Categories
General

What is the difference between instant noodles in Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan?

I’m qualified to answer this since I’ve eaten a lot of instant noodle brands from all three countries.

They do tend to be quite different from each other, I can’t say that one is necessarily better than the other.

But in general

Japanese instant noodles (Nissin, Sapporo Ichiban, Maruchan, etc)

-the Noodles are normally wheat noodles and thin but not as thin as rice noodles.

-Reserved, traditional flavors. There is traditional japanese flavors such as shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt) and miso, the original ramen flavors. These might be considered quite plain flavors for Koreans and Chinese but they are traditional to Japanese and Japanese do not tend to experiment with any wild or unnecessary flavors, only on what has worked for them (Instant noodles were invented in Japan and has been largely the same for 7 decades in their country).

-there are rarely more than 1 seasoning packet. Again, Japanese noodles keep it simple.

Korean instant noodles (Samyang, Nong Shim, Paldo etc)

-Noodles are alot thicker than Chinese and Japanese noodles. Almost Udon-like.

-They tend to be spicy, like the famous Shin Ramyun or the recently trending Buldak Bokkeumyeon.

-Kimchi flavors are abundant. Some brands even add a packet of kimchi (either dehydrated or moisture sealed) to add.

-Korean noodles also keep the packets rather simple with usually 1–2 seasoning packets but they may add in gochujang or kimchi as I mentioned.

Chinese Instant Noodles (too many brands to list, I like Baijia though)

-Noodles tend to be thinner than both Japanese and Korean noodles. They use vermicelli or rice noodles a lot. Sometimes also thicker fried noodles are used.

-The flavor is varied, some can be spicy (or Mala, based on Sichuan peppers), and some can be sweet or sour or mild. Chinese noodle flavors run the whole gamut.

-The number of packets can be large, sometimes including giant packets of pickled vegetables and lots of packets of soy sauce or chili oil. Chinese noodles definitely give you bang for the buck.

I would also like to throw in Southeast Asian Instant Noodles (Monde Nissin, Mama, Indomie)

-The noodles are usually fried, and quite thin, maybe between Japanese and Chinese noodles in thin-ness.

-The packages are usually smaller than with Chinese/Japanese/Korean noodles. Not sure exactly the reason why, maybe Southeast Asians eat just a small portion at a time?

-Flavor of Southeast Asian noodles varies but they are regional. The famous Indomie Mi Goreng or Mama’s Tom Yum variants taste like the traditional SE Asian dishes they are based on with a hot and sour taste. They are spicy but not as much as either the Chinese Mala noodles or the Korean spicy noodles.

-The seasoning packets tend to include lots of spices and oils, like in the Chinese noodles, but usually do not include the big packets of vegetables.

-These noodles are also usually the cheapest, maybe due to their small size.

Happy instant noodle eating guys!

BTW I do have to give credit to Chinese instant noodles for some innovation. Some noodle bowls / boxes come with a heating packet so you don’t even need to boil water, you could literally just bring this box to a campsite and then take some water from a river and put it in here and start eating hot noodles. That’s just cool.

https://youtu.be/NyrCbjC9rnY

Categories
Asia

Is China the least sexist of the East Asian countries?

In general, yes China has better gender equality than Korea and Japan.

For example if you’re looking at the percentage of female CEOs (often a good measuring stick for breaking the glass ceiling) – China has the second highest proportion of female CEOs in the world List of female top executives – Wikipedia – this exceeds even the USA by quite a big margin. Compare this to Japan and Korea, where female CEOs only make up a mere 2% of the companies.

In general everyday life, Chinese women enjoy great career flexibility compared to Japanese and Korean women. There are a substantial portion of Chinese women who will say their dream career is to be an entrepreneur and starting their own business. In contrast, a large portion of Japanese and Korean women’s dream jobs is to be a flight attendant.

There are rarely pure housewives in China who stay home all day, whereas Korea and Japan have a substantial percentage of housewives who do nothing but stay home and take care of their babies.

