Ready-made meals. In the Netherlands I could take pride in the fact I most often cooked myself. Now that I am too lazy, I can still say most food is sort of home-made. Or at least prepared in a kitchen?
This is of course not the whole story. I have recently started reading a book which does give more of an idea of the whole story. Of course most people with a marginal interest in food, would only deem it natural about half of the time. Especially if you see what is dished up on this side of the world.
China is a country with a long culinary history, like many Asian countries. However, the fact that there are really well-prepared, exquisitely flavored and beautifully presented dishes, does not mean you see them daily. In fact, it is quite funny that most restaurants use menus with pictures in them. The food is bound to disappoint in one way or another.
Balance is a delicate thing, and something that a lot of the things you might order in China are devoid of. Especially the Northeast region is famous for its large, heavily flavored dishes. Too salty, too sour, too sweet and too much. Order a drink in any cafe (whose service might vary, as described earlier) and it will be heavy on the sugar. Although I love my hot morning breakfasts, they are definitely not light. Fried, with a few heavy sweeps of soy sauce marinade and spicy peppers.
So the disbalance that I sometimes experience daily here, is definitely one of the reasons for doing a bit more sports. It is kind of paradoxical that on the one hand I eat more varied here, since I could not be bothered to make many of the dishes I eat myself, but not necessarily healthier. Whereas in the Netherlands you can feel a bit more controlled over your sugar intake for instance, that is almost impossible here. I have even heard people complaining that the toothpaste is too sweet. Sweet tooth would be the perfect brand name for that one!