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Not Good Enough: Spring Festival Dinner Break-Up Goes Viral

One Shanghai girl was so disappointed about what her boyfriend’s parents served her for Chinese New Year, that she ended her relationship because of it.

Manya Koetse

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One Shanghai girl was so disappointed about what her boyfriend’s parents served her for Chinese New Year, that she ended her relationship because of it. The story has gone viral on Chinese social media, reinforcing the ‘demanding leftover woman’ media cliché.

As first exposed on the Weibo page of online network   KDSlife, one Shanghai girl broke up with her boyfriend after seeing what his parents put on the table for Chinese New Year. The 26-year-old woman, who says to work in HR in a foreign company, joined her boyfriend to celebrate Spring Festival in his hometown in China’s southeastern province Jiangxi.

On a Chinese online community message board (liba.com) she posted:

“I want to break up – I am a pure Shanghainese, born in 1988, I look normal, and work in a foreign company’s HR department. My dad is retired after working at a state-owned enterprise, my mum is a teacher and will retire in two years. Our living standard is pretty good. I’ve been seeing this guy for a year, and he’s not from Shanghai. He’s a good worker and I like his looks, but since his family’s not well off, he won’t be able to buy a house for the coming years. My parents really disliked me going out with someone from another place, especially because he’s quite poor – that’s what my mum said. After all, parents only want the best for their own daughter. I’m also a bit shaken over this, especially since I joined my boyfriend for Chinese New Year this year after he had asked me over and over to come with him. If I wouldn’t have gone, I wouldn’t have known, but now that I went I was really shocked. This is what was first put on the table for us to eat when we arrived today…”

This is a screenshot of her post and the picture of the dinner she posted:
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According to an update by the woman that was also published on the KDS Weibo account, she indeed broke up with her boyfriend after dinner and immediately planned to go back to Shanghai. As she could not get a ticket straight away, she had to wait until the next morning before she could take the train.

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The post has caused quite some consternation on various Chinese social media sites, where thousands of netizens collectively share their opinion on the matter. Some threads on the issue, like the one on the KDS Weibo page, have attracted up to 97000 comments.

One netizen has changed the colors in the picture, making the food look better than in the picture posted by the girl:

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“There is fish and there is meat, your mother-in-law must have really done her best for this,” one netizen comments. “What a bitch,” another netizen says: “You don’t need your parents to fall in love with a guy. And that you immediately break up over his family’s living conditions is deplorable.”

In the same row of comments, one Weibo user says: “This looks like a good way to receive your guests for the countryside. Show those people some respect.” Another netizen wonders: “How can you work in HR when your EQ is so low?”

Amongst the many comments on this viral story, most netizens seem to agree that it is better when the families of a couple are well-matched (门当户对), but that you should always show respect to your partner and their parents. Virtually all netizens say that the girl has low moral standards for leaving her boyfriend after their first family dinner, and feel bad for him and his parents, who worked hard to put a Chinese New Year meal on the table.

The ‘leftover women’ of China have been a hot topic in the media for years. Young women, mostly from urban areas with a good job and high education and still unmarried at 26 are often labeled ‘leftover women’. They are often portrayed as demanding and materialistic in Chinese media.

“I don’t know if you noticed, but there are all wooden chopsticks on the table,” one Weibo user comments: “The only steel ones are those in her bowl, because they wanted her to have the best ones. Argh, I really cannot stand this!”

“Actually, I can understand this girl,” another person says: “But it is too impolite to leave before the New Year celebrations are over. They treat you as an honored guest, and you don’t even show them a bit of respect.”

By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Tuno

    February 10, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Thank goodness my loving wife has never made such demands.

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China Food & Drinks

Famous Goubuli Restaurant Calls Police for Getting Roasted Online, Gets Kicked Out of Franchise Group

Goubuli Wangfujing shows how NOT to address a social media crisis.

Manya Koetse

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The well-known Goubuli Wangfujing restaurant just got a bit more famous this week. The branch, which specializes in steamed buns, is now not just known as one of Beijing’s worst-rated restaurants, but also as a business that shot itself in the foot by handling a social media crisis the wrong way.

The famous Wangfujing main branch of Goubuli Steamed Buns (狗不理包子) is caught up in a social media storm since responding to a blogger’s negative video of their restaurant by contacting the police.

The video, Goubuli’s response to it, and the following consequences have hit the top trending topic lists on Weibo today.

Goubuli, sometimes transcribed as Go Believe, is a well-known franchise brand of steamed stuffed buns (baozi) from Tianjin that was founded in 1858. The brand now has more than 80 restaurants in mainland China, 12 of them in Beijing. Since Wangfujing is one of Beijing’s most famous streets, the Wangfujing branch is popular with both foreign and Chinese visitors.

 

Gu Yue’s “Visiting the Worst-Rated Restaurant” Video

 

The social media storm started on September 8, when Weibo blogger Gu Yue (谷岳) posted a video titled “Visiting the Worst-Rated Restaurant” (“探访评分最差餐厅”). Gu Yue is a travel blogger with over 1,7 million fans on Weibo.

Gu Yue in front of Gubouli.

In the video, Gu Yue starts by explaining he chose to visit Gubouli after searching for the restaurant that receives the lowest ratings in the Beijing Wangfujing and Dongdan areas on the super-popular Chinese mobile food app Dianping.

