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Asian countries are known for their rich culture and traditions. They are still very much connected with their customs that are passed on from previous generations. Although there have been various modern technologies and other development, some traditions are still maintained. Japan is a first world country hence; their cultures are very authentic and preserved. Philippines is somewhat comparable to our country, Malaysia. They were conquered by different countries, causing some of their cultures to be adapted from other countries like China, Spain and even United States of America. One of the main areas in which cultures can be impactful is the preparation of food and dining habits. A meal is considered more than just food, because by sharing a meal, people can build relationships, communication, bonds and unity. The Japanese and Filipinos share several similar eating etiquettes. At the same time, they have their differences.
One similarity of Japanese and Filipino eating etiquette is their food presentation. Both these cultures always make sure that it is done in a traditional manner and looks appealing. Their dishes are decorated with garnishing before it is served at home or even restaurants. While Filipino dishes are topped with fried onions, spring onions and cilantro, Japanese dishes are accompanied with thinly sliced cucumbers and pickled ginger. Some dishes come with dipping sauces like soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. Filipino and Japanese restaurants get a lot of attention from Westerners because their food and dining experience is considered unique and exotic. Richie (1985) states that Japanese cuisine presentation insists upon freshness and naturalness. Both Filipino and Japanese food joints always make sure of minor details and their cleanliness. Waiters play an important role because they are to describe the various tastes of their dishes, the ingredients that may be raw and the availability of vegetarian dishes. Japanese restaurants in Japan demands exceptional measures of consumer training and connoisseurship.
Secondly, Filipino and Japanese people consider breakfast as the most important meal of the day. The average breakfast time for both countries is between 7.00 a.m. to 9.00 a.m.
Traditional breakfasts in Japan consists of miso soup, steamed rice, pickled vegetables and Japanese omelette tamagoyaki, which is layered cooked egg. Similarly, they serve big breakfasts in the Philippines with coffee, fried rice (sinangag), dried fish, tomatoes, hotdogs, and eggs. They give the most amount of energy for both men and women. This is because our organs function at an optimal level in the morning, hence, the nutrients from the big breakfast is distributed well to the rest of the body. Besides that, breakfast can resolve high glucose levels. Breakfast containing high calorie food and lesser dinner is a useful alternative for the management of obesity.
Thirdly, rice is a staple food and served in most of their meals. In Richie (1985) he stated that rice was the food of the gods. The primary source of carbohydrate intake comes from the rice they consume. Besides the iconic sushi, there are other Japanese rice dishes like onigiri, chahan and donburi. Onigiri is a Japanese rice ball that is stuffed with a variety of fillings like tuna, salmon and crab meat. This rice ball is considered as snacks and it is easily available. Most convenience stores and supermarkets sell this simple delicious snack. Donburi is a rice bowl, usually topped with other dishes, that goes well with rice. On the other hand, chahan, is rice fried with other ingredients including vegetables like carrot, onion, garlic, carrots, bean curd, pork and scrambled egg. Similarly, Filipino people serve rice with other side dishes like beef stew and chicken soup. Rice is even used in their desserts. Biko is a sticky rice cake that is usually topped with caramel. Francia (1997) states that rice accompanies all meals, even traditional Filipino breakfasts.
However, these two countries have a few different eating etiquettes. One of it would be the different utensils that are used while eating. Japanese people use chopsticks because it is lacquerware friendly than other sharp utensils. Kambayashi (2006) reported that people in Japan consume 25 billion sets of wooden chopsticks a year, that is, about 200 pairs per person. Satterwhite (1988) states that the most common chopsticks that are used in Japan are disposable wooden ones, also known as waribashi. These chopsticks come in individual wrappers and needs to be pulled apart before using it. A simple tip when using the chopsticks is to hold it like a pencil, but closer to the thicker end to attain stability. In contrast, Filipino people are quite flexible with utensils. They mostly use fork and spoon because it is convenient. Some Filipinos use their hand to eat because that is the best way to enjoy their flavorful food.
Moreover, both cultures enjoy desserts in different ways. Traditionally, Japanese people prefer fresh fruits as desserts. They like to indulge in a platter of cooling fruits like strawberries, watermelons and mangoes after a meal. On the contrary, the range of desserts that the Filipino culture offers is way too many. They prefer hearty and sweet desserts like cakes, ice cream, halo-halo and so on. Halo-halo is basically a bowl of shaved ice topped with evaporated milk and various ingredients like coconut, beans, jelly and ice cream. If you were to walk in to a Filipino dessert shop, the most favorite flavors will include coconut, yam, also known as ube, caramel and pandan. Bonifacio (1976) listed few other sweet desserts like cashew nougat (turrones de casuy), crème caramel (leche flan), other pastries, jams and jellies. Fernando (1992) noted that some individuals may even take a teaspoonful of sugar followed by a glass of water when there is no dessert available.
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