You must be wondering what I’m talking about with such a title like that but as you will read on here, I’ll be able to hopefully make this claim quite convincing. First of all, when I talk about Chinese food, I’m not referring to the chop suey or chicken balls with fried rice that you get in little cardboard takeout containers along with the little packets of soy sauce. I’m sorry to inform you but that takeout fare is NOT Chinese food. It’s a westernized, watered-down, convenient imitation of the real thing.
For real Chinese food, you have to go to an authentic Chinese restaurant and such an establishment might not even exist in your city. Major cities with Chinatown communities will have authentic Chinese restaurants though. A sure way to tell is to look inside and see who the restaurant patrons are. If there are quite a few Chinese diners, then it’s a good bet that the cuisine is authentic. If all the patrons are non-Chinese, the food there will likely be of the westernized fare.
Now that we got the differentiation out of the way, you might be wondering if the real authentic stuff will be too foreign or not. You might have thoughts of gushy animals on the plates with their eyes still looking at you. Don’t worry, it’s not that bad and besides, being a bit foreign is actually going to be a requirement here.
Enlist Chinese Dining Partners
Now, let’s assume that you know that there is a Chinese restaurant serving real authentic cuisine. The next step is to enlist the aid of any Chinese friends or associates that you may have. If you don’t know any, then start to get to know a few as you will see, this is the whole point in this activity.
The best way to experience ethnic cuisine is to have somebody from that culture show you the ropes. They can help select what’s good and what’s a bit too strange for first time diners.
Now what you want to do during a dining
excursion with your Chinese friends is to not only enjoy the cuisine, but also use the opportunity to get to know them better. Ask questions about the food as well as the culture and customs. These will be natural topics of conversation during such an outing.
The Hidden Benefit
If you are wondering why I’m even advising you to go through this exercise, well here’s the hidden benefit for you. By dining authentic with Chinese folks, you have just used Chinese food as a fun way to expose yourself to more diversity. By learning more about the culture and experiencing the real cuisine, you are improving your own interaction skills with people of another culture or race.
If you repeat this same type of exercise with authentic Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Middle Eastern, or any other ethnic cuisine with a representative from that culture, your exposure to diversity will skyrocket. The main advantage from these types of diversity activities is that you will be able to interact really well with people from all sorts of different backgrounds. This is a definite plus in terms of doing business in diverse environments these days whether locally or globally.
On another level, these diversity activities will also help your own personal growth as well and perhaps even on a social level. Many communities these days are quite diverse and being effective in such environments can be important to success.
This strategy works very well for ethnics as well. I’ve taken many non-Chinese to a particular type of Chinese dining called ‘dim sum’ which is served mainly during lunch hours (see featured photo as a sample of dim sum).