Dim Sum Living Color Helena Kagan Brooks 8G


Brief Summary

This experience, going to the Jing Fong restaurant, was not only delicious, but also enlightening. This experience comprised many different types of manners and rituals from the legacy of the cultures of China. The food, the decor, and the manners all connected to the different cultures. At this experience we were served large helpings of food, which came around in a cart. Most of the time we didn't know what we were ordering. Then they stamped our bill dependent on the size. The foods itself was not only large in quantity and delicious, but also had many connections to the cultures of China as well.

Connection to Daoism

Throughout the restaurant you could see many connections to Daoism, through balance and nature. The decor has many symbols. There is bamboo on the wall representing nature, which is very important in Daoism. The Dao is a lot about going with nature, which the restaurant's decoration did. Also by surrounding yourself by nature you are following wu wei, which is how to follow the Dao. The food also was very natural is Daoism, being natural is ideal. The ideal in Daoism is the un-carved block, which is in it original form. There were 4 symbols pictured between the phoenix and the dragon, which wishes prosperity to wedding couples. The symbols on the other side of the room say double happiness. The phoenix represents rebirth and femininity and the dragon is masculine. Both together they are balanced an important principle of Daoism. Ying and Yang are opposites and together they are balanced like the phoenix and the dragon.

The food combinations were also Daoist because they were balanced. There were savory and sweet items, making it a balanced meal. This is like Ying and Yang opposites that make a whole. There were many sweet fruity things, that were served with shrimp dumplings.


Another Daoist message in the restaurant was the carrot shaped crispy rice flour skin filled with shredded coconut flakes and grounded peanuts. They are daoist one because it is something natural being turned into another natural thing.



These connections to an old culture show the legacy of that culture and how that still affects us today. Not that many people practice Daoism to day, yet many people see the affects of daoism. Like the examples listed above. Words like Ying and Yang are known by a lot of people in the world, and the go with the nature mind set in known by many more. Daoism has also affected Chinese food and decor as shown in the examples above. This culture brought principles about nature and being simplistic.

Connection to Confucianism

One connection to Confucianism is the manners we must have in the restaurant, and the rituals we follow. For example we were not allowed to point the tea spout at other people as a sign of respect. You cannot pour your own tea, someone else must. This shows the importance of sharing, which is important in Confucianism, as well as being respectful to others and having ren. When someone pours tea for you tap two fingers on the table as a sign of apperciation. This also shows the principle of sharing, as well as respect and manners. If you didn't thank someone for helping, you wouldn't be showing Li or Ren. Also the meal is family style meaning everyone shares everything. We would pass around the different dishes, and everyone would take a little bit of everything. There are countless other table manner and rituals that the Chinese follow. They all sum up to being a junzi, and having li and ren. Being polite and sharing are some of the most important principles for keeping a harmonious society and following Confuciansm. Also in Dim Sum we had to interact with others a lot in order to get food or tea. By doing this we created connections. These communications helped create a harmonious meal. We also built relationships as friends (Five Great Relationships) by eating together and therefore making connections. In Dim Sum some manners, coming from Confucianism, that we normally don't have in Western cultures were shown to us.



Some of the first lessons we are taught as young children are to respect others and share. Being a Junzi, having li and ren, have been passed down to our culture. Now we say that you should be politie, kind, have manners, and be an overall gentleman (junzi). Also many of the lesssons and manners we are taught create harmony. If we weren't kind to each or didn't have manners, people would be doing things in a different way creating chaos. However we have manners and harmony, and know how to communicate with one another. In other words we have self- cultivation. Those are some of the main principles of confucianism, they affect many if not all cultures in big or small ways. Dim Sum in just an example of the manners that Confucianism, a culture hundreds of years old, has left with us .

Why Should 8th Graders Do this Experience?


Not only does this experience help us better understand the principles of both Confucianism and Daoism in practice, it is enjoyable and the food is great. This experience's primary goal was to see how the principles of both these ancient philosophies translate to modern real life sitiuations. Whether it was Daoist decor and balance of food or the Confucian manners, these ancient religions were all around Dim Sum. Although education in the real world is great, what truly makes Dim Sum special is the food. I and the people at my table had no idea what most of the stuff we were ordering was or what it would taste like. Although there were some things a little strange, I was exposed to new flavors and cooking techniques that I had never seen before. Also eating Dim Sum is not like a normal meal, you don't just order one thing you order everything, and eat a little bit of everything. All in all I would suggest Dim Sum to any one with a large and not picky appetite, who is excited to learn more about the philosophies we learned about in class.

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