Chinese People Do Not Eat So Fast…Don’t be Misled

You’ve watched some Chinese friend or influencer eating so fast, and now you’re wondering why they eat at such speed. You’re not alone; I also had been in a similar situation after watching the Chinese eat so fast. So, I started my research and found that Chinese people don’t eat as fast as many others, like Americans, Canadians, and Indians…Yet, they eat faster than many nations. What does it mean?

It’s not even half true that the Chinese eat fast…and it needs to be uncovered. And the answer lies in this 3-minute read. 

Let’s know.

How Fast Do Chinese Eat?                

Across the world, people follow daily routines shaped by cultural, geographical, economic, and social factors. An OECD study published in 2018 shows the time people from different countries spent eating their meals every day during the year 2017.

SrCountryTime for Dining
1France2h 11m
2Italy2h 05m
3Greece2h 04m
4Spain2h 02m
5Denmark2h 00m
6Portugal1h 47m
7Korea1h 43m
8Germany1h 36m
9China1h 36m
10Japan1h 35m
12Poland1h 35m
13Belgium1h 32m
14Australia1h 31m
15Latvia1h 24m
16Slovenia1h 23m
17Finland1h 21m
18Austria1h 21m
19New Zealand1h 20m
20India1h 19m
21Uk1h 18m
22Norway1h 17m
23Estonia1h 16m
24Mexico1h 16m
25Ireland1h 15m
26Sweden1h 13m
27Netherlands1h 10m
28South Africa1h 08m
29Canada1h 04m
30America1h 01m
Average Daily Dining Hours Spent by People From Different Countries During the Year 2017, According to OECD

According to the table shared above, Chinese individuals allocated a significant amount of 1 hour and 36 for eating and dining during the year 2017, ranking 9th place as slow eaters among other 30 countries.

Surprisingly, despite not being an OECD member, China, with its vast population, was included in the study and was found to spend more time on meals compared to other nations. This shows that Chinese people aren’t exceptionally fast or slow; they simply spend a bit more time dining than 21 other countries included in the study.

Contrary to common belief, Americans were noted to spend the least time on dining, 1 hour and 1 minute on average. The reason may be their fast-paced, depressed life. In comparison, Canadian people also spent a lesser time of 1 hour and 04 minutes dining in their everyday routine.

So, it’s apparent that the Chinese are not fast eaters but are mistaken.

Why do the Chinese Eat a Bit Faster than Other Countries?

By now, it’s apparent that the Chinese eat a bit faster but not too fast. Yet, certain factors contribute to their dining rate, and Studies have proven these factors, too.

Let’s learn about them.

Cultural Influences

Chinese meals are shared experiences, fostering a quicker eating pace due to the social nature of dining. Chinese culture emphasizes efficiency in daily tasks, which translates into faster meal consumption compared to Western countries.

Biological Factors

Research indicates that Chinese individuals have a higher resting metabolic rate, allowing for faster digestion. This physiological aspect contributes to their swift eating habits.

Unique Chinese Cuisine Qualities

Bite-sized portions, chopsticks encouraging smaller bites, broths, and stir-frying techniques enable rapid consumption without compromising on flavor or nutrition.

Impact of Fast-Paced Industrial Life

In China’s bustling urban centers, limited lunch breaks and a focus on efficiency drive rapid meal consumption. The urban lifestyle, coupled with the prevalence of food delivery services, further encourages swift dining to accommodate busy schedules.

Social Norms and Stress Factors

The high-stress environment in industrial jobs often leads to coping mechanisms like quick eating, creating a habit that extends beyond work hours. Social norms also play a role, with rapid eating considered normal and expected in various settings.

In essence, Chinese people eat a bit quickly because of a combination of cultural practices, physiological factors, unique food qualities, the demands of urban living, and societal expectations, all contributing to their distinct dining habits.

Why are Chinese Shown Eating So Fast on Social Media?

The speed at which the Chinese are shown eating in videos or extreme eating shows on social media can be misleading. It might be due to editing, genuine enjoyment, or cultural reasons. In China, a history of famine has ingrained a habit of eating quickly and not wasting food.

Eating rapidly and loudly signifies enjoyment while eating slowly might suggest disliking without openly expressing it. Chinese table manners differ from the West; dishes are served separately, and individuals quickly take their portions as food is shared communally. This cultural context shapes the perception of speed in dining practices.

Why Do Some of Your Chinese Friend Eat So Fast?

People’s eating habits can vary widely, and it’s not always about cultural influence. While some might notice their Chinese friends eating quickly, it’s essential not to generalize. Stress, rather than culture, could be a significant factor. Just like anyone else, individuals from any background might eat fast due to a hectic lifestyle, work pressure, or personal stressors.

Chinese culture doesn’t promote eating hastily; in fact, traditional Chinese dining emphasizes savoring each bite and enjoying the mealtime. So, if you see someone eating fast, it’s more likely due to their individual circumstances rather than their cultural background.


Chinese people are not fast eaters. The videos you watch of them eating fast are misleading. Yet, they don’t eat at an exceptionally low pace as French or Italian people do.

The pace at which Chinese people eat can be attributed to a combination of cultural practices, such as communal dining and efficiency, as well as biological factors, such as a higher resting metabolic rate. The qualities of Chinese food, including its bite-sized portions, chopstick use, flavorful broths, and stir-frying techniques, further enhance the ease and speed of consumption.

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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