Milk in China
When I first travelled to China I found milk and milk products were not easy to find and they were quite expensive.  I learnt that they were not part of the local traditional diet and I attributed this to several reasons.  One is that refrigeration was not widely available which meant that milk could not be kept but this was also true until not so long ago in western countries and we still made milk and milk products part of diet.  We used milk to make products which could be kept longer like cheese and butter.

But there is another interesting reason which I learnt and that is that there is a very high incidence of lactose intolerance among Asian people than there is among whites. 

What Is Lactose Intolerance and What Causes It?

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest a sugar called lactose that is present in milk and dairy products. Normally when you eat something containing lactose, the body produces an enzyme called lactase in the small intestine. Lactase breaks down lactose into simpler sugar forms called glucose and galactose, which are then easily absorbed into the bloodstream and turned into energy - fuel for our bodies.

People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough of the lactase enzyme to break down lactose. Instead undigested lactose sits in the gut causing gas, bloating, and stomach cramps, and then usually diarrhea because the intestine cannot absorb the lactose-containing foods.

About 90% of Asian Americans are lactose intolerant, and up to 75% of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans also have symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Most people eventually become lactose intolerant in adulthood - some while they are still in their teen years. Many health care providers view lactose intolerance as a normal human condition likely to occur in the majority of people in the world (especially as they get older), and therefore don't really consider lactose intolerance a true disease.


Well, I happen to like milk for several reasons, one of them being that it can be consumed right out of the bottle.  But when I travel I make a point of adapting to local customs and China has the perfect milk substitute in soy milk.  I like it and drink it by the bottle. 

But China is changing fast and now I see many milk products being offered at the supermarkets, and very cheaply too.  I cannot read Chinese characters but they are easy to spot because most have a cow depicted on the label and the rest a glass or cup of milk.  Plain milk, whether whole or skim, is mostly of the UHT type which keeps without refrigeration until the container is opened and is sold mainly in brick-type cartons.

There are also many milk beverages which have other flavers added like fruit, yoghurt, etc.  They were not as thick as milk though but rather watery.  I found them all quite delicious though.  It was hot, I was thirsty, they were sweet and I have quite a sweet tooth.  I consumed large quantities of these products.

I cannot read the labels so I have no idea what's in them.   Some felt like they had a fruity flavor.  Maybe coconut milk or soy milk was added.  The products were much more watery than real milk which is good because I drank a lot just to stay hydrated.

Chinese milk
The soft drink plastic bottles are very strong compared to ours and much more robustly made.
A Chinese consumer might consider our bottles as shoddy quality while we might
consider theirs to be wasteful.  Quite a reversal from other situations.

This is the label of one product.   Maybe someone can tell me what it contains.
Chinese milk
By the way, these guys' web site is a hilarious example of Engrish.  They have sections called "adversaria", "Company Glory", "Indent", etc.  Check them out. They seem to be more in the fruit juice industry that in the milk industry.

This is the label of a similar product:
Chinese milk
Let's check out their web site
Well, what do you know?! Not only do all Chinese people look alike but all Chinese web sites also look alike! Cute girls though.