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Sep 24, 2006 06:09 PM

Chinese Takeout in the Movies and on Television

Have you ever noticed that when Chinese takeout is being consumed in a movie or on a television program that the characters:
1) invariably are using chopsticks to eat it with (and not the "giveaway", cheap, and difficult to cleanly separate kind of chopsticks but the really nice kind of chopsticks with decorations on them).
2) are eating directly from the white paper container pail (even the quart size).
In my life I've always eaten and have noticed others eating Chinese takeout with a fork. How many chowhounds (forget the general public) own a very nice pair of chopsticks? And generally it's also eaten on a plate (having been transferred from the container pail) in real life. Is there any reason why in this case tv and the movies are so far from reality?

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  1. Talk about timely. I was asking myself that as I watched Ghost Whisperer on Friday night. I know, my taste in chow is better than my taste in media.

    1. I own several pairs of nice chopsticks.

      As for eating out of the container, I'd say that half the time I do. The other half, I manage to get it on a plate before attacking it.

      1. I own no good chopsticks.

        Eating out of the container must be a "New York" thing!


        5 Replies
        1. re: TexasToast

          Not this NY'er... LOL

          Way too messy and then you would end up eating one item at a time and not enjoying the buffet like opportunity...

          1. re: Michele4466

            But it's always couples or "good friends" so they share boxes and sticks. Saves on washing up, as no-one can afford plates and dishwashers (because their rent is too high).


            1. re: TexasToast


              As much as I love my friends and family, I find the sharing thing (not the food but eating out of the same carton) unappealing, except with my husband... especially if it is more than just two...

              As for the no plates, a lot of takeout places can and do provide eating utensils ;-) There goes that theory...

              As to the OP, there HAS to be a reason for this... is it usually NY based movies and the preception thing? Any ideas?

              1. re: Michele4466

                "is it usually NY based movies" ... lol. well, actually, it's what *hollywood/ca* thinks is how it's done in ny. in my neighborhood, none of the takeout places even use those kind of containers anymore and haven't in a long time. they use these tupperware type plastic reusable/recyclable containers with snap on lids. very convenient.

                as for the "eating directly out of the container" part, never. we always use plates -- how else do you get a portion of rice with it? and how else would you share? and yes, we have our own "nice" chopsticks to use instead of the stuck-together-wooden ones that you get with delivery.

                1. re: LNG212

                  I agree, most places serve cooked dishes in nice "glad" type boxes / containers. They are very sturdy and definitely reusable.

                  White rice, however, still comes in those white containers.

        2. It's a cliche and a sort of dumb one at that. Unless the dish is noodles, it's non practical. As for eating out of a box, it's sort of like eating in your car. On occasion sure, as a preference or habit nada.

          1. On my kitchen counter is a mason jar full of chopsticks. Some very nice, some plastic that I buy by the dozen at an Asian market, some nicer wooden ones and some still in their paper wrappers.

            We spread our food out buffet style complete with serving spoons and eat from plates. We normally buy for more than one meal when we order take-out. I expect to have leftovers for lunch the next day or dinner the next night. I prefer clean food in the containers.