My China Experience (January 2019)
It is not by chance that Chinese people say hello to each other by the question »chi le ma?« which means nothing more than, »Have you eaten yet?« – if it is to be a more informal welcome than »Ni hao«. They think that I can only be fine if I have eaten. In fact, food and eating is generally very much present on the street, in shops, in the life of Chinese people. Much of the time is spent on food, be it preparatory measures with shopping and preparation, or consumption itself. When social contacts or business relationships shall be maintained, the focus is always on food. However, even a very independent country like China cannot escape the influences of the globalized western world when eating. Fast food, guzzled in few minutes only, is becoming increasingly popular, especially among young people.
Actually, nearly from the very beginning of my stay in China, it was clear that My China Experience would have something to do with eating. And to the extent that I realized how western the cities already feel in terms of car traffic, temples of consumption, luxury hotels, it became obvious for me that this will soon also affect the eating habits. Would McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks and dairy products not have been unimaginable in the past, would they?