China, restaurant under fire for 108 ravioli challenge: anti-waste law violated

A Chinese restaurant in Yibin, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, challenged its customers to eat more than 100 wontons as soon as possible, in exchange for a free meal. The “Big Belly King Challenge” was live streamed on social networks. The video that went viral aroused everyone’s curiosity, including local Chinese authorities. The State Administration for Market Regulation has opened an investigation into whether the restaurant violated the country’s 2021 food waste law. THE wontons they are the typical Chinese dumplings made with flour, eggs, water and salt, stuffed with spiced pork or shrimp.

The law against food waste in China

Gastronomic contests are a sensitive issue in China. Many in the country still have memories of the famines of the 1950s and 1960s that killed an estimated 45 million people. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has called food waste “shocking and distressing” in the past and said in March this year that agricultural supplies are the foundation of national security. The law against food waste was enacted in 2021, following the government’s pointed criticism of online bloggers who live streamed binges to attract viewers. Many of their accounts have been suspended by social media platforms. Under the law, restaurant owners can be fined up to 10,000 yuan (or about $1,400) if their establishments “lead or mislead customers into overordering to cause obvious waste.”