Updated: 2013-03-06 07:08

(China Daily)

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The secret of junk food's success

My daughter has a penchant for junk food. She is just like millions of other Chinese youngsters who love Western junk food.

Chatting leisurely in a low voice, surfing the Internet, biting into a Big Mac, all with soft Western music playing in the background - the atmosphere couldn't be more romantic and catching for youngsters. It is far removed from our familiar Chinese snack bars. Unlike Chinese restaurants, it is hard to find people shouting, spitting or littering in Western fast food outlets.

In Western restaurants, you will not find unkempt and disheveled people in dirty, worn out clothes, who are a common sight in low-end Huimian (braised noodle) shops.

All of these may be cited as reasons for the popularity of Western food (especially fast food) in China.

But give it a rethink and you'll find the secret behind all this beauty: price. Few low-income people can afford the expensive Western food. They have to depend on cheap Chinese food such as Huimian. Many such people do talk loudly, and might also spit and litter, which drive youths from well-to-do families away from Chinese eateries.

But where do such youths go? To restaurants serving Western food, of course. The thrifty and health-conscious, however, will not visit junk food outlets. The poor will not go to either, because they cannot afford to pay.

A Little Boat, on China Daily's blog

(China Daily 03/06/2013 page10)