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China Is No Longer Cheese-less

Illustration of cheese coming out of a Chinese takeout container

China has never been particularly known for cheesy cuisine—authentic dishes are all sans curds, like Peking duck, dumpling soup, and scallion pancakes. Even though many countries around the world have mozzarella as a staple in their food pyramids, Chinese citizens have never jumped on the wagon.

Liu Yang has another vision for the country. The food entrepreneur has been trying for years to popularize cheese. After he fell in love with fromage in France, he came back home to produce some camembert himself. He opened his own two-room shop near Beijing to try and sell his 13 self-made cheeses.

Since opening, convincing his customers to actually try cheese in the first place has been a struggle. Nevertheless, Yang might have a saving grace in Pizza Hut. The New York Times reports that with an growing desire for American fast-food cuisine, some Chinese folks are getting interested in buying their own wedges. Yang now sells around 33 pounds a day.

Natives in the country are flocking to American restaurants, averaging attendance at a chain once a week. McDonalds, known for their Big Macs with American cheese, is planning on opening 1,000 stores within the next five years.

This fascination in American dishes has driven sales of cheese outside of restaurants. Similar to Yang’s recent success, grocery stores are now displaying cheese for fascinated customers—cheese sales have risen 70 percent during the last few years.

Becca McGilloway

Becca McGilloway studied Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College. When she isn't on the hunt for the latest cheese-permeated vegetarian recipe on Pinterest, she's probably binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.