western food culture

western food culture

A Comparative study on food culture in Western and China

1. Introduce the food in China and Western

Food, as essential prerequisite for existence, is any substance that provides the nutrients necessary to maintain life and growth when ingested (Pamela & Kathryn, 1998:2). It plays an irreplaceable role in the development of society and in the progress of human beings, whether in ancient times when primitive man ate the raw flesh of birds and beasts or in modern times when humans have entered the new era of information, and whether in East or in West.

Chinese food culture in this research mainly refers to the one in Han nationality. As we all know, China is a nation with 56 ethnic groups, each of which has its unique food, food habits, etc. But the Han nationality and its culture are the mainstream in China due to some historical, political and economic reasons, which, however, are not the main concerns of this research. Besides, the author which is much more familiar to the Han cultural background, than that of any other ethnic group.

Western food culture in this research is mainly concerned with the one in the English-speaking countries, especially in America and Britain due to the fact that their cultural patterns and influence have become dominant in the West, which is generally recognized by the international community. On the other hand, most of the materials and information on food culture collected by the author are all about American or British people’s food, food habits, etc.

There are great disparities between China and Western countries in etiquette and content of food cultures, so the comparative study of Chinese & Western food cultures will help us increase cross-cultural awareness that tolerating, understanding, and furthermore, appreciating and respecting cultural difference is essential if we are to achieve cross-cultural competence during the interaction. Moreover, as we communicate with people from different cultures, we will learn more about them and their way of life, including their history, values and the substance of their personality, and eventually, we will understand them better, or feel empathy with them. Based on the above-mentioned purposes, the author of this thesis hopes this research, to some extent, be of significance both theoretically and practically.

2. Comparison of Food Culture between China and West from Table

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