I have noted that different cultures have different approaches to how to order communal food, such as Chinese food. There are consequences from these ordering systems.

The western ordering system is based on (what I consider to be a false) premise that you need to get a minimum of each dish which is in turn based on the idea that only poor people eat small amounts of food and rich people eat large amounts of food. But the down side is that you only end up with a small number of dishes and that this means that you have to find dishes that everyone likes. There is also a nasty tendency to only order meat and seafood dishes.

The Asian way is based on the premise that small amounts are humble and variety is good. The upside is  that you do not need to order dishes that suite everyone as missing out on one or two dishes is not important as there are so many. Hence more people can get the dishes they like. While the dishes are now being more ordered like in the west, the general principle is to include a wide variety of dishes, including at least one or two vegetable dishes. Of course if you were Buddhist you would only order vegetarian dishes, though you may order some non-beef dishes.

[pmath]D = Number of Dishes[/pmath]
[pmath]N = Number of People[/pmath]
[pmath]P = Number of Plates[/pmath]
[pmath]D = 2 + (N MOD 3)[/pmath]
[pmath]P = N*D[/pmath]
[pmath]P = D = N-1[/pmath]
[pmath]P = D = N-(1*N/8)[/pmath]

Some people are adamant that they have to have a certain dish, often prawns, as if it is a matter of honour, a statement of desire or a socio-economic statement. To me, this would simply be selfishness. It is ok to request, that as a part of an overall meal structure a particular thing be included,  but not to demand.

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