Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cultural Difference: The First Bite

As JH and I were served our meals at an Outback Steakhouse today something happened that made me realize an interesting cultural difference between us two. First let me say that I generally do not like going to Outback Steakhouse, Fridays or any of those chains here in Korea. Mostly because they are expensive, but also due to that the food is often really greasy and too salty. With that said, we usually just order salads since we have found they are the freshest thing on the menu.

There I was ready to take my first bite when JH shoved his fork (with a piece of meat on it) in front of my face asking, "Do you want to try it?" I leaned back and exclaimed, "No!"

This isn't the first time JH has done this, and I always reject his attempts to feed me like that. I think today I got a little peeved because I would have figured by now he got the message. But then I realized this must be some cultural difference hoopla. As far as I know, back home we don't usually try to feed each other. If we do want someone to taste our dish I think we usually take a small portion and put it on the other persons plate. But rarely was I taught or had the experience of a bite being rapidly put in front of my face.

Immediately, I discussed this with JH and pointed out the cultural difference. Certainly he didn't know about it and figured it was normal. Also, he remarked on how it is something couples do.

I just have to wonder if this is something shared by other cross-cultural couples in Korea, or am I just the only one? hmmm


  1. I don't think it would bother me... but I like eating other people's food...

  2. Here, in Romania, we proceed exactly how you described. But, when it is about romantic couples, this gesture is considered something which proove intimacy. They like to do this. But then it depends on the persons...

    We also do not share food like Koreans do. Everybody has his/her own portion, on his/her plate and that's it! Under the increasing of East-Asian restaurants and only when they are in those restaurants, people begun to share food too.

  3. My boyfriend and I (American) share food like that. But I would never do it in public.

  4. My ex-Korean girlfriend tried to spoon fed me often during our relationship.

    I wasn't comfortable about it all, but took it as a sign of affection so I persevered.

  5. My Korean boyfriend would do that with me occasionally, until I asked him to stop. I also had to ask him not to cut my food for me or put things on my plate! Definitely a different dating culture here sometimes. :)

  6. I can see where that might bother someone. Although, I consider myself American I can see I am Latina first. MJ and I have no problem with this. I don't like being spoon fed, but if it's just a bite to try something, that's okay.

  7. I think mostly it is his speed and no-warning that has me put-off. Maybe I will explain to him the idea is cute but the execution poor.

  8. yeah....I think it's sweet, maybe you just want him to ask if you'd like to try a bite before he actually puts it under your nose!

    Curious: What are some of the cultural things that you do that annoy him?!

  9. My Korean husband has never done that in the nine years we've been together :)


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