Maybe we’ll actually start seeing what Westerners grow up calling “Chinese takeout boxes” in China, as local restaurants are trying to guard against wastefulness. Shanghai eateries produce “at least 1,100 tons of wasted food every day,” so some restaurants are encouraging customers to take excess food home with them and some establishments have even started telling patrons that they have ordered too much food for the number of people at the table:
But Liu said they still have difficulties in persuading some diners to order “just enough”, because Chinese people traditionally feel it is a loss of face for the host if nothing is left at the end of the meal.
A recent survey shows 81 percent of Chinese diners cannot finish all their food, but 28 percent never take their leftovers home. Fifty-three percent said they consider taking the food away only when there’s too much food left.
The survey also found that men aged between 30 and 40 are the most extravagant at dinner tables: they order excessively and don’t take away the leftovers.
While many people tend to spend lavishly when treating clients, a dinner out with the family is often more economical.
While we don’t miss fortune cookies, Shanghaiist would welcome the return of Western-style Chinese takeout boxes to the country in which they were most likely made. We don’t like it when our fried eggplant eats through the bottom of the flimsy styrofoam boxes we get at our neighborhood local. (Actually, we have started just taking out own reusuable plastic containers, and that seems to work pretty well — unless they forget to close the containers filled with soup … we hate when that happens).