It’s Official


I have been living in Asia too long.

The Thai restaurant didn’t give me a spoon today, so I had to eat my fried rice with a fork. It felt really weird. I always eat it with a spoon…now. When I first arrived here, that felt really weird. Where I come from, unless you’re having soup, spoons are only for infants and invalids. But I have seen the error of my ways.

A few years ago, we had some American college girls staying with us. One of them, daughter of Afghan immigrants, was delighted when she saw me eating curry and rice with a spoon. She said they always did that at home but her American friends thought it was weird.

We took those same girls to a Japanese restaurant and they all looked perplexed when the miso soup came—no spoons in sight. I told them to pick out the pieces with chopsticks and sip the soup directly from the bowl. They all gave me the you’re-making-fun-of-me snotty teenager look—you know the one I mean—so I just shrugged and told them to look around the restaurant. Everyone was doing it.

Here’s another funny thing. When you have a Japanese meal, rice is called “gohan”, comes in a bowl and is eaten with chopsticks. If you have a Western meal, rice is called “raisu”, comes on a plate and is eaten with a fork. Neither is EVER eaten with a spoon.

Hey, don’t blame me. I don’t make the rules. I actually experienced a sense of liberation when I accepted the spoon, and now have a much greater respect for the almighty spoon.

15 thoughts on “It’s Official”

  1. Can’t overstate how much I agree and enjoy the distinction between how to eat Japanese and ‘Western’ rice 😀 Thanks for your comment the other day and I’ve been enjoying your tart related escapades, I may even try a sushi-making post, inspired by you of course!

    1. Even after all these years, I’m still learning the rules.

      If I can inspire a sushi-making post I will consider my life’s work accomplished. 😉

  2. spoons are great but then so are chopsticks. Hmmmm, forks have their uses and I really want to own a set of steak knives too. It’s great trying to fit in everywhere. I still don’t get the left to right hand fork change in the US of A though.

    1. I’m not partial to steak knives. My father, the stingiest person in the universe, gave my sister used steak knives as a wedding present! No, thank you.

      Yeah, I quit doing the left/right thing a long time ago. What a waste of time, and it makes people look prissy.

  3. I’ve been in SE Asia for 5 months now and I am pretty amazed at how much I now prefer the spoon to the fork. I remember using the fork for just about everything back home, now I just it for just about nothing.

    1. Agreed, but certain foods still cry out for the lowly fork. One should never, ever eat spaghetti with chopsticks. And eating cake with a spoon just looks silly.

      What country are you in?

      1. True, I use a fork for pasta and salad. Not much decent cake around here…I’m in Vietnam.

      2. I haven’t made it to Vietnam but if it’s anything like Thailand, there should be some pretty wonderful coconut yummies.

      3. Yeah there is a lot of good food for sure. Overall I definitely would have to say I prefer Thailand, but maybe I’ve just become jaded from staying too long.

      4. That’ll happen, although I’m surprised at how my opinion of Japan has improved since I’ve been blogging about it.

      5. We’ve just planted ourselves here for the meantime to make money. My girlfriend is making custom handmade shoes on Etsy, I’m handling all the business, sales and marketing. The rest of the time I spend writing. I’m writing non-fiction books with information on creating a successful etsy business, gaining a social media presence and other stuff like that!

        I’ve been really enjoying writing. I have a ton of stories from crazy and irresponsible times spent “on the road” in the states. I’ve been romancing the idea of exaggerating them into fictional edge-of-your-seat thrillers. I just have so many unbelievable characters and circumstances documented from back then.

      6. Thrillers sounds like a wonderful idea. I’m hopeless at writing fiction, but love reading it.

        Never heard of Etsy until just now but I checked it out. I guess it doesn’t really matter where you are anymore if you can market something online–something I know absolutely nothing about.

      7. Yeah the internet sure is amazing. I’m hoping to make enough money writing ebooks and blogs to be able to work while traveling without shipping any physical products.

      8. Also, I don’t have much experience writing fiction either. Luckily people buy easy to read books very often on kindle, so I don’t necessarily have to write in a mind-bendingly cryptic manner to get sales. 🙂

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