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Enter the potato

By

Qiang Xiaoji and B.W.Liou

( China Daily )
Updated: 2015-08-21 07:37:44

Enter the potato

Many ways of potatoes: Restaurants like Morton's Chicago Steakhouse are serving up spuds in many forms across China. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Dinner tables in China, circa 2020, are going to be downright starchy. Chinese people will be choosing from rice, wheat noodles, mantou (steamed bread), corn porridge, bing (flattened bread), creamy mashed potatoes and cheesy potato gratin. Wait, what?

You didn't hear? According to China's Ministry of Agriculture, in six years, half of the annual production of potatoes will be for domestic consumption as a staple food, which sounds like the strangest thing if you consider the Chinese palate. Most Chinese consume the potato as a dish (think tudou si, or stir-fried potato strings), or as a complement within a plate of meat, such as the Xinjiang specialty da pan ji.

Now imagine a bed of french fries underneath a slab of hong shao rou (braised pork belly). That doesn't sound so bad ... Or a mound of warm potato salad and a slathering of gong bao ji ding (Kung Pao chicken). Maybe we're onto something here.

Soon, we'll be seeing unique concoctions of baked potatoes and potato pancakes on restaurant menus and in home kitchens. Tater Tots and ...

"We're trying to process it into bread, steamed bun and noodles," says Pan Wenbo at the agriculture ministry.

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