The blogger found that, out of the 1299 listed restaurants in the area, Wangfujing Goubuli Baozi was the worst-rated place. Ironically, the brand’s name Gǒubùlǐ (狗不理) literally means ‘dogs don’t pay attention,’ which makes the name ‘Goubuli Baozi’ sound like a place with stuffed buns that even dogs would not eat.

Complaining about the service, prices, and quality of food, many Dianping users rated the restaurant with just one out of five stars.

Gu Yue then sets out to visit the restaurant himself to see if Gubouli on Wangfujing really is as bad as Dianping users say. He orders some steamed braised pork dumplings, 60 yuan ($8.7) for 8, and regular pork dumplings, 38 yuan ($5.5) for 8.

The blogger concludes that Gubouli’s dumplings are not worth the money: the dumplings are greasy, the dough is too sticky, and they do not have enough filling. Gu Yue’s video also suggests that the restaurant’s hygienic standards are not up to par, with loud coughing coming from the kitchen.

Gu Yue’s video received over 97,000 likes and thousands of responses on Weibo, with many fans praising the idea of the blogger checking out the worst-rated restaurants.

 

Goubuli’s Reaction Starts a Social Media Storm

 

The Wangfujing branch of Goubuli did not appreciate Gu Yue’s video.

In an online statement on September 11, the branch accused the blogger of spreading lies about their restaurant and harming their reputation, and demanded a public apology.

Goubuli Wangfujing called the video “vicious slander” and stated they had contacted the police in relation to the matter.

The hashtag “Wangfujing Goubuli Responds to Netizen’s Negative Video” (#王府井狗不理回应网友差评视频#) immediately went viral on Weibo, attracting some 430 million views.

Many Weibo users were outraged about the way the Goubuli branch handled the situation. “Aren’t we even allowed to say if something is tasty or not?!” many commenters wondered, with others writing: “You are harming your own reputation!”

“Let’s call the police over the quality of your food,” others suggested.

There were also many netizens who commented that some Chinese Time-Honored brands, such as Goubuli, often only survive because of their history and fame rather than actually delivering good quality to their customers.

Following the major online backlash on its statement, the restaurant soon removed their post again. But the social media storm did not end there.

On September 15, the Goubuli Group issued a statement saying that it would directly terminate its franchise cooperation with the Goubuli Wangfujing branch over the incident.

With over 280 million views on its hashtag page (#狗不理解除与王府井店加盟方合作#), news of the franchise termination blew up on Weibo.

According to the latest Weibo reports on September 15, the Wangfujing Goubuli branch was closed for business on Tuesday (#狗不理包子王府井店门店关闭#).

“This is the power of clout,” one person comments: “If it were not for the [Goubuli] restaurant’s flawed marketing department, this would not have led to their closure.”

“The restaurant has brought this on themselves. There’s nothing wrong with posting a bad review.”

Another person comments: “This is the first time I’ve seen a marketing department making something big out of something small, leading to their own closing.”

Meanwhile, blogger Gu Yue says that he was not contacted by Goubuli, nor by the police. The social media controversy has only made him more popular.

“Gue Yue single-handedly crushed this restaurant,” some say, appreciating how social media has increased the power of Chinese consumers to make or break a business.

 
Also read: Overview of the Dolce&Gabbana China Marketing Disaster Through Weibo Hashtags
 

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Food & Drinks

Tianjin Restaurant Introduces “Meal Boxes for Women”

The special lunch boxes for women were introduced after female customers had too much leftover rice.

Manya Koetse

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China’s anti food waste campaign, that was launched earlier this month, is still in full swing and noticeable on China’s social media where new iniatives to curb the problem of food loss are discussed every single day.

Today, the hashtag “Tianjin Restaurant Launches Special Female Meal Boxes” (#天津一饭店推出女版盒饭#) went trending with some 130 million views on Weibo, with many discussions on the phenomenon of gender-specific portions. The restaurant claims its special ‘female lunch boxes’ are just “more suitable for women.”

According to Tonight News Paper (今晚报), the only difference their reporter found between the “meals for women” and the regular meals, is the amount of rice served. Instead of 275 grams of rice, the ‘female edition’ of the restaurant’s meals contain 225 grams of rice.

The restaurant, located on Shuangfeng Road, decided to introduce special female lunch boxes after discovering that the female diners of the offices they serve usually leave behind much more rice than their male customers.

The restaurant now claims they expect to save approximately 10,000 kilograms of rice on an annual basis by serving their meals based on gender.

On Chinese social media, the initiative was heavily criticized. Weibo netizens wondered why the restaurant would not just offer “bigger” and “smaller” lunch boxes instead of introducing special meals based on gender.

“There are also women who like to eat more, what’s so difficult about changing your meals to ‘big’ and ‘small’ size?”, a typical comment said: “Some women eat a lot, some men don’t.”

Many people called the special meals for women sex discrimination and also wanted to know if there was a difference in price between the ‘female’ and ‘male’ lunch boxes.

There are also female commenters on Weibo who claim they can eat much more than their male colleagues. “Just give me the male version,” one female user wrote: “I’ll eat that meal instead.”

This is the second time this month that initiatives launched in relation to China’s anti food waste campaign receive online backlash.

A restaurant in Changsha triggered a storm of criticism earlier this month after placing two scales at its entrance and asking customers to to enter their measurements into an app that would then suggest menu items based on their weight. The restaurant later apologized for encouraging diners to weigh themselves.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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