One of the things that always strikes me in China is how remarkably well so many people eat. It’s ironic that so many westerners think of Chinese food as being unhealthy – all those negative images of deep-fried food in gloopy sauces laden with MSG. Restaurant food is often richer, with more meat and fish, more oil and fewer vegetables, but home cooking tends to be centred on grains and vegetables, with small amounts of meat here and there.
And look, to the left and below, at what I found builders on a construction site eating when I visited Beijing in March: a widerange of fresh vegetables, freshly-cooked, some meat and beancurd, plenty of rice… Â It’s hard to imagine British builders eating so healthily during their lunchbreaks. And yesterday, on the expressway to Hangzhou, my bus stopped at a service station where the refreshments on offer were mainly many different kinds of fresh fruit, and steaming zongzi (leaf-wrapped glutinous rice parcels) with a variety of fillings. Again, I couldn’t help comparing this kind of thing with the packaged foods sold at British petrol stations and motorway services… Â Â