10 little-known rules for eating Japanese food

Japanese food

RocketNews 24 (by Michelle Lynn Dinh):

Japanese food, called washoku in Japan, has just been registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, but you didn’t need an official declaration to know that sushi and tempura are absolutely delicious. But while enjoying Japanese food, have you ever mixed wasabi and soy sauce as a dip for your sushi? Or how about using your bowl as a chopstick rest? If so, you’ve committed an etiquette faux pas. Take a look at our list of 10 little-known rules for eating Japanese food and save yourself some embarrassment while enjoying a traditional Japanese meal.

1) Never use your hand to catch falling food

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Cupping your left hand under your food to catch any falling morsels or drippings is actually bad manners. Using tezara (手皿), literally “hand plate,” may seem polite, eliminating any errant spills or stains on the table top or your clothing, but this common eating habit should be avoided when sitting down to a Japanese meal.

2) Avoid using your teeth to bite food in half

In general, you should always try to eat things in one bite and avoid using your teeth to tear food into smaller pieces. Since it’s impolite to place half-eaten food back on a plate, cover your mouth with your hand when chewing big pieces of food.

3) Never mix wasabi into your soy sauce

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This improper eating method is seen in many restaurants all over the world, but should be avoided. Instead, place a small amount of wasabi directly on the piece of sashimi and then dip the fish into the soy sauce.

4) Don’t invert the lid of your bowl

Inverting the lid of your bowl is mistaken as a cue for being finished eating, however, the proper cue is to replace the lid on top of the bowl, just as it looked when brought to the table. This is because you could damage the lid by turning it upside down.

5) Don’t place clam shells in the bowl’s lid or on a separate plate

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When served clams or other shellfish, many people tend to put the empty shell in the lid of a bowl or on a separate plate once they’ve finished the meat. This is actually impolite and should be avoided; diners should instead leave the shell inside the bowl it was served in.

6) Don’t hold your chopsticks before picking up your bowl

When eating a Japanese meal, you should first pick up the bowl or vessel you will eat from and then pick up your chopsticks. When changing bowls, first put down your chopsticks, then change bowls. Only after you have picked up the second bowl should you pick up your chopsticks again.

7) Don’t hover or touch food without taking it, and always pause to eat your rice

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Not sure which food to eat first? Hovering your chopsticks back and forth over the side dishes before finally choosing is a breach of etiquette. It’s such bad manners that the practice has an official name, mayoibashi (迷い箸), literally “hesitating chopsticks.” Touching a food with your own chopsticks and then pulling them away without taking anything is called sorabashi (空箸), or “empty chopsticks,” and should also be avoided. You better pause to eat some rice between those side dishes, if you don’t you are committing utsuribashi (移り箸), literally “transition chopsticks.”

8) Never rest your chopsticks across the top of your bowl

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You’ve probably seen this done so many times it seems like the correct thing to do, but using your bowl as a chopstick rest is a breach of etiquette. If you want to put down your chopsticks, you should do so on a chopstick rest, or hashioki (箸置き). If none are available, use the wrapper the chopsticks came in to make your own. If a wrapper isn’t available, you should rest your chopsticks on the side of a tray or other similar item on the table.

9) Don’t use the opposite end of your chopsticks to take food from a communal plate

Since the backsides of the chopsticks are where your hands rest, it’s actually not a very clean area and shouldn’t be used to pick up food. Asking the waitstaff for an extra pair of chopsticks or politely saying, jika bashi de shitsurei shimasu (excuse me for using my own chopsticks), and taking food using your chopsticks is actually the proper thing to do.

10) Never raise your food above your mouth

Many people raise their food to about eye level while saying, itadakimasu before eating. However, proper etiquette states that you should never raise your food above your mouth, the highest level your chopsticks ever reach.

***Bonus***

Many people already know this, but you should never raise chopsticks to your mouth that are dripping with soup or liquid and never stab food with your chopsticks. You should also never leave your chopsticks standing straight out of your rice or pass food between chopsticks as these are reminiscent of funeral customs and seen as a bad omen if performed anywhere else.

Make a cute and simple origami chopstick rest with nothing but the wrapper they come in

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RocketNews 24:

So you’ve mastered the use of chopsticks and can proudly turn down the offer of a fork when you go to your favorite Asian restaurant. Many upscale eateries will probably supply you with a hashioki or chopstick rest to set the eating-end of your utensils on when not in use. At more casual restaurants, though, you have no choice but to lay them across your plate or setting them on a napkin so as not to touch the table’s surface.

