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Unpopular train food in China illustrates obstacles to growth

BANGKOK -- Chinese netizens over the past year or two have been complaining about what they call lousy dining options for rail travelers, and a closer look at the offerings reveals a fundamental problem weighing on consumption in the country.

Images contrasting Japanese and Chinese bento boxes sold aboard trains abound online. Bento lunches offered to shinkansen bullet train passengers in Japan cost as much as 1,000 yen ($9.47). Meanwhile, packaged meals on Chinese high-speed rail sell for 40 yuan ($6) or so -- not at all affordable considering the local income level.

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