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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.

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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.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. 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

Man Throws Tantrum in Hunan Restaurant Over Food Being “Too Spicy”

“If you can’t handle spicy food, don’t go to a Hunan restaurant!”

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A video showing the angry outburst of a customer at a Hunan restaurant is going viral on Weibo. The incident occurred on December 3rd in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, which is known for its spicy food.

The man was having dinner with five other guests, who started sneezing after eating some spicy dishes. The man then angrily complained to the waitress that the food was too spicy and that they were not able to eat it. “I’ve had Hunan cuisine before,” the man said: “But this is much spicier.”

Since there was “too much leftover food,” the man asked how the restaurant wanted to solve it, suggesting that they would not be charged for the dishes.

When the waitress offered the guests some free juice instead, the man starts throwing a tantrum, yelling: “You think I can’t afford juice myself?! I just said we have too much leftover food and I asked you how you want to handle this!” The waitress then repeats that she can offer free juice, after which the man aggressively throws a glass on the ground and takes off, screaming “We’re leaving!” to his friends.

The video shows the waitress looking distraught as the guests stand up and leave the restaurant without paying.

One hashtag dedicated to the incident received over 110 million views on Weibo on Saturday (#男子吃湘菜太辣打喷嚏要求餐馆免单#).

Most people commenting condemn the man’s angry outburst and him leaving without paying: “If you want to dine and dash, just be honest about it instead of first putting up such a performance,” one person writes.

“This is just an evil trick to avoid paying,” others say: “If it isn’t spicy, it’s not Hunan food.”

Many commenters said food being very spicy should not be a reason to leave without paying, especially not in Hunan: “If you can’t handle spicy food, don’t go to a Hunan restaurant!”

Another commenter wrote: “Some people think they can eat spicy food, but the real Hunan cuisine is too spicy for them. Hunan food in Hunan is different from the Hunan dishes served outside of the province.”

Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine (湘菜), is known for being very spicy. One saying goes: “Sichuan people don’t fear spiciness, Guizhou people are fearless when it’s spicy, and Hunan people fear it’s not spicy enough.” (“四川人不怕辣,贵州人辣不怕,湖南人怕不辣”).

According to Sina News, the man apparently regretted his behavior the next day. On December 4th, he apologized to the restaurant and the waitress. He paid for his bill and also paid an additional 3 yuan ($0.50) to compensate for the broken glass.

The restaurant says the dispute is now resolved, and that no further action will be taken.

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.

©2021 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

Hotpot Chain Haidilao Is Shutting Down Over 300 Restaurants

After adding 544 stores in 2020, Haidilao will close 300 locations this year.

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News that China’s most popular hotpot chain is closing down over 300 restaurants became a top trending topic on Chinese social media site Weibo on Friday.

Haidilao (海底捞) made the announcement on Friday evening through a social media post, saying the company will gradually shut down about 300 of its stores. The restaurants that are to be closed are those with relatively low customer traffic and lower-than-expected business performance.

Although the stores will be shut down before December 31 of this year, some of them will potentially reopen at a later date after reorganization. The company also said it would not lay off its staff for now.

Haidilao has approximately 1600 restaurants, of which many were opened in 2020, when the chain added an astonishing 544 new restaurants. In the summer of 2021, Haidilao had a total of 131,084 employees.

It has been over 25 years since Zhang Yong, the owner of Haidilao, set up his first hot pot restaurant in Jianyang, Sichuan, with a mere investment of 10,000 yuan ($1470). It later became the dominant hot pot chain in the country.

Hot pot restaurants, where fresh meat and vegetables are cooked at the table in the simmering broth, are extremely common across China. But Zhang Yong chose to market Haidilao and its authentic Sichuan hot pot with an innovative strategy: high-service, high-tech, and high-quality.

The restaurant is known for giving its customers a free manicure along with snacks and drinks while waiting for a table. The staff is thoroughly trained in providing the best customer service, and Haidilao has introduced new concepts throughout the years to enhance customer experience. People who dine alone, for example, will get a teddy bear to join them. The restaurant also introduced robot waiters and is known for its noodle dancers and staff singing birthday songs whenever there is a birthday celebration.

Want a bear to join you for hotpot? Haidilao’s got you covered.

Over the past two years, however, Haidilao’s table turnover rate shrunk dramatically. The average table turnover rate in 2019 was 4.8 per day, but that number fell to 3 times per day in 2021, with some restaurants only doing 2.3 per day, leading to significant losses for the company’s net profit.

Due to the Covid19 crisis and lockdowns, Haidilao closed its doors in late January of 2020. By mid-March, it started to gradually reopen some of its locations, although they initially offered fewer seats and introduced an increased distance between dining table, that were allowed to have no more than three guests.

Due to the restaurant’s limited tables and increased labor costs, its menu prices went up, much to the dismay of many netizens, who already thought the prices at Haidilao were steep before the pandemic.

In October of this year, the story of a Haidilao customer in Zhengzhou discovering that the 200 grams of tripe he ordered for 72rmb ($11) was actually only 138 grams also went viral on Weibo, stirring discussions on the Haidilao menu prices.

While news about Haidilao closing so many of its stores attracted over 260 million views by Friday night, many commenters agreed that the company should scale down. “The more stores you open, the less you focus on service, the surroundings of the newly opened stores are not up to par, while prices are only rising,” one person wrote on Weibo.

“They’re not making enough money, while their prices were already being pressed down, and still I can’t afford to eat there,” another commenter wrote.

Others also wondered how Haidilao could claim they would not sack their staff while closing down so many stores. “Does that basically mean they’ll wait for them to leave for themselves?”

“When there’s a pandemic, there’s bound to be bad luck [in business],” another commenter writes: “There’s really not much to do about it.”

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.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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