A low-fat yogurt with rolled oats. A ham sandwich. A boiled egg with sliced cucumber and carrot sticks: Almost everyone knows these snacks that are so unexciting that they really don't even deserve a mention. In China, however, these simple meals have become a social media trend. Many people are fascinated by - or amused by - "white people food".
As reported by the "Guardian", among others, a video from Switzerland got the phenomenon rolling. The clip, uploaded to the Chinese platform Xiaohongshu, shows a woman preparing a snack on the train: a bag of lettuce, ham and mustard. Other users then reported their first experience with "White People Food". For example: "When I first came to Australia, I saw a woman buying raw, sliced mushrooms from the supermarket and sat down to eat them. I was speechless."
The South China Morning Post notes that the trend isn't explicitly about Western cuisine, rather the term "aims at the world of raw salads, boiled eggs, chicken breasts, sliced ham, and the odd piece of fruit." . In China, where people typically cook with lots of ingredients and spices, it's hard to imagine that Westerners actually enjoy eating these simple, tasteless meals. "The point of eating white people is to learn what it feels like to be dead," wrote a user on the Chinese network Weibo under a photo of crackers, cheese and ham.
Lee Twodog, who documents Trends in China on TikTok, explains the principles of "white people food" as follows: "You don't put feelings in your food," meaning the lack of spices. Enjoyment is not the priority anyway. In addition, the food requires little to no preparation: "Eat it raw, eat it whole".
Third, the meals are only for work days to provide you with nutrients and calories for the remaining hours. This pragmatic perspective has the advantage that it helps to separate work from free time. "When you come home, you eat your normal food and feel life again," says the Chinese.
"It's a way for me to always remember that I'm here to work," agrees one user. Another benefit some see in white people food is that it saves time. After all, you don't have to cook or laboriously pack celery sticks and canned tuna. Nevertheless, for most people, such creations remain more of the "lunch of suffering", as the trend is jokingly called. After all, the "suffering" is limited to the lunch break.
Quellen: "News", "South China Morning Post", "The Guardian"