweater”, “you had better shave the beard.” Even if is the most intimate person, will not use order tone. Otherwise, will be thought not to respect one’s own independent personality.

5. Personal right of privacy

Occidental pays attention to the personal right of privacy very much. Everybody will seldom involve the other side’s “private problem” in ordinary talking. Chinese do not pay attention to the individual privacy. Especially between relatives and friends, everybody likes sharing the private life of the other side together. In addition, the elder can inquire the private life of the younger at will, in order to reveal care about the younger.

6. Time concept

Occidental time concept are very strong, schedule is very compact. A lot of Chinese concept of time isn’t too strong. It is quite general that unexpected visit and invite temporarily.

7. Send gifts

Occidental does not pay attention to sending gifts, seldom regard the value of the gift as important. But great majority Chinese relatively regards the value of the gift as important. The value of the gift represents the emotion of the person who sends gifts.

In addition, there are obvious differences between China and Occident in way of sending gifts too. Occidental generally opens the gift in front of guest and expresses the appreciation to the gift. If does not open the gift face to face, the guest will think the host don’t like the gift. But Chinese don’t open the gift in front of guest. The purpose is for showing that regard mutual friendly feelings as important, but not material benefit.

]]> http://www.mysteriouschina.com/etiquette-difference-between-china-and-occident/feed/ 5 The Culture Difference between China and Occident http://www.mysteriouschina.com/the-culture-difference-between-china-and-occident/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/the-culture-difference-between-china-and-occident/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2008 07:33:14 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=566 I talked about the difference between China and Occident in previous article. I want to mainly talk about the culture difference between China and Occident today. There are great differences between Chinese culture and Occident culture. I summarize three aspects:

1. Differences of Value Concept and Moral Criteria.

Occidental culture worships individual struggling and personal honor; on the contrary, Chinese culture doesn’t advocate that show off the personal honor, but advocate modesty. Chinese think self-denial is the modest behavior. “Your English is very good,” “No, no, my English is very poor”; “You’ve done a very good job,” “No, I don’t think so. It’s the result of joint efforts.” Occidental think this modesty of China style not only deny self, but also deny the appreciate ability of laudator.

There are strong self-center consciousness and independent consciousness in Occidental culture; Chinese culture advocate dedicate unselfishly. It is a kind of virtue that cares about others voluntarily in China. So Chinese are warmhearted.

Occidental culture advocates pioneering spirit. Do the remarkable enterprise that forefathers have not done; Traditional Chinese culture advocates golden mean. Chinese are not good at taking risks, willing to maintain the current situation, keep harmonious.

Occidental culture attaches great importance to individual freedom, unwilling to be restricted; Chinese culture emphasizes collectivism and harmonious cooperation, advocate shares together happy and sad.

2. Differences of Social Relation.

There are strong equality concepts in Occidental culture. No matter is rich or poor, everybody is equality; Chinese culture has traditional class Concept. Father has absolute authority as opposed to son, the teacher has absolute authority as opposed to students. The family background still plays an important role in people’s growth.

The structure of American family is simple: Parents and teenage child make up nucleus family together. Once children get married, must move out, the independence is necessary. Thus train independent life’s ability, but drifted apart the relation between the relatives at the same time; The family structure of Chinese style is more complicated. The traditional happy family is Four-Generations-under-the-Same-Roof e-Roof. In such a family, the old man looks after children, descendants support the old man after growing up, interdepend between kinsfolk, help each other, make the kindred relation close. However, this kind of life style is unfavorable to the independent ability to train the young man.

3. Differences of Social Etiquettes.

Chinese like asking the other side name, age, work site or income, etc. when meet. Occidental think that infringes others’ personal secrets. Chinese always like greeting: “Have you had your meal?” “Where are you going?” when meet friends on the way. This is courteous greeting in China. But the occidental will think you want to invite him to dinner or meddle in his private affair. Occidental are used to greet: “Hi!” “Nice day, isn’t it?”

Occidental will open at once in front of guest and praise in succession while receiving the gift. Chinese often put aside while receiving the gift and without look. Chinese think it is impolite behavior that open gift in front of guest.

Chinese is solicitous and hospitable, will pour wine into cup of guest constantly and advise guests to eat more dishes. Thus make occidental feel difficult to deal with. This is Chinese habit. The habit of occidental is: Help yourself, Please!

Therefore, it is extremely important that know culture difference between China and Occident. Thus can clear up the misunderstanding, will help to communicate. Fully understand the other side and respect the custom of the other side in communication, reach the best communication result.

]]> http://www.mysteriouschina.com/the-culture-difference-between-china-and-occident/feed/ 2 The Difference Between China and Occident http://www.mysteriouschina.com/the-difference-between-china-and-occident/ http://www.mysteriouschina.com/the-difference-between-china-and-occident/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2008 09:32:32 +0000 http://www.mysteriouschina.com/?p=499 Everybody has to admit that there are some differences between China and Occident in some aspects such as values, moral standard, social relationships, social etiquette and custom… These differences cause misunderstanding each other. I will analyze the differences between China and Occident from today for dispel these misunderstanding and enable everybody better understanding China. I will write out some articles successively in the Mysterious China Blog. Hope that is able to help everybody better understands China and Chinese culture.

Occident culture advocates personal honor, self-centre, innovation spirit and individuality freedom; but Chinese culture advocates humility, dedication unselfishly, moderation and cooperating. Occidental equality consciousness is stronger, structure of the family is simple, parents and children make up the nuclear family; but Chinese grade conception is relatively strong, family’s structure is relatively complicated, traditional families mostly are that four generations live together.

This kind of phenomenon that because of culture obstacle lead to misunderstand even injure the other side often takes place in the communicating of Chinese and Occidental. Well-meaning talk can make the other side to be very embarrassed sometimes; it is absurd or vulgar that polite bearing will be misunderstood. So, I think it is very essential and important that research the difference between China and Occident.

It is the educated and courteous behavior to care about others’ health in China. But you can’t be according to the Chinese traditional way to care about the health of Occidental. Such as one Chinese student will says “You should go to see a doctor!” when her American teacher fall ill. But this sentence makes this teacher very unhappy. Because Americans think: If give somebody advice on a minor matter, that is obviously suspicion to his ability, thereby injure his self-esteem.

Chinese’s hospitality on the dining table is often misunderstood for the discourteousness behavior by Occidental. Because Occidental thinks: guests eat how much is decided by oneself, Do not need hosts to add the wine or dish for him; and the excessive diet is the thing of discourteousness.

Chinese will often say “Ah, brother, you are fat recently!” when meet friend on the way or say with the concerned tone: “Brother, you are thin, you should care the health of your own!” But if you say “you are fat” or “you are so thin” to Occidental, he will feel embarrassed and difficult to answer even relatively familiar.

It is easy to find out from the above-mentioned examples: There are differences between China and Occident and the cultural obstacle will really influence social intercourse. It is very essential to study the difference of different culture. I will analyze various differences between China and Occident in the article from today. Please continue paying attention to the Mysterious China Blog.

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