China-focused Satire, Social Commentary, Comics and More

Stuff People Ingest Voluntarily episode 6


Unlike the US, where, thanks to the ubiquitous drive-through, people can eat filth in secret and on-the-go, the Chinese flock (perhaps the only manner in which they travel) to McDonald’s (or the other members of the fast-food triad – Kentucky-Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut) with no sense of dietary shame.

Passing by this location, we got the sense that we had wandered unwittingly into some sort of carnival. Notice the bouquet of balloons being peddled in the entryway. Intrigued – as we often are – by the loud and bustling scene, we slipped inside with a crowd, finding something quite unlike the depressing roadside burger houses we’ve so often used as rest stops. Here in this over-processed fry castle was evidence of all the excess of a burgeoning middle-class – most of all that unmistakable glaze of consumption, found in the eyes of a young boy.

We spotted him amidst the swarm – no more than seven, in many ways, a typical Chinese youngster, with his close-cropped black hair, dirty fingernails, and snug corduroy pants. His baby snaggle-teeth chomped ferociously on a handful of french fries as we watched a dribble of grease make its way carefully around the curvature of his wide rosy cheek, succumb to gravity and fall onto his protruding bulge of a belly. As the boy yelled at his mother for more, spraying the remnants of a bite unfinished, his narrow black eyes caught our stare and his tone changed to a higher, more excited pitch, “Lao Wai!” he shouted, pointing at us. As the restaurant turned to look, so did we, recognizing it as our cue to leave.

We stepped back into the real world of jackhammers and honking horns, marveling at the obvious embrace of “American” food abroad and laughing aloud at the irony of another discernible difference: Here the people are eating an imported food and wearing domestic clothing; meanwhile, in America, the people eat the same food, but it is considered local fare, and wear the same clothes but they are imported! This beautiful cross-culture image of a particular brand of consumerism is brought to you by The American Processed Food Conglomerate.

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