Location: NYC (heart is split between Switzerland and the Big Apple)
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Not sure where to put this so will try here.
Other than Raclette, Fondue, this does not seem to be a very common practice in Swiss (german culture)? I have a couple experiences, one was a meal in Hong Kong with a few Swiss colleagues and Hong Kong colleagues, the Swiss were rather relunctant to take food from common plates.
Likewise, last weekend was eating at a restuarant in Chinatown NYC. There was a family of four German tourists eating at the table next to me. They each order a sweet and sour pork individually. Four orders of the same exact same dish. Having much exposure to Asian culture, this made me laugh internally...this was family not even strangers. And being in the US with US portion size this means they probably were eating sweet sour pork for lunch the next day.
You are absolutely right. Upbringing I guess.
My American wife and MTV-watching Gen-Z kids will happily share while I order my own stuff.
For me I don't have the urge to try dozens of different things (I hate buffets). I'd rather have more of something I like.
For some reason I feel it is yucky to eat from someone else's plate and I certainly hate when someone takes a dive on my plate (except for hubby). I still have nightmares about my grandpa puting his already licked spoon on my plate ...being followed by my mom having to give me another plate.
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On a more practical note: Having a rather unpleasant (and sometimes quite sticky) food intolerance, I'd rather have my own plate, which I know is safe to eat, than have to ask the waiter fifteen times if those little plates of eastern delight in the middle of the table contain any of the substances that will result in a night and a day of intestinal misery should I inadvertently gobble them up attached to a strip of beef or a sauteed prawn.
This my plate. That yours.
Now bugger off and let me eat, dabizi!
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It breaks my heart to have to share your nasty pizza when I've ordered the yummy one. With Asia I guess do as Romans do, otherwise it'd look a bit funny at a fancy Swiss restaurant tucking into your mates' cordon bleu...
I felt the same the first time I had a 'meze' in Greek restaurant in England, after three years of picking at a few communal plates in the middle of the table.
Each to their own, I guess. I never use chopsticks (on principle), which I suppose raises a chuckle from savvy westerners sitting nearby in Chinese restaurants.
It's my dinner, aint it?
Not using the chopsticks is fine...it is your dinner.....
I just find it an interesting cultural difference... not criticizing anyone for their choices. Not outwardly at least. I am not that arrogant...just found it culturally amusing. Plus Sweet and Sour pork is the worst Chinese meal in existence.
Recall being in an Italian restuarant in Florence, and some savy American couple were sitting next to us gloating to themselves on how globally cultural they were. As an example the wife noted to her husband how unsophisticated this couple next to them was for coming to Italy and ordering a simple past with tomato sauce (how can they do that) - as this was all said out loud I often wondered do they think we are deaf, dumb or just don't understand English.
they must think everyone else including the English speaking couple next to them don't speak English). They were later quite shocked when our second course came, salted cod with the head still on.
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Happened to me too, at the Moroccan place in Kreis 5. Their multi-plate selection are obviously meant for sharing, but the local insisted on ordering separately. We ended up ordering two of the exact same sharing plates. Even the waitress alerted the person to the fact and that we could have more variety if ordering together, but they insisted.
I was miffed only due to the resulting lack of variety.
In North America, sharing is common, esp at Chinese, Indian, Ethiopian restuarants, where obvioulsy you want to try different dishes, as would be done in those cultures anyways.
I was in an American-style diner in Hong Kong and watched 4 young local order a hamburger with fries, spaghetti, a club sandwich and some chili, and then share that Asian-style. It made sense that they did it, but it still looked weird to me