Yangzhou is famous for breakfast banquets or large group meals. The banquet is an important part of Chinese culture and is the place where relationships and all sorts of business are cemented and discussed. Our large group of students from China and the US enjoyed a wonderful traditional breakfast banquet this morning, and caught a glimpse of the Chinese banquet tradition. Sitting in the historic restaurant near the lake, we could imagine the discussions and relationships formed in the same room for hundreds of years over steamed buns and shredded tofu.
Reflection by Henry C
True Chinese food is nothing like American Chinese food. First off, the cuisine is mostly made up of noodles and dumplings, not rice, as I had previously expected. In fact, rice is considered an undesirable food because of its cheapness. A large part of eating, isn’t actually eating, but are the traditions associated with it. For example, their is a hierarchy at every table, with the host being at the top, followed by oldest to youngest. While seated, the food never stops coming and it is the job of the host to monitor what everybody is eating and enjoying, slowly spinning the lazy susan to place each person’s favorite food in front of them for more helpings. I also learned that signs of enjoying the food are welcome and sign of respect for the host, for example, when eating noodles or soup dumplings, slurping is completely acceptable. One can learn a lot about a culture just by sitting around the dinner table, that was certainly the case for me.