It’s 8 a.m. in downtown Jinggangshan in Jiangxi province where portraits of Mao Zedong, who incubated his revolution in the mountains here, are still common, and Donald Macky is opening its doors. The “Meat World: China” crew is there to document a typical day at this U.S.-inspired fast food restaurant and to talk to the owner, Ms. Lin, who runs the place with her family. Among director Jian Yi’s questions are these: how did the family decide to open Donald Macky (better known by DFC, its initials in Chinese) rather than a more traditional Chinese restaurant? Is business good? Can we find vegetables in your diet? (In addition to fast food staples like fried chicken and burgers, DFC serves six quick serve Chinese dishes, all featuring meat.) Is eating more meat good for the Chinese people, and for China as a whole?
Most of DFC’s customers were young. Kids eight years old and under, toddlers with their parents, and even a one-year old being fed a chicken leg, bit by bit, by her mother. But when lunchtime came around, the Lin family (Ms. Lin’s mother, father, brother and husband) members of the family didn’t order from the menu. Instead, they cooked’traditional Chinese food. All the dishes they made and ate contained less meat and oil than those on DFC’s menu; “much nicer” food, Jian Yi says with a laugh.
Why don’t they eat more of the fast food they sell, he asked? Many different reasons, they explained, including that they prefer the taste of the food they cook. Ms. Lin hadn’t thought much about the environmental effects of meat or dairy production. Neither had the farmers or the retired Ten Thousand Pig Farm worker, Ms. Zhou, Jian Yi also interviewed. Ms. Zhou has lived through years of scarce food and worse. Today, she likes to eat meat…as well as vegetables. The day the crew visited, Ms. Zhou prepared freshly bought meat and a bunch of leafy greens for her and her husband’s lunch.