China is developing a huge appetite for cheese and butter
Something smells funny in China. Cheese and other dairy products are not part of the traditional Chinese diet, yet there has been a surge in dairy imports. According to European Commission data, the volume of Europe’s cheese exports to China in the first 11 months of this year was 24% higher than for the whole of 2018, amounting to more than 20,000 tons. Exports of European butter to the country have grown at an even greater pace this year – by 36%. Cheese has historically been alien to the diet in China, where research shows that a great many people are lactose intolerant. However, a 2018 report by China’s National Institute for Nutrition and Health found that Chinese citizens needed encour
Chinese online star Li Ziqi provides an escape from urban life
Chinese online star Li Ziqi has become one of the most famous internet celebrities in the country by sharing videos of her rural life. She picks ingredients from her farm, constructs furniture by hand and cooks a vast feast, providing a respite from busy urban living for her tens of millions of fans worldwide.
How to travel as a vegan in Asia
Visiting foodies in search of gratification are spoiled for choice in Asia.  From dim sum in Hong Kong and pho in Vietnam to sashimi in Japan or tom yum goong in Thailand, there is no shortage of taste-bud tingling experiences to write postcards home about.  But what about vegan and vegetarian visitors? Can a region best known for its meat-based offerings cater to those living on a purely plant-based diet? Increasingly, yes. 9% of the Asia-Pacific population identified as vegan in 2016, which means abstaining from consuming food, wearing clothes and using products that come from animals, according to online statistics portal Statista.  The region has the largest share of plant-based consumer
Forget chicken breasts: Why Asian diners love to gnaw on bones
They say real men don’t eat quiche. I would go further and say the really masculine real men also gnaw on gristle and bones. There’s nothing more primal than eating a roast chicken with your hands, tearing off the legs and wings and using your teeth to get all the meat from the bones. It’s almost as satisfying as digging into a plate of barbecued ribs with the sauce staining your fingernails, or attacking every crevice of a lobster, so you can suck out the tasty green tomalley. Eating has always been one of life’s great tactile and sensual pleasures. Think of all those portraits of English king Henry VIII, where he’s holding his giant turkey leg. But somewhere in the course of Western societ
Mooncakes filled with chicken and then some
The biggest fast-food chain in China, Kentucky Fried Chicken, has launched its own take on mooncakes, a (usually) sweet treat reserved for the Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. This year, that’s on September 13. Meat-filled mooncakes aren’t uncommon – we’ve debated them before – but can you put chicken in mooncakes?  We brought in a bucket of KFC’s take on the festival staple to find out.
Beyond spicy: the little-known side of Sichuan cuisine
Many may remember the 1998 film Mulan, the tale of a young Chinese girl who pretends to be a man to take her ailing father’s place in the army. In a joint promotion for the original animated feature, McDonald’s released a condiment called SzeChuan sauce for a limited time. Hong Kong-born Kevin Pang, who was raised in the United States, remembers it well from his teenage days. “It tasted very much like American Chinese food, it was too sweet. The texture was very gloopy, very sticky, and I think it was a little bit too out there for an American audience. If you eat chicken nuggets, you have barbecue sauce, you have hot mustard, but you don’t have this vaguely Asian style sauce. It was a novel
Eating chili peppers is linked to dementia, study says
Love spicy hot food? Maybe it’s time to hold the hot sauce. Eating chili peppers may be linked to a decline in cognitive function and an added risk of dementia, a study has found. The study, published in the journal Nutrients in May, was conducted by five researchers from universities in Qatar, Australia and the US. Based on data collected from 4,582 Chinese people aged over 55 during a 15-year period, it concluded that chili intake was inversely related to cognitive ability. Those who ate more than 50 grams (1.7 ounces) of chili peppers a day had more than double the risk of poor memory, and a 56% higher risk of suffering memory loss, the study found. The cognitive decline was greater among
How a Filipino ice cream maker became a fried chicken empire
The Philippines has a dazzling profusion of dining outlets, in particular at the casual end of the market.  But one brand is seen more than others: Jollibee. The fast food company has 1,150 outlets in the Philippines, and a bigger share of the Philippine market than its two biggest competitors combined, as well as 234 overseas outlets in 15 territories. It calls itself the largest Asian restaurant company in the world. But before it became a household name for making fried chicken that can often be smelled blocks away, Jollibee’s story had an origin that had nothing to do with chicken. This food and beverage empire was born in 1975 – and at the time served only ice cream. It was the brainch
Calories be damned. These are snacks that Hongkongers swear by
Are you a nutritionist? Good. You can skip this article. Hongkongers consume the equivalent length of the Earth’s circumference in French toast annually, a survey has found. The finding has prompted a nutritionist to warn of health risks caused by the city’s snacking habits. “Hong Kong’s favorite foods are deep-fried with a lot of oil, and usually served with butter and syrup. Excessive consumption could lead to obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease,” said Cynthia Wong Oi-se, a senior nutritionist at NutraCare Consultancy. But fans of the greasy, sweet – or both – snacks on offer in Hong Kong-style diners are not ignorant of those risks. They just don’t care. Despite an overwhelmin
The entrepreneurs trying to put Chinese caviar on your plate
Some of the world’s top caviar brands, including Paris-based Petrossian, sell caviar harvested in China. But they do not label the country of origin on their tins. Singaporean entrepreneur Benjamin Goh, a lifelong lover of the delicacy, is trying to debunk the notion that Chinese caviar can’t compare to caviar from other countries.  Five years ago, he became a partner in a 2,000-acre caviar farm, located in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan. By that time, the sale of caviar from beluga and other wild-caught sturgeon from the Caspian Sea had been banned internationally due to overfishing. Goh says the Yunnan farm was therefore positioned to supply sturgeon eggs to some of the world’