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As a teacher in China, I was offered the opportunity to have a Chinese cook that would prepare "western" meals for me or I could eat in the cafeteria with everyone else. I chose to eat with the students and faculty of the campus.
Our campus actually had three competing cafeterias in one building - that was considered very innovative for the time (1988-1991). In order to eat in the cafeteria, you needed to have liangpiao - food tickets. Basically there were tickets for grain products (wheat, rice, etc.) and tickets for meat/vegetables.
At Kunming Shizhuan I would take my cup and stand in line for rice. I would usually buy 2 liang (about 4 oz.) of rice - then go down the line by the pans of vegetables and buy one or two kinds (beans, carrots, turnip) and then top it off with some meat dish (fish, beef, pork, chicken, duck). All of that - plenty to eat - might cost me 50 fen (5 jiao) - less than one U.S. dime.
Below are some food tickets from several work units in and around Kunming.
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