World’s biggest pork eaters are exploring other options
There’s no doubt that China loves pork. The dishes vary by region, and everyone has their own way of preparing and serving the nation's most popular meat. What’s surprising, though, according to people who study China’s eating habits, is that it appears the country’s pork consumption has already peaked. Some 45.6 million tons of pork was consumed by the nation’s 1.4 billion people last year, according to market research provider Euromonitor. Although slightly higher than the 45.1 million tons consumed in 2017, it was just under 5% lower than the historical high of 46.6 million tons in 2014. On a per-capita basis, last year’s consumption of 66 pounds was also 4.5% lower than in 2014. Darin Fr
Where is sushi from? Not Japan
Sushi is pretty ubiquitous: from nigiri, with its slice of raw fish on a pillow of rice, to the maki roll wrapped in nori, or seaweed. But the sushi we know today tastes and looks very different from how it did centuries ago.  First of all, the rice in the original “sushi” was not intended to be eaten. Mixed with salt, it was used to preserve the fish and then thrown out. Sushi’s origins aren’t even Japanese, says Nobu Hong Kong executive sushi chef Kazunari Araki, who has more than 20 years of sushi-making experience. The combination of rice and fish, he explains, originated in the third century along the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, where countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, La
Sriracha sauce is hot stuff all over the world, and it’s made in California
With a rooster in the center, surrounded by Chinese and Vietnamese writing, and the bottle topped with its iconic green squeeze cap, Huy Fong Foods’ Sriracha sauce is arguably one of the most recognizable condiments in the world. The sauce is lauded for its spicy kick, vinegary tang and garlicky aftertaste and has developed a cult following since it first tantalized tastebuds in 1980. Heat seekers are known to add it to almost any dish – drizzling it on pizza and sushi; mixing it into bowls of pasta or pho. Fans have gotten tattoos and personalized car number plates to declare their love for it, and astronauts have even taken it into space. Despite its ubiquity, though, there remains common
China’s elderly embrace foraging, destroying public parks
The search for all-natural foods has turned many American millennials into foragers. But in China, it’s the older generation you’ll see searching for edible weeds in public parks. Beijing’s elderly residents are wreaking havoc on the city’s parks in pursuit of wild spring vegetables, a traditional favorite at this time of year. In some parks in the capital, people are uprooting wild plants and filling bags with foraged fruits and vegetables, despite signs prohibiting the practice, according to local newspaper Beijing News. China has a tradition of consuming wild greens, which are believed to be fresher and healthier than their farmed cousins. Many of the capital’s elderly who come from rura
Dry times in China
The Chinese economy may be slowing, but a country’s gotta eat. China’s food and drink industry posted a record high $636 billion in revenue in 2018, according to the China Cuisine Association. And it all starts on the ground and under the sun, as Chinese farmers harvest and dry goods to make them easier to transport – and often, to concentrate the flavor. Check out our gallery, above, for a look at China’s sun-baked foodstuffs.
The world of automated noodles
A hypnotically efficient noodle-cutting machine in China has drawn attention online. But some find machine-cut noodles lacking in soul. Watch our video, above, to find out more.
Mongolia’s own Anthony Bourdain brings Mongolian food to the world
On March 7, a package arrived at Javkhlantugs Ragchaasuren’s office in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Inside was a congratulatory plaque from YouTube: his channel, ArtGer, had surpassed the 100,000-subscriber mark. The milestone is a commendable achievement for any new media platform, but for a channel dedicated to sharing the rela­tively unknown culture of Mongolia, it was a triumph. Yet it was perhaps not a surprise considering ArtGer’s flagship program, Nargie’s Mongolian Cuisine, is one of the most engaging yet bizarre food shows on any medium – anywhere. In each episode, Nargie, whose full name is Naranbaatar Tsambakhorloo, travels to a region of Mongolia, meets someone who is known for being a
Celebrity chef in hot water for cooking endangered salamander
“Hi everybody, I'm Wang Gang. Today I will teach you how to make braised salamander.” With that, this Chinese chef famed for his cooking tutorial videos uploaded himself into the center of a debate that highlights an increasing environmental awareness in China. The Chinese giant salamander Wang butchered on film and chopped into pieces is endangered and protected in the wild, but legal to eat if farmed. But by the time Wang clarified in a subsequent video that he had cooked the farmed kind, it was already too late. Critics reacted in disgust and accused Wang of not drawing a distinction between the lizard-like amphibian he butchered on film, with those that face extinction thanks to poachin
Chinese students majoring in crayfish find easy employment
China’s first batch of students to major in crayfish have been snapped up by employers, months before they graduate. While most college seniors are in the middle of job search season, every student specialist preparing to graduate from a two-year course specializing in crayfish run by a vocational college has already been offered employment, the Beijing Youth Daily reported over the weekend. Jianghan Art Vocational College in Qianjiang city, central China, attracted national attention in 2017 when it launched the specialist crayfish school. Gong Dingrong, mayor of Qianjiang – which is China’s crayfish trading hub – said the course’s 130 students had all found well-paying jobs with large re
How America’s biggest Asian supermarket was born
US shoppers are spoiled for choice when it comes to grocery options. Massive supermarkets, discount outlets, mom and pop stores, high-end yuppie marts and ethnic markets of all stripes proliferate in even the smallest towns. But for many of the country’s 21 million Asian-Americans, grocery shopping has always meant one thing: a trip to 99 Ranch Market. The grocery store chain is the largest Asian supermarket chain in the US, ubiquitous in America’s largest Asian communities. Other markets may cater to the needs of niche Asian communities. But only 99 Ranch and its sole competitor – the Korean-American H Mart – serve the needs of the diverse breadth of the Asian-American community. But it was