How much do the Chinese love pork?
Pork is the most popular meat in the Chinese diet. The Chinese character for "pig" and its related characters also appeared early in the earliest batch of Chinese characters.
China is the world's largest producer and consumer of pork. China's pork consumption dropped sharply to 44.86 million tons in 2019, but the country still leads the world in pork consumption.
According to USDA data, the global pork consumption in 2019 reached 100.9 million tons, equivalent to China's 44.866 million tons of consumption, accounting for about 49% of the global pork consumption, almost half of the world's pork is eaten by Chinese consumers.
When did it become the most popular meat in China?
Different from herbivores such as cattle and sheep, pigs were difficult to migrate with the decline of nomadic people and more and more people began to "settle down", thus the domestic pig stepped onto the stage of history. The earliest domesticated pig appeared in the Jiahu site more than 9000 years ago, which was roughly contemporaneous with several sites such as Chayaoenu in Turkey.
During the Shang and Zhou dynasties, the Chinese character "豕（pig）" appeared on oracle bone inscriptions, which was the earliest written record about pigs. The Chinese character for home（家） is also very interesting, which consists of a roof and a pig. The upper part of it is roof, and the lower part is pig, namely the coinage of pig. In ancient times, when productivity was low, people mostly kept pigs in the house, so having pigs in the house became a symbol of the family.
There are many records about pigs in the Zhou Dynasty, which represents that the pig industry has begun to take shape. After the technical improvement of the Qin and Han Dynasties, as well as the agricultural development and population growth from the Jin to the Song Dynasty, the pig industry continued to thrive.
All in all, from migration to economic considerations to nutritional implications, the Chinese are raising more pigs, and the historical status of pork has been significantly elevated.
The dominant position of pork in the meat consumption structure of Chinese people has gradually become unbreakable, and the history and eating habits of Chinese people who like and are good at eating pork have stabilized accordingly.
Faster, cheaper and more productive, they are increasingly displacing China's native purebred pigs as the main source of pork on people's diets.
Well, today we've learned about the history of pork in China, the importance of pork in China, and two related sources of Chinese characters. If you want to learn more about China or learn Chinese, please visit our official website BeihaiMandarin.