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Is it time to change the communal eating culture? | Updated: 2020-04-11 09:00
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Editor's note: China's communal eating tradition has once again come under the spotlight amid the coronavirus outbreak. Local governments throughout China, including Shanghai, are encouraging the use of gongkuai (public chopsticks) or gongshao (public spoons) in an effort to curb coronavirus transmission. How hard is it to change the communal eating culture? Readers share their opinions.

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This habit will be hard to change as it is part of family life for millennia. I have even observed this behavior in Chinese communities in California. The Chinese restaurants would provide serving spoons but the Chinese guests would just use their own chopsticks.

Banning it would be impossible to enforce unless the serving trays are changed to accommodate a large number of guests with lots of small cups of food instead of one large dish. This would be similar to ordering food in a choose-and-pick joint where the guests would choose their food by picking cups of food which is placed in their own tray. So hypothetically, all orders should indicate the number of guests and the dish would be served in a tray with lots of small cups which guests would then choose-and-pick. Serving dimsum also works this way.

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