Chinese soldiers’ ‘boring’, ‘tasteless’ food rations come under fire

Article in the PLA’s official newspaper says many troops bring their own grub during training exercises because the official rations taste so bad

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 3:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 5:55pm

China’s military has encountered another problem as it attempts to weed out corruption and modernise it fighting forces – its soldiers don’t like their food.

A report in the PLA Daily newspaper has revealed that most troops dislike the ration packs they are given during military exercises and drills and bring along their own grub instead.

A survey was carried out among troops of one the PLA’s ration packs containing beef and vegetables and “58 per cent of the soldiers found a strong need to improve its taste, which is not only boring but also affects their appetite”, the report said.

It also gave the example of a soldier, Xu Dongdong, who took part in a Guangzhou military area command drill, but had prepared his own bread and pork sausages so he did not have to eat his official rations.

“It is nothing unusual for soldiers like Xu to bring their own handy food to field training or military drills,” the report said.

Xu was quoted as saying that troops often prepare their own snacks for training exercises.

“We all come from different places, either in the north or the south and food served at our posts has different flavours, but ration packs tend to be tasteless,” he said.

PLA rations packs often contain high energy foods, such self-heated instant rice or noodles and luncheon meat.

A leader of one military exercise was quoted as saying, however, that the PLA should make no effort to cater to the taste buds of its troops.

They “must train themselves to adapt to such kinds of food”, he said.

But Yu Jifu, an assistant officer at the Guangzhou command’s supply department, said there was a need to prepare ration packs with different flavours and foods for various types of military mission.

For example, on missions in desert areas, dried food ration packs would only make the solders thirstier, he said.

More importantly, said Yu, the authorities must research and develop rations that soldiers actually want to eat.

Chinese ration packs pale in comparison with the food on offer to troops elsewhere in the world.

US army packs can includes almond cake, cranberries, spiced apple cider and peanut butter and crackers.

British troops can enjoy chicken tikka masala and vegetarian pasta, while Canadians have the choice of salmon fillet with Tuscan sauce or vegetarian couscous for their mail meal.