Contained in:
Book Chapter

The “dining table revolution” in China: the question read through the lens of newspapers

  • Elena Morandi

Food is not only the source of nutrition for humans but also plays various roles in our daily lives, beliefs, and relationship. In China, one of the fundamental cultural elements is the sharing of food. Typically, the courses are served in the center of the table from which guests serve themselves on their plates or serve guests using their chopsticks. With the COVID-19 outbreak, people were advised to separate dining or at least use gongshao 公勺'serving spoon' or gongkuai公筷'serving chopsticks' instead of picking food directly from serving plates with their own chopsticks. The “table revolution” is a crucial issue: if it succeeds, it will change China's face. Public advertisements, as giant billboards on Shanghai's streets talking of serving chopsticks as a way to set the heart at ease, showed slogans like: "The distance between you and civilized dining is just one pair of serving chopsticks". Nevertheless, serving chopsticks have not quite caught on yet in China as they have done in Taiwan and Japan. According to the survey from Ma Lihua et al. (2020) resistance is strong. In a declaration from China Hotel Association, we find out: "Some restaurants in China have provided individual meals and public chopsticks and spoons for decades, but not everyone chooses to use them due to traditional eating habits". According to the Global Times, "if they eat with close friends and relatives, they would feel too embarrassed to use serving chopsticks as it seems like they dislike sharing with others, which often makes people uncomfortable" (Li Lei, Zhang Hu, Global Times 2020). The New York Times adds: "Many see sharing food with one's own chopsticks as among the most authentic expressions of China's communal culture and emphasis on family, no less integral than hugging is to Americans or the cheek kiss is to the French". The “dining table revolution”, through the lens of newspapers, is going to be an uphill battle.

  • Keywords:
  • Chopsticks,
  • Table Revolution,
  • Covid-19,
  • Food culture,
+ Show More