Or, if you’re feeling crafty and would like to try your hand at some origami, you can use the paper wrapper your chopsticks came in to create a cute and useful peacock chopstick rest!

Even if you’re not a very crafty or dexterous person, if you know how to make a paper airplane, you’ve pretty much got the beginnings of this peacock origami down! And don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese – the visuals in this video are easy enough to follow along with.

A ‘Star Trek’ U.S.S. Enterprise sushi set that comes with Warp Trail Chopsticks

Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise Sushi Set

ThinkGeek has released a Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise Sushi Set that looks just like the iconic Starship U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 from Star Trek: The Original Series. It comes with a wooden base, the saucer of the ship opens up into a soy sauce dish, and the blue warp trails pull off to be used as chopsticks.

It is available to purchase online.

Uhura has a secret. It’s nothing bad, but it’s just nothing she’s shared with her crewmembers. Uhura loves Argoan sushi. Now, the food synthesizers can make an almost acceptable version, but nothing beats the real thing. And when Uhura can get 100% real Argoan sushi, she has a whole ritual involving how to eat it. And she always, ALWAYS, uses the Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise Sushi Set she was given for her first anniversary onboard.

And now you can have a Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise Sushi Set of your very own. Set it on your table, and it looks like a mid-warp U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 on a wooden base. The Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise Sushi Set is just the thing to elevate sushi… into the final frontier!

Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise Sushi Set

photos via ThinkGeek

Japanese Twitter users display their unusual family chopsticks

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RocketNews 24:

Whether it’s a ragged, lovingly stitched kitchen towel inherited from a grandparent, a banged-up knicknack collecting dust on a shelf, or a pair of old baby shoes, the seemingly mundane objects scattered around a house serve as a window into their owners’ hearts and minds. In the case of a family, any given eating utensil might go through the hands of children, siblings, parents, and even guests, collecting a little more history with every pass.

Japanese netizens recently charmed us all with a nostalgic glimpse of their family chopsticks, with designs ranging from Sailor Moon to Star Wars that positively ooze character. We take a look at the highlights below.

It’s common for family members in Japan to each have their own specific set of chopsticks. Some families may prefer pairs that match or share the same theme, but for those who are less concerned with having uniform eating utensils, individual sets of chopsticks mean being able to have a fun, unique pair that says something about the owner. Let’s take a look at some of the more unusual choices some people in Japan have made.

▼ There’s something unreal–not to mention fantastic–about the thought of digging in to dinner with katana chopsticks while drinking out of a Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head cup.

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 ▼ Neon Genesis Evangelion chopsticks; Ayanami Rei inside the entry plug

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 ▼ A Sailor Moon-themed pair

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 ▼ Shi… ten… hoil… Shi… ten…holl?

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This one requires a little explanation, especially for English speakers who might at first think this a case of mangled English (the glare over the last two letters adds to the confusion). The writing in question actually refers to Shitenhouji Junior High School, home of Rikkai Dai Fuzoku’s perennial rivals in the anime Prince of Tennis. The design on the chopsticks reflects the green and yellow outfits worn by the players from Shitenhouji. Now that’s dedication!

 ▼ “The first friend I made while watching a kabuki performance recommended these as a joke. But actually… I was intrigued and ended up buying them! Am I the only one who thinks these are pretty great???”

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Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. We love how the two chopsticks come together to form the makeup-sporting kabuki figure.

 ▼ “Here’s a picture of the Ishibakis’ chopsticks. Looks like Mom couldn’t get enough of these. It might be hard to make out on a phone, but the chopsticks have each of the four family members’ Chinese Zodiac signs! Cow, snake, horse, monkey lol. So cute!”

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 ▼ Perry the Platypus (a.k.a. Agent P) from Phineas and Ferb

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When this thoughtful poster’s parents both received bonuses at work, she decided to reward them with couples’ chopsticks. The note at the bottom reads, “Dad, Mom, thanks for everything.” These elegant chopsticks are made from urushi, a type of Japanese lacquer derived from Urushi trees.

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▼ Accompanying sound effects required

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ABC’s ‘Fresh off the Boat’ panel gets rather awkward

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The first question from a TV reporter is a jaw-dropper. The cast and producers of ABC’s new Asian-American comedy series Fresh off the Boat are gathered on a Pasadena hotel stage to take questions from roughly 200 members of the press. And the first comment to the panel is: “I love the Asian culture. And I was just talking about the chopsticks. And I just love all that. Will I get to see that? Or will it be more Americanized?

