We have more in common after all 🥺
As a Chinese American I’ve always thought the two cultures are similar and being around more Europeans for work reasons has only reinforced this. Your writing about the canteens and buffets reminds me of the phenomenon of “this this rice” in Hong Kong, a popular and low cost option for middle and low income people that has become a symbol of the Hk spirit: https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/food-drink/article/3199243/two-dish-rice-cheap-fabulously-rich-and-hong-kong-icon-time-declare-it-part-citys-intangible
Ever since watching Kurosawa’s movies like Scandal, Stay Dog, and Ikiru I cannot but see that similarities between people across countries and cultures are much greater than similarities between the privileged/rich/powerful and the marginalised/poor/oppressed. Most interesting to me are the calls in US Midwest for jobs that sound like to call for being taken care of by the state in Russia after Gorbatchov.
Surely a themed buffet can turn few businesses back to profitability in Australia!