Food God

Nationality: Malaysian

Primary Language: Malay

Other Language(s): English

Age: 21

Residence: Los Angeles


“You’re not supposed to shake your legs while eating because it means you’re not enjoying your food, and instead you’re finding some sort of entertainment by shaking your legs. This angers the food god, and the food god will stop providing you with food.”


This informant was born and raised in Malaysia, and they recently moved to the United States for university. He grew up being told not to shake his legs when at the dinner table.


In this informant’s culture, they rely on gods to bring them wealth, health, and happiness, so the informant and his family put effort into pleasing those with authoritative power – which are, in many cases, the gods. In this specific instance, this superstitious taboo is used to keep children from moving around superfluously while they’re eating their meals. Although in some cases the “food god” might actually refer to the “food god”, in many cases, the “food god” is the parents. While it this superstition is spiritual in nature, it also has a utilitarian purpose: the fear of the gods serves a way for parents to discipline their children.