The rest of the assembled reporters — judging by the flurry of chopsticks-related “did that really just happen?” tweets flying out of the ballroom — are rather horrified. The panel tries to have fun with it.

Wait till Episode 5, it’s all about chopsticks,” showrunner Nahnatchka Khan quips. “The original title was Chopsticks,” adds actor Randall Park.

Another critic in the room follows up with a knowing hey-not-all-of-us-are-like-that joke by asking, “Will we be seeing fortune cookies?” which draws laughs and deflated some of the tensionat least briefly.

A boneheaded question or two tends to happen when a large group of reporters are sequestered in a hotel for nearly two weeks thinking of questions for panels of TV talent all day. Yet the reporter’s post-racial-America myth-busting comment suggests why a series like Fresh Off the Boat is long overduethis is the first Asian-American sitcom on a major broadcast network in more than 20 years, and is part of a new wave of refreshingly racially diverse (and ratings boosting) programming in primetime that includes ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, Black-ish and Fox’sEmpire.

Futuristic chopsticks can detect spoiled food, and will even count calories for you

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 Audrey Magazine:

Remember the good ol’ days when chopsticks were just used as utensils? Okay fine, we may still be in the “ol’ days” right now, but if the Chinese company Baidu succeeds, we may be kissing the reign of plain chopsticks goodbye.

Last week at an annual tech conference in Beijing, CEO Robin Li revealed that Baidu has been working to incorporate technology into our beloved utensils. To everyone’s amazement, he announced that these chopsticks of the future can detect the nutritional makeup of the food it touches. Apparently, this means the chopsticks can count calories, determine salt content and provide you with all sorts of information that you would want to know about your food before consuming it.

Many seem to be intrigued by the chopsticks’ ability to determine whether food has gone bad. The chopsticks can also be used as a thermometer to ensure that you are frying and cooking at the correct temperature.

So how can a pair of sticks tell us so much? Apparently the high-tech chopsticks will connect with an app that will give you all the information that the chopsticks detect.

By now, many of you are probably itching to get a pair of these. No more food poisoning for you! But unfortunately, these are nicknamed the chopsticks of the future for a reason. Apparently the chopsticks are still at the very early stage of development and all information regarding the price or release date of this product has yet to be announced.

Until then, check out this cool promo video:

KFC Russia serves up teriyaki chicken with chopsticks

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FoodBeast:

If you’re ever visiting Russia and you have a hankering for some good teriyaki chicken, you don’t have to make a trip down to Japan. Rather, KFC Russia is now offering a variety of teriyaki chicken-based items. Also, they’ll come with chopsticks!

The newly inducted items include the Teriyaki Ricebox and Teriyaki Bites. It might seem a bit odd eating teriyaki chicken with a plastic spork, which is why KFC offers chopsticks to accompany the two Japanese-inspired menu items. The bites are made with your regular KFC crispy (we’re guessing boneless) chicken breast chunks. They’re then covered and tossed in a teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds.

Fans of a lighter alternative can find the Teriyaki Bites in a Twister wrap or salad as well. The bites will be available at all participating KFC Russia locations.

 

Link

KFC now selling bento lunchboxes from exclusive chain of Japanese-style outlets

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

People in Japan love fried chicken. It’s so popular it’s become one of the staple ingredients in Japanese bento lunches, where it’s served in small, boneless pieces known as kara-age, and it’s in such high demand that you’ll find queues outside specialist kara-age joints around the country.

World-famous fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken has finally picked up on the popularity of the chicken piece with a new line-up of Japanese-style hole-in-the-wall outlets dedicated to serving up kara-age in a variety of KFC flavours. And that’s not all. They’ll even serve it up in a bento lunchbox too.

 

Known as Niwatorikaratei 「鶏から亭」, there are only four of these specialty outlets in Japan – three in Tokyo and one in Yokohama. We visited the store in Togoshi Ginza, a place that gets its name, incidentally, from the fact that it was built with bricks left over from the reconstruction of Ginza after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

 

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Offering take-out only, the small servings of chicken come in four varieties and are sold by weight. At 278 yen (US$2.73) per 100 grams, you can buy one piece of chicken for about 90-100 yen ($0.88 -$0.98).

 

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The four varieties available are Karauma (Delicious Spicy), Shouyu (Soy Sauce)  Hiden Supaisu (KFC Secret Spice) and Koshou Arare (Pepper and Roasted Rice).

 

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If you’re after something more substantial, then you can try the Japanese style bento lunch for 515 yen ($5.05), with your choice of three chicken pieces.

