Why pigs are so important to China

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Why pigs are so important to China


Of all the meat options, pork reigns king in China. To keep up with demand, China now rears (and eats) nearly 500 million pigs a year—more than half of all the swine in the whole world. However, the significance of pork goes deeper than culinary tastes. They have been at the centre of Chinese culture, cuisine and family life for thousands of years. So why are pigs so important to China?

Historically, sacrificial pigs featured in all forms of commemoration- including weddings, funerals and festivals. In Mandarin, the character for “family” is a pig under a roof. But up until recently, pork was pricey and scarce. Most people ate it only a few times a year.

As China became richer over the past three decades, meat became a symbol of wealth and consumption soared. Chinese people like pork best—so much so that…

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