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Why Pork is a Synonym for Meat

China consumes far more pork than any other country, and unsurprisingly has the largest pig population in the world (700 million head, says one source). While the sales growth of other types of meat is now faster, pork still accounts for 70 percent of all meat eaten. Pork so dominates the meat market that if a dish name includes the word meat, you can be fairly certain that pork is what is meant. The famous Hangzhou dish dongpo pork, for instance, is known as dongpo meat (東坡肉 dongpo rou) in Chinese. Pork is a standard ingredient in fried rice. Pork fried rice is written simply as fried rice in Chinese, since pork is assumed to be in the dish. If fried rice contains less run-of-the-mill meats, those will be specified – chicken fried rice or beef fried rice, for example. Alongside these dishes, standard fried rice might be called meat fried rice (rou si chao fan), just to distinguish it more clearly from the other fried rice dishes on the menu. But no Chinese would mistake rou or 'meat' for anything other than pork.

















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