Food

People work in a rice field of Runguo Agriculture Development Company during a media tour organised by the local government in Zhenjiang, in China's eastern Jiangsu province on 13 October 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Pandemic, floods, locusts and shrinking farming population: Will China suffer a food crisis?

China feeds about 20% of the global population, but its overall self-sufficiency in food seems to be dropping. Even though it is self-sufficient in some staples such as wheat, rice and corn, it is less so in others. In fact, it is the largest importer of food in the world. Recent calls by President Xi Jinping to cut food wastage has people thinking that political reasons aside, China’s food supply is at risk. This risk could yet be amplified by changes in land policies, rural-urban migration and more.
Would you rather have a Michelin-starred molecular gastronomy extravaganza or a traditional Hakka feast? (iStock)

Above Michelin: These professors would rather have Hakka pork belly with preserved mustard

Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai did not enjoy his taste of molecular gastronomy too much on a recent visit to a high-end restaurant. The experience taught him that there is little point hankering after what everyone supposedly wants. One is better off staying true to himself and savouring something that truly tickles his taste buds.
This file photo taken on 5 March 2020 shows farmers harvesting cabbages at Huarong county in Hunan province, on the border of Hubei. A national campaign to curb mounting food waste in China is feeding speculation that the supply outlook is worse than the government admits and fuelling warnings food could become another front in the worsening US-China rivalry. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Food scraps and empty new apartments: China’s fight against wastage

China has a problem of wastage, and two areas where this is clearly seen are food and property development. Hong Kong commentator David Ng reviews the impact on China’s economy.
The delectable miantuo liuyuehuang dish. (Internet)

Remembering a mother’s beautiful smile and Suzhou's ‘Sixth Moon yellow’ crabs

Every autumn, what a treat it is to savour hairy crabs, or Chinese mitten crabs as they are also known. Better yet if you can catch that tiny window in late summer when the mignon “Sixth Moon yellow” crabs from Yangcheng Lake in China’s Jiangsu province are in season. Harvested when they are on the cusp of adulthood, these crustaceans’ sweetness and vitality are a spitting image of carefree summer days of our youth.
Customers buy bananas at a market in Shenyang, in China's northeastern Liaoning province on 10 August 2020. (STR/AFP)

China's growing appetite poses environmental challenges for Southeast Asian countries

While farmers in Southeast Asia have benefited from China's growing consumer market, malpractices in the agribusiness sector often result in devastating environmental issues. Hong Kong academic Enze Han examines the situation at corn plantations in Myanmar and banana plantations in Laos to see what can be done to better monitor and regulate foreign entry and practices in these countries.
How do the ancient Chinese drink tea? (iStock)

How to drink tea like an ancient Chinese

Smoked bean tea, ghee tea or jade porcelain ground tea, anyone? Cheng Pei-kai turns tea-drinking conventions on their head as he shows that in history, tea appreciation was not just the domain of the sophisticated or the elegant. Common folk throughout the dynasties found innovative ways to have a cuppa, often with more than a few surprises tossed in.
Salmon has been taken off the shelves at a supermarket in Fengtai District, Beijing, 13 June 2020. (Zhang Yu/CNS)

Beijing's wholesale market cluster sparks fear of a repeat of Wuhan's ordeal

After largely bringing the coronavirus under control, and keeping Beijing out of the fray, China is facing the possibility of a fresh outbreak, this time focused on a cluster involving the Xinfadi wholesale market in Beijing. That the coronavirus was found on a chopping board for cutting imported salmon has sparked much debate about transmission via salmon, and the prospect of a second wave of Covid-19. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu weighs up how Beijing will tackle the problem.
Taiwan's carabet cuisine represents Taiwan's nostalgic flavours and can be regarded as an intangible cultural heritage. (iStock)

Taiwan’s nostalgic flavours, the glitterati and the kamikaze

As a child, Cheng Pei-kai believed that cabaret cuisine was forbidden food, due to the unsavoury reputations of the cabarets and clubs that served it. In the present, tasting the last vestiges of cabaret cuisine in Taiwan only reminds him to treasure them as part of an intangible cultural heritage. In a time long past, high society and average Joes alike partied with abandon and in some cases, had their last hurrah.
Foodom restaurant is a new concept restaurant that runs with 46 robots.

Guangzhou robot restaurant: Robot chefs did their part during the epidemic

The use of robot chefs in restaurants has been on the rise in recent years. Zaobao journalist Zeng Shi takes a closer look at how Foodom, a robot restaurant in Guangzhou is bringing us one step closer to the future. But that is not all — the robot chefs also volunteered their service in Hubei during the Covid-19 lockdown.