China sends new message about centuries-old chopstick tradition

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By Rebecca Kanthor

In China, it’s very common to share a meal together family-style, each person using their own chopsticks to pick up food from a common dish. And it’s a sign of caring or respect to pick up food with your own chopsticks and put it on someone else’s plate.

But as the country recovers from the coronavirus outbreak, the government wants everyone to change that tradition.

Related: Coronavirus has changed how we transport goods and ourselves

On TV stations around China, a public service announcement has been playing over and over for the past month.

In it, a three-generation family sits down for a meal, and a cute little kid peddles over on his tricycle carrying eating utensils. There’s a pair of chopsticks for each person, and also a set of serving chopsticks.

The message: Make sure to use the serving chopsticks.

Related: Will the US ever mimic Asia’s culture of ‘universal masking’?

It’s all part of a new campaign run by the government to try to convince people in China to change how they eat.

At an upscale Cantonese restaurant in Shanghai, Tang Xue Xiong is surrounded by 12 of his friends and business partners. They’re having a post-COVID-19 reunion in a private VIP room.

Before them lies a vast array of mouthwatering dishes, including fried fish, shrimp cakes and clay pot rice. The group clinks glasses for a toast before they dig in. Tang asks the waiter for special chopsticks and serving spoons to serve the dishes… THE WORLD

 

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