Steamed rice with a topping of corn and strawberries, meat and eggs cooked in an orange skin: Chinese colleges are competing to offer the most bizarre items on their canteen menus, and the social media sphere has been going crazy over them.
A school canteen at Hunan University in south China recently served up a new dish consisting of hollowed-out oranges stuffed with meat and an egg, giving them a delicate orange scent after they are steamed, said one of the chefs on campus.
Posted online, the unusual dish invited mixed reviews.
"It looks delicious to me," one netizen, @jiunian-only, commented.
Another, @weilaixiaomian, was less convincend: "I want oranges only, not the meat part."
A third envied the innovative menu: "It』s always good to be creative. The canteen menu in my school has remained exactly the same for four straight years," @chuanyuerenhai4 complained on Weibo.
Hunan University is not the only college to have tried experimental cooking. Netizens have been sharing similar combinations at their own university cafeterias, such as tomatoes with pineapple, fried pork with apples and dragonfruit with chicken.
A bizarre dish offered by Hubei University in central China, featuring celery, fresh strawberries and white rice, reportedly sold out in under 10 minutes last year.
Chinese universities have been competing in this way since 2014 and there is even an unofficial online ranking of institutions offering the most bizarre food – not only on daily menus, but also for special occasions like Halloween and other festivals.
While some have welcomed efforts to come up with new ideas of food, however, others have questioned whether the issue was not over-hyped and schools ought to focus more on the management of these canteens rather than these less practical novelties.