Elena Morandi

University of Bologna, Italy - ORCID: 0000-0002-8222-1514

  1. Barthes, Roland. 1970. L’empire des signes. Paris: Flammarion.
  2. Boreham, Andy. 2020. “Chopstick revolution: How COVID-19 might change China’s eating habits.” Shine, May 31, 2020. <https://www.shine.cn/opinion/2005319260/>
  3. Capelli, Noemi Rebecca. 2020. “Rivoluzione a tavola: il Coronavirus cambia le abitudini alimentari cinesi.” Ultima Voce, April 28, 2020. <https://www.ultimavoce.it/ rivoluzione-a-tavola-coronavirus-cambia-abitudini-alimentari-cinesi/>
  4. Chang, Kwang-chih. 2003. Food in Chinese culture: the perspective of anthropology and history. Hangzhou: Zhejiang People’s Publishing House.
  5. Chen, Desheng, and Tang, Zheng. 2013. “Chopsticks as a Cultural Symbol in China.” IOSR Journal of Research & Method in Education 1 (4): 1–2.
  6. Chen, Liu. 2020. Food Practices and Family Lives in Urban China, London: Routledge.
  7. China Global Television Network. 2020. “Could COVID-19 bring about a dining table revolution in China?”. CGTN, May 17, 2020. <https://news.cgtn.com/ news/2020-05-17/Could-COVID-19-bring-about-a-dining-table-revolution-in- China--QzvlzERG8M/index.html>
  8. Cyranoski, David. 2020. “The Biggest Mystery: What It Will Take to Trace the Coronavirus Source.” Nature, June 5, 2020. <https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01541-z>
  9. Feng, Doreen Yen Hung. 2006. The joy of Chinese cooking. [S.l.]: Vintage Cookery Books.
  10. Fifield, Anna. 2020. “Fire burns, cauldron bubbles — but public chopsticks trouble China’s hot pot purists.” The Washington Post, August 28, 2020. <https://www. washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-coronavirus-hot-pot-chopsticks- sichuan-food/2020/08/27/68e06ec8-e2a1-11ea-82d8-5e55d47e90ca_story.html>
  11. Freeman, Michael. 1978. “Sung.” In Food in Chinese Culture, edited by Kwang-chih Chang, 143–5. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  12. Ghai, Rajat. 2020. “Chinese food is so entrenched in our lives; COVID-19 can’t change that.” Downtoearth, April 17, 2020. <https://www.downtoearth.org.in/interviews/ food/-chinese-food-is-so-entrenched-in-our-lives-covid-19-can-t-change- that--70528>
  13. Goffman, Erving. 1974. Frame analyses: an essay on the organization of experience. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  14. Isshiki, Hachiro 一色八郎. 1990. Hashi no Bunkashi: Sekai no Hashi Nihon no Hashi 箸の文化史 : 世界の箸・日本の箸 [A cultural history of chopsticks: world chopsticks and Japanese chopsticks]. Tokyo: Ochanomizu Shobo, 1990.
  15. Ji, Yuqiao, and Li, Yuche. 2020. “How the Covid-19 epidemic changed the way Chinese people live.” Global Times, December 17, 2020. <https://www.globaltimes.cn/ page/202012/1210253.shtml>
  16. Jia, Peng, et al. 2021. “Changes in dietary patterns among youths in China during COVID-19 epidemic: The COVID-19 impact on lifestyle change survey (COINLICS).” Appetite 158: 105015. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2020.105015
  17. Kimiko, Barber. 2009. The Chopsticks Diet: Japanese-Inspired Recipes for Easy Weight-Loss. Lanham: Kyle Books.
  18. Kuo, Lily. 2020. “For the chop: ‘dining table revolution’ takes aim at food sharing in China.” The Guardian, May 1, 2020. <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/01/chinas-dining-table-revolution-takes-aim-at-shared-chopsticks>
  19. Lan, Xiang. 2005. Chinese Chopsticks. New Pheonix International.
  20. Li, Dekuan, and Guang, Tian. 2014. Anthropology of food culture. Yinchuan: Ningxia Peoples’Publishing House.
  21. Li, Lei, and Zhang, Hui. 2020. “COVID-19 changes Chinese’ hygiene, dining etiquette – maybe permanently.” Global Times, May 20, 2020. <https://www.globaltimes.cn/ content/1188896.shtml>
  22. Liu, Yun 刘云 et al. edited by. 2006. Zhongguozhu wenhua shi 中国箸文化史[A history of chopsticks culture in China]. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju.
  23. Lu, Ji. “Gujin shuohai [Sea of stories of the past and present].” In Zhongguo jiben gujiku 中国基本古籍库 [Database of Chinese Classic Ancient Books]: 490–1.
  24. Ma, Guansheng. 2015. “Food, eating behavior, and culture in Chinese society.” Journal of Ethnic Foods 2 (4): 195–9.
  25. Ma, Lihua, et al. 2020. “Knowledge, beliefs/attitudes and practices of rural residents in the prevention and control of COVID-19: An online questionnaire survey.” Research Square (preprint article), April 20, 2020. DOI: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-22257/v1
  26. Ma, Yihan. 2021. “Changes in eating habits due to COVID-19 among respondents in China 2021.” Statista.com, April 9, 2021. <https://www.statista.com/statistics/1225402/china-changes-in-eating-habits-due-to-covid/#statisticContainer>
  27. Meng, Dandan. 2020. “No more sharing of communal dishes: A revolution of Chinese dining habits?”. ThinkChina, April 27, 2020. <https://www.thinkchina.sg/no-more- sharing-communal-dishes-revolution-chinese-dining-habits>
  28. Meng, Yuanlao 孟元老, et al. 1982. 東京夢華錄、都城紀勝、西湖老人繁勝 錄、夢梁錄、武林舊事 [History of Tokyo Menghualu, Jisheng Metropolis, Xihu Laoren Fanshenglu, Menglianglu and Wulin]. Beijing: Zhongguo shangye chubanshe.
  29. Meng, Yuanlao. 1996. Traum von Hua in der Östlichen Hauptstadt: Meng Yuanlaos Erinnerungen an Die Hauptstadt Der Song. Peter Lang Ed.
  30. Ōta, Masako. 2001. Hashi no genryuo saguru: Chukoku kodai ni okeru hashi shiyo shu zoku seiritsu [Investigation into the origin of chopsticks: the establishment of the habit of chopsticks use in ancient China]. Tokyo: Kyuko Shoin.
  31. Pan, Jingyi. 2020. “Will the pandemic permanently change people’s dining habits?”. CGTN, April 19, 2020. <https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-04-19/Will-the-pandemic-permanently-change-people-s-dining-habits--PNviPmKtVK/index.html>
  32. People’s Daily Online. 2020. “China’s first local standard for using public spoons and chopsticks unveiled.” People’s Daily Online, March 16, 2020. <http://en.people.cn/n3/2020/0316/c98649-9668566.html>
  33. Qin, Amy. 2020. “Coronavirus Threatens China’s Devotion to Chopsticks and Sharing Food.” The New York Times, May 25. <https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/25/world/asia/china-coronavirus-chopsticks.html>
  34. Qin, Amy. 2020. “疫情下中国的“餐桌革命”:你愿意用公筷吗?” [China’s “table revolution” under the epidemic: Are you willing to use public chopsticks?]. Niuyue Shibao Zhongwenban, May 26, 2020. <https://cn.nytimes.com/china/20200526/china-coronavirus-chopsticks/zh-hant/>
  35. Shorkar, Naim. 2018. “Chopsticks is a Divine Art of Chinese Culture.” International Journal of Research Culture Society 2 (11): 9–11.
  36. Tian, Robert Guan, Tian Kathy, Dandan Zhao, and Camilla H. Wang. 2018. “Food culture in China: From social political perspectives.” Trames 22 (72/67), 4: 345–64
  37. Wang, C., Huang, J., Liao, J. and Wan X. 2020. “Food Sharing With Choice: Influence on Social Evaluation.” Front. Psychol. 11.
  38. Wang, Edward Q. 2015. Chopsticks: A Cultural and Culinary History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  39. Wang, Shiqi 王世琪; Shen, Yan 沈雁. 2020. “Zhejiang xinwen kehu duan: dancan peisong shu chao 200 xu bei’an Zhejiang dui linshi tuancan peisong shishi bei’an guanli 浙江新 闻客户端:单餐配送数超200需备案 浙江对临时团餐配送实施备案管理” [Zhejiang News Client: The number of single meal delivery exceeds 200 and requires filing. Zhejiang implements filing management for temporary group meal delivery]. Zhejiang Provincial Market Supervision Administration, February 15, 2020. <http:// zjamr.zj.gov.cn/art/2020/2/17/art_1228969894_41928824.html/>
  40. Wen, Jun, Kozak, Metin, Yang, Shaohua, and Liu, Fang. 2021. “COVID-19: potential effects on Chinese citizens’ lifestyle and travel.” Tourism Review 76 (1): 74–87.
  41. Wilson, Bill. 2010. Delicious fraud: food counterfeiting and its history. Beijing: Sanlian Bookstore.
  42. Xinhua. 2020. “Bu yong gongkuai you shenmen houguo? Youren zuole ge duibi, jieguo jingren 不用公筷有什么后果?有人做了个对比,结果惊人” [What are the consequences of not using public chopsticks? Someone made a comparison and the result was amazing]. Xinhua, May 5, 2020. <http://www.xhby.net/zt/zzccfkyq/yw/202005/t20200505_6629793.shtml/>
  43. Xinhua. 2020. “Eating habit changes among Chinese during COVID-19 epidemic.”China Daily, August 20, 2020. <https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202008/20/WS5f3e3107a310834817261a8c.html/>
  44. Xinhua. 2020. “Survey shows eating habit change among Chinese during Covid-19 epidemic.” Xinhua, August 20, 2020. <http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-08/20/c_139305146.htm/>
  45. Yang, Guo Yi, Lin, Xin Lei, Fang, Ai Ping, Zhu, Hui Lian. 2021. “Eating Habits and Lifestyles during the Initial Stage of the COVID-19 Lockdown in China: A Cross-Sectional Study.” Nutrients 13 (3): 970.
  46. Yu, Jingying 喻京英. 2020. “Gongshao, gongkuai fencazhi, rang lianghao de jiucan xiguan cong zheli kaishi公勺、公筷、分餐制,让良好的就餐习惯从这里开始” [Serving spoons, serving chopsticks, and meal sharing system, let good dining habits start here]. Renmin Ribao, June 26, 2020. <http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrbhwb/html/2020-06/26/content_1994253.htm/>
  47. Zhao, Rongguang. 2003. Zhongguo yinshi wenhua gailun 中国饮食文化概论 [Introduction to food and drink culture in China]. Beijing: Gaodeng jiaoyu chubanshe.
PDF
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Pages: 161-176
  • Content License: CC BY 4.0
  • © 2021 Author(s)

