Differences between China and US

By Mariah Breeze
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, June 29, 2016
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Editor's Note: This article includes a few small differences that the average Chinese or American traveler may notice when traveling between the two countries.

Chicken or pork

A pork dish served to a family in a restaurant in Beijing.

In the US, when someone asks you what you are having for dinner, the answer normally includes the word "chicken"! In China, if you order a steamed bun as a tourist and you're not sure what's in it, nine times out of ten it will be pork. Pork is the most popular meat in China, and although you can find chicken in most restaurants, it is not as much of a staple food as in the US.

Hot water, please!

Hot water served at a restaurant in Beijing.

Another interesting difference between dining in the US and in China is that most places don't serve hot water. When dining in China, most people have a cup of hot or room temperature water with and before their meal. It is believed to help the digestive system and is also a way to be sure the water is clean. If a customer prefers cold water, they must pay for a bottle. In the US, cold water is always free and safe to drink.

Dining alone

A guy dining alone in a restaurant in Beijing.

As the US is an individualistic culture, there are many options for dining alone. It's very common for a single person to pick up something quick from a restaurant instead of going home to make a huge meal. But eating alone isn't so convenient when dining out in China. Many of the traditional restaurants in China cater towards group dinning. If you are dining alone and want a variety of dishes, a lot of food will go to waste due to their large portions.

Customer service

Customer service in China is not up to the standards that Americans are used to. Although the large smile and attentive service you get in the US can sometimes be annoying, Americans still tend to prefer this kind of service to what they find in China. Servers in China often hand you the menu and wait at your table until you pick something. Although they may have good intention, it can be a bit smothering and make you feel as if you're being rushed to order. But one benefit when dining in China is that the servers don't expect you to tip!

Gate closed early

When you've scheduled a flight in America, it's almost a written rule that you should arrive at least 2 hours ahead of time. Chinese students who study abroad in America often cite this difference as one they had to learn about the hard way. They would show up to a gate with plenty of time before take-off but because the gates closed earlier than they expected, the students would have to wait for the next flight. This is not a common issue in China, so the Chinese students couldn’t understand why the boarding gates closed so early in American airports.

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