All the venom hurled at the 1980s generation during the last decade may be nothing more than a bad case of sour grapes.
Children born during that decade were the first generation in memory to enjoy a prosperous and peaceful China. And the nation’s family planning policy ensured that the little emperors and empresses were able to revel in it.
The 1980s brought a lot of new things: martial arts fiction, comic books, Hong Kong pop, Japanese cartoons and almost every snack imaginable.
For foreigners looking to capture a bit of Chinese childhood or locals looking for nostalgia, we’ve rounded up some of the most beloved snacks of the 1980s that are still on the market.
Tata Chewing Gum
Tata chewing gum comes in seven flavors and is super soft. It was one of the popular gums of the 1980s, and kids often competed in bubble blowing matches after class. Popped bubbles would usually end up stuck all over your face.
Back in the day, four pieces of Tata gum cost about 1 yuan.
As time went on, Tata introduced a new tape-like gum that could be cut to different lengths by children. Gums with jelly on the surface were also popular.
Tata gum can still be found in the bulk candy section of most local supermarkets.
Xiajin Milk is back on supermarket shelves after disappearing for nearly a decade.
The popular milk comes in red and blue bottles. The red is sweetened while the blue is plain milk.
The milk is produced in a Hui majority area of the Ningxia-Hui Autonomous Region.
Without a doubt, this is the snack that defined the 1980s. Anyone alive during the decade can remember the TV advertisements for Xiaohuanxiong with the singing and dancing raccoon.
The noodles come with different seasoning packets. The most popular flavors are barbecue and spicy crab.
Kids liked to crush the whole bag of noodles, add the seasoning powder and shake it up. The result is a thousands of noodle fragments coated in flavor.
Instead of cola and coffee, parents of the 1980s preferred suanmeitang, Beijing’s popular plum juice.
But buying bottles can get expensive. A better option is suanmei powder: think of it as Chinese Kool-Aid.
The drink is highly refreshing during the hot summer months and kids love its sweet and sour taste. The powder includes osmanthus, licorice, hawthorns and rock sugar: all healthy ingredients. Well, maybe not the rock sugar.
Parents would often make a big jar to keep in the refrigerator throughout the summer.
Rice chips are made from the burned rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot. They smell good and are very crunchy.
The snack protects the stomach and aids digestion. Eventually, the crust was made on purpose and bagged and sold in supermarkets.
Sunrise Rice Chips are the most common and popular brand. The baked chips are made of crunchy rice, millet and corn and pea flour.