It’s beyond a doubt that 2020 has been a tough year for everyone around the world. As we have been forced in different capacities to lockdown, quarantine or shelter in place, a new kind of vacation has come about: the staycation. China is no exception. Many people are still choosing or being advised to not travel. Thus, the indoor lifestyle has fueled the consumption of snacks and beverages and created a strong demand for in-home entertainment. Now that we have reached the end of the year, let’s look back on the best things that accompanied us during this year of struggles.
Best Food Trend
A Harris poll report says that the pandemic has accelerated the global growth of snacking. The results of the poll showed that 70% of millennials and 67% of those who work from home say they’d prefer many small meals throughout the day as opposed to a few large ones. In China, there has been explosive growth of self-heating hotpot. It is definitely an attractive small meal that adds serious flavor to ordinary life. This trend was accelerated even more because self-heating food reduces the possibility that the delivered food will be a contagion. By pouring water on a mixed metal powder concealed in the lower part of the box, pre-cooked rice and hot pot ingredients such as tofu, lotus root, potato, sausage and meat will be heated in 5 minutes. Diverse combinations of flavors and ingredients are open for choice. Miss the time when we can share a big pot with friends? Perhaps we should enjoy a small one separately before we can hang out together.
As to drinks, the new brand Genki Forest元気森林 has risen to prominence. Although the company was founded in 2016, almost all convenience stores began to sell Genki Forest drinks in 2020. Among all its various product series, the sparkling waters have had a sales explosion which should not be overlooked. Currently, there are 8 flavors of sparkling water: white peach, cranberry, cucumber, light-yogurt, lime ginger and the recently introduced grape, green apple and lychee. Genki Forest has been keeping us wanting more all year by frequently launching new flavors and prominently displaying that its sparkling waters are sugar-free. Plus, they are a good match with snacks and movies, right?
Because of the pandemic, movie theaters were closed for 178 days and the film industry was severely hurt in China. However, the strict lockdown policy has enabled people to enjoy films with their families at home. Stories on the screen have lifted the anxiety and boredom that haunted our hearts. Among them, Balloon气球 is one of the most highly praised and distinct. Adapted from his own novel, Balloon earned the director Pema Tseden a nomination for the Best Director in the 14th Asian Film Awards. Specializing in featuring Tibetan stories, Pema Tseden depicts a family that wrestles with moral conflicts between religious belief and scientific birth control. What does pregnancy mean for women? What does religion mean for Tibetans? You will find your own answers in this film. Moreover, the delicate use of light and color, the balanced composition, the carefully-selected symbolization and window into rarely seen Tibetan culture make the film worth appreciating.
Best TV Series
As to TV series, the 20-episode series Together在一起rated 8.7 out of 10 by more than 72,000 people is definitely the best of the year. The series focuses on 10 people during the early outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan whose stories are drawn from real-life. For example, a doctor who helps and comforts, an army surgeon who tests a vaccine on her own body, a food deliverer who insists on delivering when public transportation collapses, and a careless teenager who mistakes his train stop and thereafter becomes a volunteer in Wuhan. “There are no heroes but ordinary people who come out boldly,” said our reporter Lorenzo, in his full review of the series.
The inspiring rock variety show “The Big Band乐队的夏天” released its second season and again ignited the passion of band lovers in late summer of 2020. The show is organized to be a knockout match between 2 bands. Several unknown underground bands from last season earned great fame and began their show tour nationwide. The new season, surprisingly, has many beloved and influential bands such as Joyside, Wild Children野孩子 and Re-TROS重塑雕像的权利 whose appearances resulted in admiration by rival bands. However, some wild cards such as Guangdong folk rockers Wutiaoren五条人 who sing for nobodies in big cities and the electronic trio Floruit Show福禄寿乐队 who sing about family bonds also performed amazing shows.
How about games? “A Look into Jiangnan”江南百景图 swept the nation this summer. Issued in July 2020 by Coconut Island on both iOS and Android platforms, it was awarded 2020 Best Google Play game. It combines two popular schemes: one is SimCity that allows players to produce resources and construct their cities; the other is CCG (collectible card game) that induces players to collect rare roles that can speed up production and construction. Creatively, the game is set in a fictitious ancient Chinese city where famous emperors, explorers, inventors, painters and even supernatural beings from different dynasties live together. The selling points of this game include exquisite buildings and decorations that have characteristics of ancient Chinese paintings and assorted role cards based on characters in Chinese legends, novels and history. Moreover, it launches special editions for every traditional festival. If you want to kill some time while learning Chinese culture, “A Look into Jiangnan” will benefit you.
What a “staycation” with snacks, drinks, streaming videos and phone games! I hope this article gives an overall picture about China’s trends in 2020, or at least an idea of what we have been doing while spending all this time indoors!
Written by Miko Jiang