I can’t speak for Japan on this but since I lived in Korea, I know that Koreans have traditional ceremonies on Lunar New Year and Chuseok (Thanksgiving) where the women have to traditionally prepare all the food for the guests and relatives. The men don’t have to do anything. I don’t think such a tradition still exists in China.

There are a lot of female-only occupations in Korea and Japan (for example most hairdressers are female, airline attendants are almost always female, etc) whereas in China, most jobs can be performed by both genders.

Women’s rights in China is far better than Korea as well. Abortion was only legalized last year in Korea, whereas abortion had been legal for over 3 decades in China. The punishment for sexual assault/rape in Korea is a mere few years in prison. The operator of the sex trafficking hub Soranet for example only got a few years and the 200k+ males who were in the Nth telegram scandal (Nth room case – Wikipedia) are not going to be punished at all. This is not even mentioning the spy camera epidemic in Korea (Hundreds of South Korean motel guests were secretly filmed and live-streamed online). In China, such crimes would have much more severe punishment.

In addition, women in China get significant other advantages over Korean/Japanese women. They are not under as much pressure to put on makeup or dress up as much. They don’t have as much financial burden – In Korea/Japan, the women will still have to pay for some costs of dating and marriage and buying a house, but in China the men bear almost 100% of those costs. There is a dowry in China where the men have to pay a substantial amount of money to marry, but it does not exist in Korea/Japan. These are more negatives for Chinese men then they are positives for Chinese women, but I feel like I should still mention them.

Also from what I’ve seen, meeting Chinese women, Korean women and Japanese women and traveling in their countries, Chinese women have much more freedom with regards to how they can express themselves. A tomboy in Korea or Japan (especially Korea), is not very welcomed by their society, but in China tomboys exist everywhere. This is related to what I said about them not being under as much pressure to dress or do makeup or behave a certain way, whereas especially in Korea you will find almost all women dress or do makeup in a feminine manner and are expected to behave in a ‘softer, gentler’ way.

Korean women are often shocked when they travel to China and see how strong Chinese women are there. For example, you will see women physically abusing men in China. This is unheard of in Korea and I have never seen it there. There is more pressure on Korean and Japanese women to be traditionally feminine in their society compared to Chinese women.

Categories
Asia

Why are the Chinese a more materialistic people than that of the Western brethren?

Developing countries tend to be more materialistic than developed countries. This is because in a poorer society with a lot of population, there are very few ways to stand out and prove your worth.

One of the easiest ways to ‘prove’ that you are higher social status is to buy expensive clothes or electronics or a car/house – because those are hard to afford for most of the population. So being able to purchase those things is an indicator of wealth and status. And higher status means more benefits, access to better networks and connections to more powerful people etc.

In a developed society, the middle class is already wealthy enough to afford most of the things that a developing society would consider ‘status symbols’. Therefore even if you buy a fancy Lexus or Mercedes or expensive Chanel bag or iPhone it doesn’t really have as much as impact on your status as it would in a developing society. In a rich neighborhood, who cares if you own a Tesla or Lexus? So what? does it make you a better person?

In developed societies, increase in your social status comes almost purely from merit – you have to be really earn your higher status either through being an entrepeneur or getting a promotion or being able to network well with people. Just buying expensive stuff isn’t really going to get you anywhere in society.

This is also why in poorer communities in the US, especially black communities (because more blacks are impoverished on average), they tend to show off or brag more about the things they own. Whereas if you are Bill Gates or Warren Buffet for example they don’t really care what they wear or what they own anymore. They wear $30 sweaters from Ross and Marshalls. At that level of wealth it doesn’t matter what you own anymore. This is also how you know that Donald Trump probably isn’t really all that rich – or he is really insecure – if he feels the need to show off or brag all the time.

So being materialistic is not really exclusive to China. Chinese people just seem the most prominent conspicuous consumers out there because there are so many of them. But I think its a sign their middle class isn’t fully developed yet to a point where most people would be able to afford these luxuries. Thus creating the demand for status symbols. India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Africa, Middle East etc in these places I would also presume buying expensive items to be an indicator of your social status.