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Oi Yi Chan

NUT 116AL Cultutal Interview Assignment

1. The interviewee has a religious background of Chinese Buddhism, and she is


influenced by her family, which has a long history believed in Chinese Buddhism
for more than 50 years. Although she is not a complete believer, still she follows
the basic eating pattern of Chinese Buddhism.
2. Chinese Buddhism has no strict rules for the eating, it is ones own choice to eat
what they eat. But most of the believers are partially vegetarians, they focus more
on eating vegetables, fruits and plant products, and less animal products of meats,
seafood, and dairy products. Some pious believers are complete vegetarians, with
the Buddhism idea of not to hurt nor kill any living beings, they avoid all animal
products and consume only vegetables, fruits and plants products. On cooking,
they try to stay in the simplest, the most natural method, such as steaming and
stewing with light seasoning.
3. The main staple food in Chinese Buddhism is steamed rice, and sometimes
vegetables with high carbohydrates such as yam, sweet potato, and Chinese
noodles and beards are also considered as staple food.
4. Vegetarian meat is considered as a Chinese Buddhism religion food, since most of
the believers are vegetarian and avoid eating real meats, vegetarian meat is made
as a comfort food for believers. The vegetarian meat is made with soy products of
gelatin or protein from plant products to be close to the texture and taste of real
meats. Vegetarian chicken meat, pork and seafood are the major types, they are
usually stewed with vegetables and mushroom, or cooked as a real meat in the
dish.

5. Animal products such as meats, organs, eggs, dairy products are usually avoid in
Chinese Buddhism, especially for red meats such as beef, lamb and veal. Even the
vegetarian meats made with soy have a majority of vegetarian poultry, pork and
seafood, and very few choice of vegetarian red meats.
6. The first day and the 15th day of each month in Chinese lunar calendar are the
sincere day for Chinese Buddhism. Most of the believers, include partially
vegetarians and non-vegetarians, would only consume vegetables on those days.
Chinese Buddhism believes on the first and 15th day of each month, it is very easy
for people to be extreme and emotional, by eating only vegetables on those days
can help in a calm and leads to a peaceful and healthy lifestyle.
7. For most of the time, elders are more pious than the younger generation. Younger
generation is usually less restricted and like to consume animal products such as
meats, seafood and milk. However, elders follow the restricted eating pattern of
vegetarians with completely avoiding animal products.
8. Even though the interviewee is a Chinese Buddhist, she as a young adult, is a big
fan of seafood and is able to finish a whole dozen of oysters with champagne by
herself.

Summary
The interviewee is a Chinese Buddhist and a partially vegetarian, most of the Buddhist
are vegetarians in different level of avoiding animal products, especially red meats. They
consume mostly vegetables, fruits and plant products, and preferred cooking method is as

simple as stewing and steaming. Staple foods are also vegetables like steamed rice, yam
or sweet potato. Vegetarian meats made with soy are used as an alternative of real meats
in the dish. On the first day and the 15th day of each month in Chinese lunar calendar,
most of the believers would only consume vegetables on those days for a calm and
healthy lifestyle. Usually elders are more pious than the young, they completely avoid
animal products.
To avoid ethnocentric judgment, I would put my efforts on understanding the reasons and
origins behind the cultural or ethnic eating habits and not to compare it with other
majority eating habits. My observations and advices should based on the data and
information provided by the interviewee alone, not as a part of the culture or ethnicity.