Space Journal: Entry 5
By Xinhua special correspondent Jing Haipeng
Aboard Tiangong-2, November 4, 2016
Hello, everyone. I am the Xinhua space correspondent. The Shenzhou-11 crew would like to extend our greetings and best wishes to all Xinhua staff as the Xinhua News Agency marks its 85th founding anniversary on Nov. 7.
Today is Nov. 4, my 17th day onboard Tiangong-2. Since many people are curious about what we eat in space, today, I would like to tell you about this.
Speaking of space food, many think that it lacks variety and tastes bad. However, this is not true. Let me tell you what we had today. In the morning, we ate seven types of food, including porridge, coconut bread, quail eggs and pickles. We had eight choices at lunch, including mixed fried rice, fried noodles with meat, stewed beef with potato and nori and egg soup. There were eight dishes at dinner, including fried noodles with beans, rice noodles with beef, fried shrimp with egg as well as canned fruits. Besides, there were five kinds of snacks, such as spicy pork, fried beans and dried bean curd. That’s quite a lot choice, isn’t it?
We actually eat different kinds of food in different stages of flight. When just entering into orbit, we eat something light as it is easy for digestion. Currently, our daily menus repeat every five days, which cover six classes of food with nearly 100 kinds of dish, including staple food, side dishes, beverages and functional food.
We are even allowed to be “picky” about what we eat. Within a cycle of five days, we can change the order of dishes in the same class. Because I have been in space twice before, researchers asked my opinions when planning the menus. After all those days in space, I think the space food this time is more varied and better than my last two trips. That is to say, Chen Dong and I have brought the food what we like eating, so we don’t get bored at all.
The pursuit of delicacies is endless. Knowing Chen comes from Henan Province, the staff prepared some cooked wheat food popular in Henan for him. During this mission, we have had various kinds of staple food, such as rice pudding, mixed fried rice, maize porridge, rice cake and bread.
We also have black pepper beef, stewed pork chops, baked chicken, mixed vegetables and many other dishes. Compared with my last two missions, we have more vegetables, such as red pepper, edible seaweed, carrot and burdock, which provides us with more sources of dietary fiber.
The staff surprised us by preparing two canned cheese cakes to celebrate my 50th birthday in space. It was really sweet, even though the cake was just the size of my palm.
In addition to the main three meals, we can have various kinds of dessert and snacks to replenish our energy, such as ready-to-eat meat, cookies, bread, candies and diary products.
Zhong Jiangru, a pupil from the Beijing First Experiment Primary School, asked a question on the Xinhua app: how do we drink water in space and do we have enough water for such a long trip? I want to tell him that we use straws to avoid water floating in space. We not only have enough water, but also different kinds of beverages. The most amazing part is that we even made tea, the first time in our space missions. Astronauts in other countries seldom do that.
We have juice too. There are many varieties of soup, including nori, spinach, edible seaweed, tomato, egg as well as mushroom. Besides, we are also provided with a special beverage that is better for the stomach.
In past missions, condiments were mainly salty and spicy. However, this time we have something sweet and sour. Honey is filled in tubes, which is convenient for us to squeeze and put on bread. Small bags of vinegar from Shanxi, which is my home province, were brought into space too. It is my first time to have a taste of the vinegar from my home in space. And there are different kinds of sauces, including bean sauce, spicy sauce and sweet chili sauce.
Thank all of you for caring about us. Less than half of the journey is left. We will share more with you when we find something new and fun on the rest of the mission.