榨菜 (Zha Cai) literally means pressed vegetables. The now ubiquitous pickle that hails from Sichuan is not only a popular dish amongst migrant workers in China – it’s quite the staple with many Chinese worldwide too.
‘Pickle index’ measures changing tide of Chinese migrant workers (South China Morning Post, August 14, 2013)
Sceptical of often unreliable provincial statistical data, China’s chief economic engineers have turned to a large, radish-like mustard tuber to measure the country’s urbanisation rate.
Consumption patterns of the preserved vegetable, a staple dish of migrant workers, helped researchers track labourers’ movement within China, an unnamed staffer of the planning department of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told the Economic Observer.
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China uses pickle index to track migrant flows.
Source – Straits Times print edition, published Aug 14, 2013