For young Chinese, being single was once a source of shame. Now, it’s becoming a badge of freedom — and businesses are scrambling to cash in.
At Beijing’s trendiest new noodle joint, human interaction is off the menu.
Inside the restaurant’s minimalist interior, diners are seated along long, gunmetal tables, each enclosed in an individual cubicle. The staff avoids contact with the customers as much as they can, sliding steaming bowls across the tables using a retractable silver board.
The silent eatery looks like it was designed for the post-coronavirus era, but it’s actually tapping into an entirely different form of social distancing: the growing number of affluent young Chinese who are dining solo.
Dining out alone used to be rare in China, where food is traditionally shared by large groups gathered around a circular table. But these attitudes are softening as millennials embrace the single lifestyle.
Previously, many Chinese graduates would settle down soon after college, living in the family home until they got married. Now, they’re increasingly putting off marriage until their 30s and building their own lives in major cities, where they often work intense jobs that leave little time for socializing.
The number of singles in China has now surpassed 200 million, according to government data released last year. The total number of single people living alone, meanwhile, is expected to reach 90 million by 2021.
The Beijing noodle bar, 23 Seats, is one of many businesses catering to this new breed of “single dogs” — as China’s singletons self-mockingly call themselves. Continue to read the full article here
– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.