 

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We decided to buy the bento box and as the store was promoting their new seasonal product, the crunchy pepper and roasted rice chicken, we knew we had to give this a try.

 

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Offering a new culinary experience, the KFC bento box comes complete with a set of chopsticks.

 

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Just like traditional, store-bought bento boxes, the lunch box comes wrapped in paper bearing the company name and logo.

 

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The lunch box is two-tiered, with the main ingredients on top and a tray of rice underneath.

 

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Alongside the chicken pieces we have a scoop of Japanese-style potato salad and a square of Japanese omelette. These were remarkably tasty and a great accompaniment between bites of chicken.

 

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From left to right we have the Koshou Arare (Pepper and Roasted Rice), the Shouyu (Soy Sauce)  and the Karauma (Delicious Spicy). While the Soy Sauce chicken was delightfully salty and the Delicious Spicy could’ve done with a little more kick, our favourite was the Pepper and Roasted Rice, which had a fantastic crunchy texture, thanks to the crispy, puffed rice coating.

 

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While the chicken pieces had a distinct KFC flavour, the Japanese influence and packaging made this a unique bento-eating experience! If you’re in town and you come across the Colonel on one of these Japanese-style banners, be sure to pop in and give it a try!

 

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KFC Niwatori Karatei
1-6-17 Hiratsuka, Togoshi Ginza
Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
Ph: 03-5749-4848
Store Hours: 10:00-22:00

 

Check out this link:

KFC now selling bento lunchboxes from exclusive chain of Japanese-style outlets

Link

THE ULTIMATE SUSHI GUIDE: Everything You Need To Know About Japan’s Most Iconic Food

 

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Audrey:


History of Sushi

Over 2000 years ago, the first sushi was created. Of course, it was quite different back then. The original “sushi” was created in Southeast Asia simply as a way to preserve fish in fermented rice. The process of creating this original sushi, called narezushi, involved having salted fish wrapped in fermented rice for months and the rice would be thrown out when the fish was consumed.

When this became popular in Japan, the Japanese created a new dish, namanarewhich involved eating both the fish and rice. The fish was consumed before it changed flavor.

Finally, a third type of sushi was created. Haya-zushi is the form of sushi we are most familiar with. The fish and rice was assembled to be eaten at the same time and the rice was not being used for fermentation.

Our modern sushi was created by Hanaya Yohei as an early form of fast food.

 

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Proper Way To Eat Sushi :


1) Do not rub wooden chopsticks together before use. This may insult your host by saying their chopsticks are cheap.
2) Don’t feel pressured to use your chopsticks. It is also common to eat sushi using your hands. 
3) Sushi is meant to be consumed in one bite.
4) Only a light amount of soy sauce should be used. Otherwise you may insult the chef by indicating that the sushi did not have enough flavor.
5) The fish portion of the sushi should be dipped into the soy sauce and your sushi is consumed “rice up.”
6) Although popular in America, wasabi is not supposed to be mixed into the soy sauce.
7) Use the back end of your chopsticks to grab sushi from a communal plate.
8) Do not place the ginger on your sushi pieces. Ginger is meant to be eaten between different pieces of sushi to cleanse your palette for the next taste.

 

Different Types of Sushi:
Maki (1)
Makizushi
Cylinder-shaped sushi that is rolled up with a bamboo matt and typically wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) and cut into pieces. There was various types of Makizuki depending on the ingredients inside as well as the size of the roll.

tema
Temaki
Another form of Makizuki, but it doesn’t quite look like the other variations. Instead of a cylinder shape, it is created with nori in a cone shape and stuffed with ingredients.

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Uramaki
Uramaki is a Western-style of sushi which has rice on the outside and nori/other ingredients on the inside. This was created in the United States as a way of visually hiding the seaweed.

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Nigirizushi
Nigiri is hand formed. It is a mound of rice with a slice of fish/seafood placed on top.

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Shashimi
Raw fish served without rice.

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Gunkanmaki
An oval mound of rice wrapped in nori and topped with soft, loose or fine-chopped ingredient.

 


jiro
“World’s Best Sushi Restaurant”
Tokyo’s famed restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro is said to have the best sushi in the world. The restaurant is owned and operated by 88-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono who is the very first sushi chef in the world to receive three Michelin stars. The sushi gathered so much attention that it became the focus of a 2011 documentary called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”

Reservations must be made months in advance and customers must be prepared to dish out quite a bit of money. The 20-course “Chef’s Recommended Special Course” is about $300. While that’s a lot of money for one meal, customers always seem satisfied. They argue that the meal is an experience and an art.

