31% of Chinese tourists pack instant noodles when they travel

“Mum, no more.”
“Mum, no more.”
Image: Reuters/Jason Lee
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On top of entrance fees, gas, train tickets, and plane rides, a lot of money will be spent on instant noodles over the seven-day National Day holiday in China.

Some half a billion people expected to be on the move inside the country and overseas. After four days, Chinese people have already spent over $50 billion inside the country, by one estimate. Not a small amount of that will have gone to instant noodles, apparently a travel essential with almost one-third of travelers packing what’s called “convenient noodles” with them on trips, according to a survey (link in Chinese) by Alibaba’s Alitrip unit and personal finance app

The practice is popular among both people making 5,000 yuan ($750) a month and those making 20,000 yuan a month, according to the findings.

The habit persists in China even though president Xi Jinping in 2014 asked citizens (paywall) to eat fewer instant noodles abroad, and sample more of the local cuisine. In 2013, a Maldives in hotel reportedly stopped installing kettles in its rooms to stop Chinese tourists from cooking noodles in their rooms instead of spending money on food in the hotel.

Noodles need side dishes, naturally, so tourists are also bringing pickled vegetables, sausages, and chili sauce with them, said the survey.

But noodle-making countries can take comfort in the fact that many surveyed also said that they like to purchase instant noodles from other countries, such as Japan and South Korea and places in Southeast Asia.