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Inside with Coronavirus, Chinese Discover the Joy of Cooking

A chef wearing a face mask conducts a cooking lesson through a live-streaming session inside a restaurant at a office as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus that can cause COVID-19 disease, in Shanghai, China March 9, 2020. (REUTERS/Aly Song)
Inside with Coronavirus, Chinese Discover the Joy of Cooking
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Chef Zhang Xuesi lowered the fire on the stove where he was cooking his Cantonese meal. He added all the necessary foods, including the seafood, shrimp. He quickly lowered the fire and turned toward a phone camera as hundreds of people watched him online.

“It ruins the dish if you burn the breadcrumbs,” he advised his livestream video watchers.

Many people in China are restricted to their homes in the effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. Millions of them are finding a new interest in cooking.

People watching television and online cooking shows are learning how to make Chinese and Western foods. They are also pushing up the sale of special cookware on online markets.

Downloads of the top five recipe apps doubled in February said research company Sensor Tower. That means more than 2 million downloads.

The Chinese video streaming company Billibilli said it has had more than 580 million views of its cooking videos in the two months since the coronavirus began to spread in China.

Another online cooking show producer DayDayCook told Reuters its numbers of new users increased 200 percent from January to February. A recipe for bean curd and shrimp received the most watchers.

“We have never gained new users with such speed since we launched the service in 2012,” said founder and leader Norma Chu.

Many new home cooks are young people living in cities, say industry leaders. This group is used to eating in restaurants or getting food delivery. Now these people are cooking at home.

Wu Shuang is a 30-year-old who works in Beijing, the capital. She was among those trapped at home in February. She says she spent a lot of time online, learning how to make bread and other foods.

Chef Zhang explained that many of his online viewers expressed interest in discussing more than just food.

“In the past, users were only interested in learning cooking tricks, but now we talk about all kinds of subjects.”

I’m Anna Matteo.

The Reuters News Agency reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

breadcrumbs– n. crumbled bread used to coat food for frying

livestream– video sent or received over the internet

recipe– n.a set of instructions for making food

bean curd– n.a food made from mashed beans