MaDaI - Interkulturelles Training

Chinese-Italian Teamwork


Last Saturday I spent a very interesting and amusing afternoon with Chong. A Chinese student. With Italian "assistance" we cooked Chinese dumplings “according to Chong”! (You can find the recipe and some tips in part II.). Chong is 28 and a student at the technical university in Qingdao (QUST), China. He is starting his PhD in Germany supported by an international Company. On his first trip abroad, he arrived in Germany two weeks ago for a 9 month stay.
Particularly interesting was the way he gave me instructions: for instance, when he was not happy with something he kept saying with a very friendly smile „very good, maybe you could cut it in even smaller pieces." In this case I thought the pieces were already very small and couldn’t imagine how they could be converted into real "nano" particles! My comment: “In Italy we call this "Chinese work!" …it requires considerable patience and that is not something Italians are known for!” Nevertheless, I persevered and did manage to gain Chong’s approval.
One of the tricks Chong used was to use the Chopsticks, not just for mixing the ingredients but also for putting the right portion into each dumpling… there’s only a given amount of material that can be transferred with chopsticks …as good as a teaspoon!
During the cooking time Chong talked about his family, the rituals, and his way of life. He spends a lot of time (also nights) at the university to work on his project and the increase in rent during the last 10 years makes it very difficult for a young men to leave home. Chong also explained that nowadays, young women consider owning an apartment and a car are absolute “musts” for a prospective husband!
Chong’s first impressions of Germany: He finds the air “very pure” compared with that in Qingdao and the Germans very kind and helpful. He also mentioned that he was amused by the number of small old cars he has seen on the road. He also made a point of the difference in working meetings where he observed all participants talking and exchanging information! This is, for Chong, a new experience as in China only one person speaks and the others have to pay attention!
After nearly five 5 hours we had a prepared enough dumplings for three meals, we were both tired but we were so happy to have had the chance to spend time laughing and exchanging experiences. He was very proud to tell to his mother that he had made Chinese dumplings with an Italian lady, in Germany: this is intercultural way of living!
*Chinese dumplings. This English translation is used for a variety of different offerings from the Chinese cuisine. What Daniela and Chong prepared are perhaps more correctly translated as Chinese ravioli or shuijiao, taking the Jiao as dumpling, the literal translation becomes “water dumplings”. A similar technique can be used to make Wonton which can be served in a soup more akin to the origin of the English dumpling (perhaps we’ll give you a chance to try these too! They are very different from the German “Knödel”!). Alternatively, the small packages of meat and vegetable can be steamed. In this form they are part of the Dim Sum cuisine and are often known under this term. Last, but not least, formed as the “Ravioli” they can be fried (guotie or jianjiao).

 Marchese Daniela - Ma.Da.I

     Intercultural Management