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Food & Beverage

Young Chinese fall in love with almost instant meals

Military-inspired dishes show how the country is losing its dining traditions

Chinese university students and 20-somethings who have recently entered the workforce are choosing to buy instant hot pots from convenience stores rather than make solo visits to restaurants.

CHONGQING, China -- Spicy hot pot dishes that come in self-heating plastic bowls and are ready to eat 15 minutes after being doused with water aren't just big in China, they are showing how the country's dining culture has evolved.

The products debuted in 2015, and two years later videos of them went viral on Chinese social networks. As the market quickly expanded, leading hot pot brands began introducing their own instant offerings. The no-fuss meals are now especially popular among young Chinese too busy to cook -- despite being more expensive and less "instant" than the microwaveable bento meals sold at convenience stores throughout Asia.

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