Food is the one common thing that everyone universally agrees that they enjoy. We add cuisines of different cultures to enjoy a different taste and even alter some of the recipes to suit the pallet of spices that we enjoy. However, while we are all united by food, how we eat it remains different. This is because it is hard for people to adapt to the different ways people eat food and change the way that they are used to eating since birth.
For instance, east Asian countries mainly use different varieties of chopsticks which people who use forks and spoons find hard to use. Instead, they put them in their hair as bun-holders when they visit an east Asian restaurant. The notion of eating food with chopsticks may seem bizarre to outsiders but putting an eating utensil in your hair may seem even more bizarre to those who use them for eating. Chef Ido Fishman shares the different ways that people of various regions eat their food so that you don’t embarrass yourself when you are enjoying a particular cuisine.
Different Cutlery Used Across Cultures
Spoons, Forks, and Knives
The most basic utensils that are used all over the world are spoons, forks, and knives. Many cultures use them as their main form of utensils for eating. The spoon, fork, and knife all serve a different role and are present in almost all restaurants that you visit. Fine dining restaurants offer a very large variety of utensils with several forks and spoons, all of which are used for different things. You will find several food blogs that explain the use of these different forks and spoons.
Apart from forks and spoons, chopsticks are the second most widely known utensils that people use for eating foods. East Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Nepal use different types of chopsticks to eat their food. Children are trained with conjoined chopsticks that help them memorize how to move regular chopsticks. According to Ido Fishman, chopsticks are one of the most useful utensils you can use for eating. They make the process of eating much more neat and allow you to eat complex foods with just one hand.
Many cultures across the world use their hands or fingers to eat their food. This may seem unsanitary to those who have lived off of eating with spoons and forks their whole lives. However, eating from hands is a sanitary process as long as your hands are washed. People in South Asian countries mostly use their fingers and hands to eat food made out of rice. Many Arab countries also use their hands for eating rice-based dishes.
Many countries use flatbreads to eat their food. You may have heard of naans, chapatis, and rotis when talking about Indian or Pakistani food. These are basically flatbreads that are used to scoop stew or whichever curry that the people are eating. Arab cuisines also make use of flatbread in their daily life and use it to scoop food. While the food will not touch your hand, you will still be using it to manage the flatbread that will be holding your food.
Now, this is somewhat a new invention but it is proving to be a useful one. The idea of edible cutlery is a great way to minimize plastic waste that comes from using disposable cutlery. The idea was proposed by a company based in India that developed cutlery items such as forks and spoons with edible materials of rice and wheat flours. They took it to the next step by adding flavors to them as well. The progress of this way of eating is still to be identified but it is a great way of reducing the carbon footprint.
Ido Fishman says that the best way to experience a different culture is by eating their cuisine and the best way to enjoy different cuisines is to eat them in a local way. So, if you are trying Indian food, try eating it as the locals do and use the inborn utensils which are your fingers. Eating food from different cultures is always a great experience and you discover new flavors. So, just remember that to get the full Roman experience, you have to dress as the roman, in this case, you need to eat like one!