XML
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Content License: CC BY 4.0
  • © 2021 Author(s)

Chapter Information

Chapter Title

The “dining table revolution” in China: the question read through the lens of newspapers

Authors

Elena Morandi

Language

English

DOI

10.36253/978-88-5518-506-6.14

Peer Reviewed

Publication Year

2021

Copyright Information

© 2021 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Food issues 食事

Book Subtitle

Interdisciplinary Studies on Food in Modern and Contemporary East Asia

Editors

Miriam Castorina, Diego Cucinelli

Peer Reviewed

Number of Pages

202

Publication Year

2021

Copyright Information

© 2021 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Publisher Name

Firenze University Press

DOI

10.36253/978-88-5518-506-6

ISBN Print

978-88-5518-505-9

eISBN (pdf)

978-88-5518-506-6

eISBN (epub)

978-88-5518-507-3

Series Title

Studi e saggi

Series ISSN

2704-6478

Series E-ISSN

2704-5919

435

Fulltext
downloads

148

Views

Export Citation

1,308

Open Access Books

in the Catalogue

1,962

Book Chapters

3,290,448

Fulltext
downloads

4,155

Authors

from 869 Research Institutions

of 64 Nations

63

scientific boards

from 340 Research Institutions

of 43 Nations

1,150

Referees

from 345 Research Institutions

of 37 Nations