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Solo Dining Is No Longer Taboo in China

Thanks to an online video series and new cookbook.


While many diners stateside have expounded upon the joys of eating out solo, in China, eating alone still remains relatively taboo — though that stigma is quickly changing. According to the Wall Street Journal, the act of eating together "is at the centerpiece of culture" in China. Now, however, as China's demographics shift, eating together is more challenging. Many young Chinese citizens find themselves dining alone after moving from small towns to big cities for jobs. This has inspired one woman to help her fellow citizens learn to enjoy dining alone.

To help ease the discomfort of having to engage in this culturally shunned activity, Yanni Cai quit her job to create a series of online videos "dedicated to the art of cooking for yourself," called Eating Alone. The show features nonprofessional chefs "who enjoy eating alone" sharing recipes and cooking methods in three-minute episodes. The series has received over seven million views. It has even lead to a cookbook also called Eating Alone that was published last month. Cai tells the WSJ that she "just wants to tell people that no matter whether you are alone or should have a good meal."

Does this mean China will soon be ready for Een Maal, the Amsterdam-based pop-up restaurant that only offers tables for one?

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