HKG VS JPN – Table Manners

Culture&Tradition, 香港 HongKong Add comments

27 / 11 /2009

Recently I read an interesting article in a Japanese bi-monthly magazine called “Concierge” about how Japanese living in HKG are thinking of HKG people or what Japanese people found out about HKG people and their habits. This article contains different topics like dining, business, life, friendship, relationship and wedding/funeral.
Reading this article I was aware of different cultures and habit. A HKG-habit might be impolite in Japan, but “normal” in HKG. Well, I would like to pick one point to share and discuss with you.
(CN = CHINA; GE = GERMANY; HKG = HONG KONG; JP = JAPAN)

“Shells of shrimps, bones or similar will be put on the table.”

MY HKG EXPERIENCE: That’s true! HKG-people often put these just on the table; sometimes they even do not use their hands. When I first came to HKG, I was surprised (゜ロ゜) , when my colleague put a whole chicken wing into his mouth, separated meat and bone in his mouth and split out the bones only on the table! I tried to do it, but it is really difficult. I cannot turn a chicken wing in my mouth! Can you? Using fingers are much easier, but I have been told using fingers are too dirty…
I guess the reason why they put it on the table instead of plate is, because only eatable things can be put on plate.
I have also realized that HKG dishes contain much more bones than e.g. Japanese food. I guess this is because a) it is more delicious and b) the local knives can cut bones easily. So they do not bother themselves to take out the bones. I am used to eat dishes with fewer bones, so eating HKG dishes could sometimes really annoying me, since I need to be aware of bones every time (It is not relaxing at all!). Otherwise one day my teeth might break.
Some restaurants serve some small plate for everyone, where bones and shells can be collected.

MY CN EXPERIENCE: Nearly 10 years ago my parent gave me the great opportunity to take part at the exchange program in China. At the time I have experienced that bones and shells have been split UNDER the table. So you can imagine how my shoes look like after a meal! (^-^; ・・・・

MY JPN EXPERIENCE: In general Japanese food does not contain so many bones and shells as HKG dishes. Served food is ready and also easy to eat or easy to cut with chopsticks (e.g. Fish). We use chopsticks to separate meat from bones.
Shells or bones will be collected in a common bowl on the table or they will be left in one corner of your own plate. Chicken wings will be eaten by using chop sticks. If you cannot manage it, you can put down your chopsticks and use your fingers.

MY GE EXPERIENCE: Bones will be separated by fork and knife. As I can remember in Germany I seldom eat chicken wing (as a German dish). It was always a fillet. Shells or bones will be collected in a common bowl on the table or they will be left in one corner of your own plate.

What is your experience? What is the habit in your country?

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