lørdag 2. mai 2020

Will coronavirus spell an end to the great Chinese buffet?

It is hard to imagine the body-blow of the “dining table revolution”, which the Chinese government is now encouraging as a means to hold down Covid-19 infection rates by reducing general physical contact. Designated serving spoons, no double-dipping, even individual portions rather than family-size sharing platters, have all been floated as part of a new need for safety. When you think of the banquet style of a classic Chinese meal, a table heaving with dishes so varied and communal that you need the table to spin if you want to get round it, the lonely portions of the solitary eater are going to seem like quite a comedown.

European cuisine may also struggle to adjust. The convention of individual portions, known as the Russian service, came to prominence in the 1810s in mainland Europe (though much later in Britain) and was basically a way to prove how rich you were (because you could afford the servants – it is much more labour-intensive to bring dishes out one person at a time).