- The Plate
Eating China: A Land of Many Grains
It's too dry to grow rice in central and western China, so farmers grow staples like wheat, barley, and corn.
If you ask most Americans what grain Chinese people eat, I’m pretty sure they’d say rice.
But as it turns out, China is not a dietary monolith. Diets here can still be deeply regional and seasonal, owing in part to the fact that most agriculture here is still quite small. In the south and northeast, water is relatively plentiful, encouraging crops like rice, that do well in that landscape.
But in the drier central and western part of the country, rice doesn’t grow well at all. But wheat does.
Out in that part of the country, you wont’t find rice paddies. But you will find many tiny wheat, grass, barley and corn fields. In fact, China is the largest corn producer (see