Young Chinese choose bionic food / Lifestyle / Nezavisimaya Gazeta

China’s artificial food market is valued at billions of yuan

Health food establishments are proliferating in Beijing.

But no! Just not Chinese food! Such a reaction can often be heard from those who have had a negative experience of consuming popular Chinese dishes both in Russia and around the world. In confirmation of emotional rejection, they usually list those signs of a “Chinese” celebration that categorically do not suit lovers of restrictive diet and “healthy eating”.

And really, what is usually ordered from the Chinese menu? Gongbao jiding – “chicken with nuts”, ie meat-producing chicken with undoubtedly harmful peanuts. Mapo doufu – spicy tofu from “Freckled Auntie”, extremely rich in chili peppers, yuxiang zhousi – pork in “fish” sauce – solid overcooked pepper. Well, baos are probably right – steamed donuts with different fillings, but after all, flour! And yes, the stuffing is weird. Noodles – again floury with spicy sauces. And the favorite dish of the leader of the Chinese revolution, Mao Zedong, is Hongshao Ru, meaning the meat is fried until it is red, it is nothing more than pieces of pork cooked with spices. Oil, pepper, fat, starch, gluten, monosodium glutamate and other nitrates mixed with nitrite. Worse than McDonalds!

Try to argue that the traditional Middle Kingdom table is infinitely richer and more varied than Chinese fast food, often enriched, incidentally, with ketchup and other dubious “gifts” of Western low cuisine. That there are many light, completely dietary dishes. That the principles of harmonious seasonality and purely territorial approach have been the basis of the Chinese diet since antiquity, and that the Chinese generally practice the concept of food as medicine for many centuries, if not millennia.

Alas, the inhabitants of the Middle State themselves, especially the young inhabitants of the big cities who are advanced in matters of food, abandon the traditional gastronomic heritage, abandon the good old recipes and wander in a sad crowd of settlers or still newcomers. shipin – bionic, artificial food.

Let’s be fair: food, like everything in this fast paced world, is changing. Even the great Confucius (551-479 BC), who was very selective in the quality and serving of food, complained that, they say, traditions disappear like river water. The famous dishes mentioned above did not appear on the Chinese table during the time of the “Teacher of the Ten Thousand Generations”, but only somewhere in the second half of the 19th – early 20th century.

Yes, and try to feed nearly one and a half billion people with ordinary food, even announcing a food-saving campaign and an “empty dish” policy, as is now the case in China, where they have decided to boost food security in this way. Thus, Yuan Longping, a farming scientist who recently died at the age of 91, known to every Chinese as the “father of rice”, who developed the technology for growing high-yield hybrid cereals, became a national hero. And where without genetically modified products?

Back in the 1950s, science fiction writer Chi Shuchan described a pig that weighed more than 10 tons in the story The Elephant with a Short Trunk. And in 1976, in the science fiction short film “Protein from Oil,” director Ye Yongli clearly portrayed the process of converting cheap carbohydrates into food. In Chi Fan’s book “Eggs Under the Car”, people in a specialized factory using smart units produce eggs that are indistinguishable from chicken in appearance and content and to which, if necessary, various additives can already be added to stage. of the “hatching” machine.

They are on the shelves of supermarkets
both formal and artificial food.
Photo by Artem Ivanov

So in literature and art, machines make eggs. But in fact, the process is most often based on the production of a single-celled protein, so to speak, in non-agricultural ways. That is, it is such a germic food. The production of single-celled microorganisms by fermentation, scientists explain, makes it possible to obtain extremely rich single-celled proteins. Under the right conditions, 500 kg of live bacteria can produce 1250 kg of single-celled protein per day, while a 500 kg cow can “synthesize” only 0.5 kg of protein per day.

Algae processing technologies are also widely used. Some time ago, the Chinese press reported as promising developments on the experiments of the Shanghai Institute, which produced a “tasty and nutritious” paste from the common worm – the larvae of the bellows. Excellent, by the way, bait for fishing. The fish eats with pleasure, and the person is worse?

But connoisseurs (often connoisseurs) of ersatz fresh food do not delve into such scientific and industrial savagery, hurrying to take a look at short commercials in packages that say “high in protein”. “Our product meets the minimum daily requirement of nutrients, causing a feeling of satiety with virtually no risk of weight gain,” promises an advertisement in a beautiful plastic bottle.

Some false food products even promise negative weight gain, ie sustainable weight loss for the consumer. With regular consumption of the product, of course.

Protein shakes and snacks are popular. In addition to the effect of weight loss, they allow you to minimize time for eating. And indeed, if the food does not have real content, then is it worth prolonging the process of consuming it? Note that the reduction in eating time is in some ways not accompanied by a reduction in price: fake lobsters are by no means cheap!

Some people like artificial food, others do not. Recommendations for those who want (do not want) to eat “fake products” have appeared on Chinese social networks. Eggs, for example, need to be shaken. The fake ones will hear the sound of the yolk flowing inside. The eggs themselves have a slightly more intense color. Moreover “a weak smell of fish” …

There is artificial rice, shrimp, soy, lobster, meat, milk and even shark fins on the market. The latter can only be welcomed: sharks, whose number has been significantly reduced due to the high cost of the delicacy, will be more complete. But you should forget about the delicious soup. At least in its classic version.

It once seemed that the pleasure of eating would be the last thing the Chinese would leave in life. One no. Protein shakes, yogurts and snacks are touted as the food of the future, a way to get full quickly or create a sense of it, allowing you to control your weight effectively. The ersatz food market, judging by the statistics, is estimated at billions of yuan.

We look at Baidu – the leading Chinese search engine. 33.5 million articles and ads appear for the “artificial food” query. A fashionable food blogger assures that “artificial food has already become mainstream food”. “Vegetarian chickens”, protein duck, imitation sausage are also offered here.

The traditional food is gone. Today you will not find the famous lunkhudou on the menu – “The Battle of the Tiger with the Dragon”, which was made from a wild beaver with a snake. During the day with fire you will not find roasted bamboo rat, which in southern China was revered as a healing dish. But in the end, not only the dishes themselves are forgotten – the proverbial “Chinese ceremonies” included in the proverb do not fit the modern use of catering. The worship of ancestors in the ancient Buddhist festival of remembrance – Qingming (Pure Light), which is celebrated on April 3-5 and, according to the classics, predicts a family picnic in nature, is now being transmitted on the Internet and social networks, where they have appeared iconic “ancestral temples”. There you can light “smoking candles” in front of the memorial plaques of the deceased, put “fruits of sacrifice” and even arrange a proper “feast”.

In Beijing’s Sanlitun and Shichahai districts, popular with young people, ancient taverns and greedy shops are closing, but “protein cafes” and “health food” shops are proliferating.

“And what? Ersatz food may not be so delicious, but for me, in my profession, it’s more important to maintain my figure,” says a visitor over a glass of fan cocktails. clearly surgically “improved” eye shape and nose shape.However, he does not name his profession.And there are too many such pale girls, either from skin bleach or from artificial food, around.

The brave new world promised by science fiction writers seems to have already arrived.


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