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What is Disgusting to Chinese People (and Vice Versa)

What is Gross to Chinese People (and Vice Versa) – Cultural Differences

Western habits the Chinese consider gross or dirty:

Walking around barefoot, or in your socks. If you’re on a flight from the US to Beijing, don’t lose face by walking around the plane in your socks. Double-gross for doing this outside on the pavement. To the Chinese, this is just appalling.

Setting your bag, purse, or backpack down on the ground. Large pieces of luggage, okay, but not smaller bags. The Chinese think that the ground is dirty, and consider it bad form to put a nice bag on something dirty. Find a chair to put it on if you want to blend.

Eating cheese. A lot of Chinese cringe at the thought of cheese.

Wearing revealing clothing. While Chinese fashion is modern and… interesting, it is rare that a women (or a man) will wear low-cut tops or mini skirts, for example. If you visit China and choose to bring along a more revealing wardrobe, be prepared to get stared at by some men and scowled at by some older women.

Eating too fast. The Chinese are about slow-paced meals. This is when conversations and gatherings take place. Don’t ruin it, or lose your face, by scarfing down your food. Eating while in a hurry is an odd concept for the Chinese.

Genetically Engineered Food. GMO, or genetically modified organisms, are becoming more prevalent in Chinese society. But as a whole, Chinese prefer the organic, free-range philosophy of food and frown at the thought of pumping an animal full of hormones just so it looks bigger.

Sitting on a public toilet. No doubt you will frequent at least one McDonald’s in China and see the “Western” toilet seat all loose and mangled with footprints all over it — and when you do, now you’ll know why! Chinese people don’t sit on them. They squat on them, because to the Chinese, sitting on a public toilet (seat cover or not) is disgusting.

Buying “Old” Food. Chinese people are about fresh. They buy chickens alive, kill them, and eat them all in the same day. China is filled with farmer’s markets, where you can buy fresh vegetables straight from the fields. Canned veggies and and meat that has been sitting on the shelf for a few days is considered disgusting.

Chinese habits Westerners consider gross or dirty

Not washing your hands. A water rinse doesn’t cut it for most Westerner after a trip to the restroom. It is also nasty that there is usually never soap, and about a quarter of the time there is no running water.

Food in the mouth. Talking with a mouth full of food, smacking, or slurping noodles or soup can be quiet annoying for Westerners.

Public nose picking, ear digging, or spitting.

Handling of Meat. The Chinese consider this fresh because it was hacked up the same day, and consider the Safeway, 3-day old meat in shrink wrap to be the disgusting choice.

Poo Poo. When visiting the countryside, you may catch a glimpse of a mother holding her baby at the sidewalk (giving a quiet “shhhhh” whistle) to prompt the little feller to do his or her business — right on the ground.

Missing the toilet. Walking into a stall with 1/2 an inch of liquid on the floor can be a gross sight.

No Doors. Need to do a Number Two? You race to the bathroom to find out that there are a handful of guys, in plain site, doing their business in the doorless stalls. I know what you’re thinking. How much did they save by not installing the doors? Are stall doors that expensive in China? Truth is, Chinese people just aren’t tripping. Keep your eyes either up or down, find an empty slot, and breeze on in.


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