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More Food Choices, More Beautiful Life
"Chicken hamburger and chocolate milk tea", says a fashionably dressed Tibetan girl Digi in a Beijing western fast-food restaurant.

Just graduated from the Beijing-based Central University for Nationalities, Digi says that time-saving is the main reason for her daily patronage of western fast-food outlets.

"Chinese society now has a fast-lane which encourages efficiency. So time becomes valuable and more people have started to choose fast-food to save time", says Digi.

The girl, in her twenties, says that she started to favor foods provided by MacDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) when she was at university in Beijing.

When asked why she was not eating at home, Digi said that family food preferences vary so much that they seldom eat together.

Digi's grandfather used to be a serf and his favorite food is ciba a traditional Tibetan glutinous rice cake, used for every meal before Tibetan's liberation half a century ago. Since her grandfather can have as much ciba as he likes, he chooses to eat ciba and meat only.

Digi's parents, born after the Tibetan liberation, are very much adapted to foods from various regions in China. Rice is a must in their daily diet.

Much luckier than their elders, Tibetan young people such as Digi are exposed to food featuring flavors from all parts of the world.

Although currently there are no branches of MacDonald's or KFC in Tibet, many western restaurants selling food like hamburgers and fried potato chips have opened in the tableland city.

Statistics show that there are now approximately twenty fast-food restaurants operating in Tibet. Half of these provide western foods. Meanwhile, traditional Tibetan food has become popular with foreign visitors.

"Many choices make life beautiful," says Digi.

(Xinhua News Agency 10/14/2001)

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