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Soldiers' food tasty, practical
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-03-24 23:41

How does the food in a Chinese soldier's knapsack taste when he is on march?

"Well, not bad," answered a group of foreign military attaches with their thumbs up Thursday in Beijing after tasting the Chinese army's newest rations.

Two chefs from an army unit in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region join a cooking contest in a training base in Yinchuan in this July 25, 2004 photo. [newsphoto]
A lot more goes into soldiering food than into an average `niurou mian.'

The provisions have to be lightweight as well as durable and not taste awful, as people generally imagine.

The newly developed self-heating fried rice and noodles were praised by the military officers who said the rations satisfied both their stomachs and their taste buds.

Even the improved compressed cereal has become a tasty snack.

"Well, Chinese food is always good," said Frank Miller, a colonel from the US Embassy in China.

He said back in his country the staple food for soldiers includes bread, sandwiches and noodles.

At the invitation of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defence, 84 foreign military attaches from 57 countries visited the Quartermaster Equipment Institute of General Logistics Department of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Thursday.

The institute focuses on research, development and pilot manufacturing of military equipment such as rations, uniform, and body armour.

Some say that military uniforms set apart those who wear them. For the group of attaches, that feeling was highlighted during a visit to the protective clothing and material laboratory of the institute.

"It was amazing," said Colonel Basnyat from the Nepalese Embassy in China, who was impressed by the strict procedures used to test the material.

"The uniform I am wearing now is made in China and I now know it has very good and special quality," he said. The Nepalese Government began to import its uniforms a couple of years ago.

Miller, from the United States, said high technology supports the institute's work.

The visit was the first by foreign guests to the protective clothing and material laboratory.

Hwang Ho-Sung from the Republic of Korea said he was not only happy to join the tour but looked forward to similar events in the future.

The Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defence started organizing visits to both army organizations and to observe military exercises.

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