Time for another fun post 🙂

What do you eat out of? How do you get takeaway?

These might seem like the last questions you would ask in a cross-cultural situation, but I’ve noticed a few differences and on one particular occasion, with quite hilarious results.

First to the practical – in Australia I am used to eating my food off different varieties of ceramic bowls, plates etc – occasionally plastic ones when you’re camping or on a picnic. When I put leftovers in the fridge, it’s always in airtight plastic or glass containers.

When I went to India, I was surprised to find that I mostly ate off stainless steel plates, bowls etc. Also, when they put leftovers in the fridge, it is also in metal containers with lids – but they are in no sense airtight. It’s not that one or the other is bad or not – just different.

Now to the the takeaway – and a funny anecdote.

A few years ago I visited Malaysia for a wedding. There was another friend who came out from Australia and got there on a night when we were having dinner with the family at a local hotel club. He got there after dinner, but having just got off a plane, of course the first thing he wanted was a coffee. And given that we were going to head home soon, of course he ordered a takeaway.

In Australia, a takeaway coffee comes in an insulated cup made of foam or cardboard:

Image source:

When my friend received his coffee, this is how it came:

Apologies for the blurry photo – I was laughing too much!

We all burst out laughing – it was his first overseas trip and also my first experience with this type of takeaway container for a coffee – a plastic bag!

I have since discovered this is quite common across Asia and the Subcontinent – including for things like soup and other liquids like takeaway milk.

Who knew everyday items like containers could be so different in other countries?


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