What do Russian, American, Japanese and Chinese astronauts eat in space? Do they eat the same things as on earth or something totally different? Are these foods tasty? The truth may blow your mind.
As the first country to send astronauts into space, Russia started to develop space food since the early 1960s. Food that can be sucked was the earliest type of space food, but astronauts still felt hungry after eating them. Later, more satisfying foods like ox tongue, herring pie and chicken cutlets were then added to the menu to solve the problem.
Now Russian astronauts can enjoy a variety of food similar to on earth, such as black bread, honey cake, ham, quail, Polish pike, Russian cheese and sturgeon. Food is stored in special packages, and astronauts can eat them with a spoon or fork rather than suck them with a straw.
Fast food is the main food for American astronauts. The range of delicious food includes sausage pies, spicy grilled fish, potato roast beef, butter bread, tempeh broth, tuna salad and drinks like Coca-cola.
Japanese space food expresses their unique cultural identity. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency displayed 29 different types of space food at an exhibition in Tokyo in June, 2007. Most of these are traditional Japanese food, including rice balls, tomato fish, curry noodles, mountain vegetables, beans, glutinous rice, and sweets.
Chinese space food has become more diverse and delicious in recent years. In 2003, there were 20 or 30 types of food for China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei, who was carried aloft by Shenzhou V.
On Shenzhou VII which blasted off in 2012, there were about 70 types of items. The first breakfast for crew members was assorted fried rice, dried braised Pleurotus eryngoes, pickled cabbage and pork, pickled mustard, Char Siu Sauce and milk tea.
The menu for Shenzhou X has expanded to more than 80 types of food, with moon cake and ice cream on the list.
Shenzhou XI, on the other hand, carries more than 100 types of food and beverages, including spiced beef and shredded pork in garlic sauce, a popular dish in almost every Sichuan cuisine restaurant, and desserts.
Recipes were designed and arranged in accordance with nutritional requirements in different phases of the mission.
For example, the astronauts can eat congees if they lack appetite during their first days in space; Chinese food therapy will be adopted in the middle phase in line with the changes in the astronauts’ physical conditions; while in the latter stage, food with low dietary fiber along with multivitamins will kick in.
The recipe will change every five days during their 33-day stay in space. All food can keep for more than one year and are free from preservatives.