Food Habits

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5.3 Misunderstanding and Communication of Food Habits between the United States and China The American TV Series, Fresh Off the Boat (2015- ) depicts the story that in 1995, the Chinese American family— Huang’s family, which moves from the Chinatown of Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida where there is no Chinatown, and they are the only Chinese family there. In other words, they move from their safe zone to a completely new environment. With this background, the cultural misunderstanding and collision are well reflected in this TV series. As the first generation of immigrants, the father, Louis Huang, the mother, Jessica Huang, and the grandmother, Jenny Huang have thoroughly been influenced by the traditional Chinese cultural values. To be…show more content…
As a new student in the school, Eddie attempts to acclimatize himself to the new environment through asking to join the same table in the canteen with other white American boys. However, right after he opens his lunch with home-made Chinese noodles in it, the American boys are all criticizing his lunch, saying that “What is it? Gross! Get it out of here! Ying Ding’s eating worms! Dude that smells nasty!” As a result, Eddie has to eat his lunch alone behind the gym. Then, Eddie finds out the solution that he wants to get a seat on the table with white Americans by having the same American lunch box with other students, even though his mother does not understand, asking him “It’s so American. Why are you so American?” Jessica also does not avoid to encounter American people’s contempt on Chinese food. When Jessica participates in the party in which neighbor housewives gather together and share the dishes they make, Jessica presents the stinky tofu which is a special and popular Chinese food that described as “the more odorous the bean curd, the better the flavor and aftertaste (qtd. in Liu 64)”. To her surprise, American housewives pass her dish around without trying any of it, saying that “That’s exotic (qtd. in “The Shunning”).” And actually, they obviously have the facial expression of questioning and…show more content…
American-Chinese communication. As early as in the nineteenth century, American society already held certain stereotypes towards Chinese food, as illustrations depicting the image of baskets full of “these unfortunate victims of a perverse tastes” and “strings of rats and mice” were printed in American geography textbooks for young students, which resulted in the impression that Chinese people were all fond of consuming cats, dogs, and rats (qtd. in Roberts 58). Meanwhile, social media promoted such impression and stereotype— a news report published in 1883 wrote about the dispute between Chinese people and Americans over the issue of consuming rats and cats. Even though some Chinese American interviewees claimed that they never heard of eating these animals in America or in China, there was still a number of Americans believed that “Chinaman love rats as Western people love poultry (qtd. in “Mott-Street Chinamen Angry: They Deny That They Eat Rats— Chung Kee Threatens a Slander Suit.”).” Admittedly, in China, people in some areas, like Guangxi Province, still have the tradition of eating dog meat, especially one of the minority group, Zhuang people who do not have any taboo on consuming all the meat from either poultry or livestock (Liu 72). However, as far as I am concerned, with increasing communication between the United States and China, the stereotype of eating dogs or even

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