How Are Food and Food Customs in the U.S. the Same or Different From Food and Food Customs in Your Native Country?

When I came to the U.S.A., I was inspired: a new country, new life, new people, new language and new food. When we went to Safeway for the first time, we were shocked. There was a huge assortment of groceries, a wide choice of dairy products, and seafood. In Russia we bought the same groceries, but at the store there was not such a big assortment.

In America we were confused because we couldn't read. We bought bread--it was salty, sweet and sour. I like salty herring. I bought some in Safeway, but it was sweet. In Russia, there are not too many restaurants. That's why people cook and eat at home. I like fish. I never ate trout before in Russia. In America I can buy and cook it when I want--Roza

I came from Thailand and most Thai food is spicy, but we also have normal food too. I don't know why we always eat spicy food, but it's good for our health because it has a lot of herbs. It burns calories so it doesn't make you fat like American food. We never use cheese, butter or something like that to cook it.

When we're eating in restaurants, we order the food and eat it together at the same time and also we must share food, drink, and everything on the table. We don't eat separately like American people because it is very impolite in Thailand.--Cherry

Different people who live in different countries have different customs for eating food. In our country, people who live in the north like to eat hot spicy food. People who live in the south like to eat sautéed food. Usually they go shopping for food in the supermarket, and they like to eat in restaurants on holidays or weekends. The people like to drink Chinese tea after eating food with fat, because Chinese tea can prevent the fat from attacking the stomach. After people eat junk food in McDonald's, they should drink more tea.--Sanka

In my native country, Hong Kong, China, we shop for food in both supermarkets and outdoor markets, same as here. However, the quantity of products you can buy at the supermarket here is so huge in comparison to Hong Kong. In San Francisco, we can even find the same kind of Chinese traditional food in Chinatown, but it has already changed to American style. Moreover, when we go to restaurants in Hong Kong, we have to pay a 10% service charge that is written on the menu. However, here restaurant service charges are included in the tip. Also, after I arrived here, that is the first time for me to try Mexican food.--Alex

In my native country, the biggest difference is how people shop for food. People shop for food in a place which we call "Market"! It's not the same as the supermarket here--vegetables are fresh; fish are alive, and chickens also! But of course, there are no cows, but beef. You can cut the price down also, so don't believe the first price that people give you.--Ryan

I came from Latvia. In my country, they don't grow artichokes, avocados, asparagus, or papayas because it's cold. I saw them here for the first time. But in my country we have very good sour and sweet apples and plums. We don't have so many people from other places and we don't have Asian restaurants. The waiters in restaurants have uniforms. Only men work as waiters. The restaurants have only European and Latvian food. In restaurants, they play music and people can dance.--Leya

In my country, Russia, a dinner was very different from the USA. When we had dinner, it included four items; a salad, a soup, a main dish and a dessert. Now I make the dinner more easily. I prepare only the soup or meat or fish and some salad. Sometimes I use frozen food for dinner. It's very easy to prepare. In S.F. I fell in love with Chinese food and sometimes I go to a Chinese restaurant. I saw many interesting vegetables in Chinese grocery stores but I don't know how to use them. Chinese people buy a lot of different vegetables. I think it's very good for their health.--Lyudmila

I like Japanese food because it is famous for being fresh. Most of them are made with fresh fish, shrimp, crab, and other seafood. I like to have sashimi and sushi with wasabi. That makes the taste delicious. Americans always use forks and knives to have a meal in an outdoor restaurant. They like to eat hamburgers, pizza and sandwiches but we always eat rice, congee, and noodles. I couldn't find sweet potato dumplings here. Tortillas were a new kind of food for me. People always buy their food in indoor markets every day in Hong Kong. I usually have Chinese food twice a week because I like fried taro dumplings and scallop dumplings very much.--Jasmine

I want to talk about the differences in eating customs between my native country and America. In my country, a few people go to a restaurant to have dinner. They order some food and a big bowl of soup. Everyone has a small bowl to share, and everyone will have a small bowl of rice. If you want to, there is a plate to share the food. In America, they go out with their friends. When they order, they have their own soup, and their own entrée. When they eat, they use a fork, but in my native country everyone uses chopsticks.--Simon

In my country, Japan, we have a habit of saying words just before we start to eat meals and finish our meals. If we come over to a friend's house for dinner, we do the same things. If I don't say these words, the other people would think that I'm not a well-behaved person. I keep saying to my kids, "You have to say 'Itadakimasu' and 'Gochisousama' before you start your meals and finish your meals." Sometimes I crave sushi. I bought a package of sushi at a supermarket but it wasn't good. I wanted to say, "It's not sushi." And then I really wanted to have sushi so my husband and I ate out at a Japanese restaurant. Some salmon sushi was delicious, but the other ones weren't. I was disappointed so I decided to not eat sushi until I go back to Japan.--Mizuho

My eating customs have changed very much since I arrived in America. In my country I didn't like to eat vegetables and now I have to, because most of the American food has vegetables, but most of the food has more fat too. here in America I tried Chinese food, because I'd never eaten it before, and it was delicious. Another thing that changed was that now I go to restaurants twice a week, something that I didn't do in Argentina. I don't have a favorite restaurant. I go everywhere trying new food.--Alicia

In Brazil we are used to eating three times during the day, but it is very different from here. We aren't used to eating heavy things for breakfast. We don't eat eggs and bacon. We eat bread and milk, coffee or juice and sometimes cheesebread or cakes. Then about 12:00 we have lunch and most of the time all the family sits together and eats rice, beans, vegetables, meat, etc. At night some have dinner, but in my house we didn't use to have dinner. We preferred to eat a snack, a light snack because rice, potatoes, beans and the other things we use for lunch may make us fat, so we only had a cup of milk and biscuits. For me it was difficult because Americans eat for their breakfast what we used to eat for lunch, and for their lunch what we used to have for our breakfast.--Gleicy Any