Chopsticks Tutorial :

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Check out this link:

 THE ULTIMATE SUSHI GUIDE: Everything You Need To Know About Japan’s Most Iconic Food

 

Link

16 facts about China that will blow your mind

 

RocketNews 24/Business Insider:

 

The vast scale of China’s landmass and its population means that China produces and consumes copious amounts of natural resources and food. It also means that China houses a large chunk of the world’s billionaires. We dug around to find some interesting statistics. Did you know that China’s railway lines could loop around earth twice? Here are some interesting facts about the world’s second-largest economy, which could soon eclipse the U.S. to become the world’s largest this year.

 

Twenty million trees are cut every year to meet Chinese demand for chopsticks.

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China goes through 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks a year. The chopsticks are 1cm-by-0.5 centimeters (cms) and 20 cms long and can cover Tiananmen Square over 360 times. The trees that are cut down are around 20 years old.

 

China’s railway lines could loop around Earth twice.

16 Facts About China That Will Blow Your Mind3From Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, The Lost Worlds Of Planet Earth

The northern ice cap creeps over earth.

China’s railway length, under operation, totals 93,000 kilometers. The Earth, meanwhile,  is 40,075 kilometers in circumference.

 

China’s coal reserves weigh as much as 575 million blue whales.

At 115 billion tons, China has the world’s third-largest proven coal reserves. A blue whale, the largest animals to have lived, are believed to weigh 200 tons or more. China accounts for 46% of global coal production and 49% of global coal consumption.

 

In two years, China produced more cement than the U.S. did in the 20th century.

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China is the world’s largest cement producer and it produces and consumes about 60% of global cement.

 

Smoking kills 1 million Chinese every year.

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That’s more than the entire population of Cyprus (~865,000). The World Health Organization estimates that by 2050, smoking will kill 3 million Chinese each year.

 

China’s natural gas reserves are equivalent to about 1.24 billion Olympic-size swimming pools.

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At 109.3 trillion cubic feet, China has the world’s 13th-largest proven natural gas reserves. An Olympic-size swimming pool reportedly has a volume of 88,000 cubic feet.

 

China’s annual instant-noodle consumption is enough to feed all of Algeria three meals a day for a year.

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China consumed 42.5 billion packs of instant noodles in 2011. Algeria has a population of 38.7 million people.

 

China eats about 5,200 Eiffel towers’ worth of pork a year.

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A vendor cuts up a piece of pork in her stall at a market in Beijing, January 11, 2013.

China consumed 52 million tons of pork in 2012 and 51.6 million tons in 2011. The Eiffel Tower is reported to weigh 10,000 tons.

 

China’s 20 richest people have a combined net worth of $145.1 billion, which is larger than Hungary’s GDP.

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Hungary has a nominal GDP of $124 billion.

 

Over 30 million people in China live in caves: that’s more than the population of Saudi Arabia.

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A man smokes at the door of his cave-room in Yuncheng, Shanxi province.

Many of China’s cave-dwellers live in the Shaanxi province. Chinese president Xi Jinping reportedly lived in a cave when he was exiled to Shaanxi province during the Cultural Revolution.

 

About 8 billion pairs of socks are made annually in China’s Datang District, also known as sock city.

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Datang, Zhuji produces 8 billion pairs of socks a year, which is equivalent to about a pair of socks per person on the planet in 2011.

 

China’s suicide rate is more than double that of the U.S.

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China has a suicide rate of about 22.2 deaths per 100,000 people. This compares to 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people in the U.S.

 

China is close in size to the continental U.S. but has just one time zone.

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Beijing Standard Time is China’s only time zone. China used to have five different time zones, but in 1949, Chairman Mao decided to have just one to promote national unity. This means that in parts of China the sun can rise as late as 10 a.m.

 

China’s food system feeds nearly 25% of the global population on just 7% of its arable land.

China’s total farm output, a broad measure of food churned out, has tripled since 1978. The ramp-up in livestock production in particular is even more dizzying—it rose by a factor of five,” reports Tom Philpott at Mother Jones.

 

Chinese consumer spending will triple by 2020.

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Chinese consumer spending is projected to rise from $2.03 trillion in 2010 to $6.18 trillion annually in 2020. China will be the top global luxury market at $245 billion.

 

Half of the world’s pigs reside in China.

China is the world’s largest pork consumer, so it’s no surprise that 475 million, or half of the world’s pigs reside there.

 

 

Check out this link:

 

16 facts about China that will blow your mind