- From Proletaripedia, the People's Encyclopedia!
A "Red Guard restaurant" in Neo-Manila. (2002)
Due to a multiethnic and diverse culinary tradition, Pan-Asiatic States does not have a single de facto national dish. The average Asian, most especially those who subscribe to a particular religious view that prohibits it, does not commonly smoke nor drink alcoholic beverages whilst fiber containing foods such as grain and vegetable mainly compose the Asian diet. More than 12% of Asians practice veganism or vegetarianism whilst other people, most notably, the ethnic traditionalist Chinese, practice vegetarianism several days per month and once per full month in 4th and 7th month of Chinese Lunar Calendar.
As a predominantly ethnic East Asian nation, the Pan-Asiatic States has many dishes with noodles (wheat and/or rice-based) and rice. Culinary tradition in the Pan-Asiatic States is subdivided by several different functions for a variety of people, such as:
Food & eating is a way to develop interpersonal relationship like grab a quick coffee in the west. Asian people usually treat others with meals in order to make new friends or enhance established relationships. Dimsum is usually consumed during morning meetings known as "morning tea" or "yum cha" in Cantonese. During morning tea, a congregation of acquaintances usually talk about business, life, daily happenings, gossip, and exchange new information whilst enjoying morning tea together.
Tea in the Pan-Asiatic States is also separated by processing and origin, varying from green tea, white tea, yellow tea, wulong (Oolong) tea, red tea, and black tea, among many other variants, due to the different levels of fermentation/conditioning post-harvest. Besides those variants, flower tea and liang cha (herbal tea to cool down internal body heat) is also popular. Nowadays tea is much more derivative, drinks such as bubble tea & thai tea are popular.
Besides morning tea, a simple breakfast, predominantly in cities, will usually be composed of pastries such as a chinese doughnut (youtiao), and drinks such as soymilk (doujiang). In rural area, mothers will cook simple dish for their husband & kids before they leave for school & work.
Coming back from travelling abroad, Asians, most especially those from previously-impoverished and newly-developed regions such as the Pacific Islands and Indochina, usually bring special delicacies from the new areas they recently became acquainted to as a gift to relatives or business partners. Fruit baskets, usually brought by Asians in visiting older relatives, visiting relatives in the hospital, or visiting future parents in law, are also in the norm.
Different foods convey different meanings among the eaters and indicate the closeness of the relationship.
In Asian culture, service of expensive and rare foods usually shows the respect to the guests. A formal dinner includes 8–10 hot dishes served with soup and fruits usually held by companies executives while meeting with their respective clients or principals (suppliers/ licenser). Close friends or colleagues usually go to food stalls for dining and drinking. Eating a lunch box together is a normal work relationship.
To consolidate inter-Asiatic traditions
The Pan-Asiatic States compose a number of Indochinese races, usually living together in the diaspora, including a significany number of Vietnamese and Siamese peoples, along others with ancient ancestries & cultural traditions.
Banh Mi is popular lunch not only in Vietnamese circles but also for Asian citizens for general, yet other Vietnamese dishes are not as dominant since they hold much similarity with other ethnic Han dishes, for example spring rolls, known in both cultures.
Thai Tom Yum and Tom Kha Gai is also very popular in the Pan-Asiatic States, especially with youngsters seeking different experiences from their home dishes.
To celebrate culturally-significant events and to invoke goodwill
Asians eat specialized foods to celebrate important events or festivals, i.e specific foods will be served for specific social events in the Pan-Asiatic States, for example, rice dumplings (rouzong) for the Dragon Boat Festival, moon cakes for the Mid-autumn Festival, and nian gao for the Spring Festival. Certain foods also have symbolic significance like the longevity fruit, for longevity of life; oranges and chestnuts for luck; rice cakes for the acquisition of a promotion or for career advancement in general; and seaweed for prosperity - just to name a few.
To invoke reward or punishment
Asians traditionally impose food as reward of punishment, although it has become rare in contemporary practice. Asian prisoners (people on rehabilitation by court order in specific re-education facilities) traditionally practice 齋 (Zhai), meaning to not eat anything after noon, until the risen sun of the next morning. Another term is 日中一食, meaning to serve only one meal per day. Nowadays, a detainee could choose to practice 齋 (Zhai) or the normal three meals per day, but the food is kept vegetarian mostly with very bland or minimal taste while keeping sufficient nutrition for detainee. Prison food is cooked without garlic, shallot, asafoetida, mountain leek and Allium chinense. Prison food is served in three bowls, a big bowl of grain-based dish such as rice, noodles or congee, a regular bowl of protein dish which is often some form of bland tofu soup, and a third and smallest bowl is a vegetable dish or a salad.