- The Chinese Internet is discovering healthy eating and is not impressed.
- People are trying “white people food” or European-inspired vegetarian meals.
- One blogger called “white food” the “lunch of suffering.”
People in China are joining a new trend to express how boring their lives are by imitating the way Europeans eat lunch.
Chinese blogs and social media are inundated with people trying “white people’s food,” or vegetarian meals mixed with whatever’s in the fridge.
They are not necessarily calling for Western cuisine. Rather, the term points to the world of raw salads, boiled eggs, chicken breast, sliced ham, and the occasional fruit.
That may sound like a simple and healthy lunch in another part of the world, but for the average Weibo user, it’s absolute pittance.
“The whole point of white food is to learn what it feels like to be dead, but I took two bites and it was so bad it made me realize how alive I am.” wrote a sign that he tried a serving of crackers, cheese and ham.
“Ah, the intoxicating white food,” wrote another sarcastically. post a photo of sliced tomatoes and a banana.
The trend has come to represent a grudging acceptance of simple food by people striving to make it in the grueling marketplace of China. “996” work culture.
Some posters, who compared preparing light meals to cooking or buying Chinese dishes, said the trend saves them time, money and loads of calories. It helped them realize that the point of eating is simply to stay alive, they said.
“The goal of self-cooking is, of course, to taste bad but still be healthy.” wrote one user, showing two boiled eggs in a tin. “As long as you have the nutrients, it’s good. Being alive is good.”
One blogger wrote a particularly scathing review on a diet of broccoli, chicken, brown rice, and raw vegetables, calling “white people’s food” the “lunch of suffering.”
“It’s so confusing and outrageous to eat, it’s so illegal and outrageous,” they complained.
The origins of the stereotype can be traced in part to an early fascination with healthy eating in Europe.
A video posted on May 28 by a Chinese woman in Switzerland it showed a European woman preparing her lunch on a train with just a bag of lettuce and slices of ham.
“The tricks of the locals always surprise me in new ways,” the poster wrote.
and an article from Yangtze Evening News documented several Chinese expats in Europe similarly posting about their local colleagues’ lunches.
“Can they already generate their own energy without eating?” wrote one person living in Denmark, who discovered that a co-worker had only eaten carrots and some spinach.
“My colleague’s lunch hasn’t changed in over ten years, which is a handful of porridge mixed with low-fat yoghurt, with half an apple and a carrot,” wrote another expat living in Germany.
Not everyone is convinced of the supposed benefits of “white people’s food.”
“If such food is to prolong life, what is the meaning of life?” wrote a commenter.