Photos: What’s on lunch plate of Chinese people?

August 18, 2011Jing Gao4 Comments, , , , , , ,


What do you have for lunch? Grab a bottle of coffee and a slice of cake at Starbucks? Put away a Panda Express combo with hot and sour soup? Or clink glasses with your business clients over a lavish feast? Let’s take a look at what Chinese from all walks of life eat and how much they spend. (Photos and captions picked from NetEase)


Zhang Jingjing, 6th grader. Father is a porter carrying loads. Mother is a sanitation worker.


Shan Erzai, porter. Makes over 1,000 yuan (US$160) a month. Eats one-meat-one-veggie combo with a bottle of beer for 5 yuan ($0.80). lunch04

Dong Song’e, sanitation worker. Her monthly pay varies and depends on circumstances. She cooks and brings her own lunch.


Shu Yong, owner of a newsstand, earns around 3,000 yuan ($460) a month. His lunch is taken care of by his wife with love.


Xu Yijing, owner of a boutique. Her monthly income varies with the market. Eats zongzi (pyramid-shaped rice dumpling) with a bottle of milk tea.


Li Zirui, graduating senior high school student. Her monthly allowance is 600 ($92). She spends 7 yuan ($1.10) on one-meat-one-veggie steamed combo. lunch09

Li Guo, police officer, makes 2,000 yuan ($307) a month. He dines at the police canteen.


Little Jie (pseudonym), white-collar worker, makes 3,000 yuan ($460) each month. His lunch is made up of two portions of meat, one portion of veggie and a can of coke.


Luo Jun, CEO of an animation production studio, earns about 8,000 yuan ($1,230) a month. His lunch is a 12-yuan one-meat-one-veggie combo.


Huang Min, deputy department head at a privately owned small enterprise, makes somewhere between 3,000 to 4,000 yuan ($460 – 615) a month. His lunch, including one meat, two veggies and a bottle of yogurt, costs 10 yuan.


Wang Ruike, 47, earns as much as a few dozen thousand yuan a month in busy season and several thousand yuan in slack season. He spends 40 yuan ($6) on pasta and a cup of tea.

Selected comments from Sina Microblog:

Sam_w1987 You can’t get food at such a price in Shanghai. At least not on Nanjing Road. (Jing: Nanjing Road is Shanghai’s as well as China’s busiest thoroughfare with several five star hotels, upscale shopping centers, restaurants and prime office buildings.)

黑色的鱼 F**k, as a ‘migrant worker in the IT industry,’ (Jing: Chinese slang for a programmer) my lunch is up to the same standard as a CEO? Am I being too extravagant?

夏泉之乎者 (I am) Little Xia, a public servant. (I) make 2,000 yuan a month. (I) go to the public canteen for lunch. One meat and two veggies for 8 yuan.

胡子剪径 I, the worthless person, earn 2 to 3 thousand a month. My lunch is often worth over a thousand – as reception for officials. Haha.

cloudy爱喝摩卡 Why a CEO only makes 8,000 yuan ($1,230)? Should mention which city it is~~

咪兔_子 I doubt it too. Why all of them make so little? Police officer 2,000?? CEO only 8,000??? Department head 3 to 4 thousand?? I don’t believe it anyway…

赵友友sam Why am I feeling so sad. Everyone’s life is not easy. When can we slow down and go from cramming our stomach with food to savoring food?

幽灵宫主世界 I don’t think the consumer prices nowadays are this low. Even 100 grams of noodles can cost 7 yuan.

史小玉挺小鲍 5 yuan can buy one meat and one veggie!!! That would be amazing…

哈贝达斯 These days with such a price you can never get these to eat…One meat and one veggie for 10 yuan, how is that possible…

循着海岸线奔跑 Can’t be full even after spending 15 yuan on lunch.

莫笑青衫凌乱 Eating takeout at my company…8 yuan fried rice…

宣四吧先 All these people belong to the same social class: lower middle class.

零零发 Vice president: five bowls of noodles served with special soybean paste, ten steamed buns, cucumber, yam and sliced potato served cold with dressing. Total: 79. (Jing’s note: It alludes to U.S. vice president Joseph Biden’s lunch at a Beijing restaurant on August 18.)

刘米高围脖 There incomes vary greatly, but their expenses on lunch are not that much different.

N_N孔导 Can it be said that (the city of) Dalian is carrying out a pricing plan in line with Mars? My lunch never costs less than 10!

i_JsC The simplest life is the most touching!~ //@加菲的悄悄话:We should know that some people’s life is very hard.

梁文武江鸟 Kids should be eating lunch boxes.

Related articles:

4 comments to “Photos: What’s on lunch plate of Chinese people?”

  1. A Critic | August 19, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    “Let’s take a look at what do Chinese from all walks of life eat”

    FYI, the word “do” doesn’t fit in this sentence.

    • Chia-fu Chen | August 19, 2011 | Permalink Reply

      Corrected. Wrote in a hurry. Sorry for our mistake and thank you for your comment.

  2. Cultural Imperialist | August 19, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    In an article titled "Photos: What’s on lunch plate of Chinese people?", it would have been nice if there'd been, you know, more actual photos and info on what food people were eating, rather than just seeing a face and (the outside of) a bowl with captions like "she brings her own lunch"… without actually saying what the lunch is.

    • Nick | August 23, 2011 | Permalink Reply

      I agree, that would further interest me as well. As a US resident, I want to know how different Chinese cuisine is in China versus the what we consume here

Leave a Reply