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|Thursday, May 03, 2001, updated at 19:15(GMT+8)|
Fresh Vegetables No Longer Rarities in TibetFresh vegetables and fruits that are grown in large quantities are no longer rarities in Tibet, commonly known as the roof of the world, where the scarcity of oxygen in the air has made it difficult for plants to grow well under natural conditions.
Enticing dishes prepared with such fresh vegetables as cucumbers, eggplants and lettuce are common items on the menus in today's restaurants, hotels and street food stands in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Even in the pastoral areas of northern Tibet, where beef and mutton have been the staple food for hundreds of years, fruit and vegetable stands for the first time outnumber those selling meat.
Previously, few vegetables and fruits were available in Tibet and were thus considered a sort of rarity for people living in the plateau region.
In winter, potatoes and radishes were the only vegetables Tibetan farmers could find, which were what they had stored up in autumn, said a local official.
Due to a diet of few vegetables and fruits versus more meat, local residents often get the suggestion from doctors that they should have a low-fat diet.
However, drastic changes have taken place in the present Tibet. Thanks to the concerted efforts of Tibetan and Han Chinese technological workers, different kinds of greenhouses have been built in the suburbs of major cities in Tibet.
Lhasa, with 130,000 permanent residents, for instance, is now capable of producing 66 million kilograms of fresh vegetables annually, along with a large amount of vegetables shipped into the city from neighboring Sichuan Province.
"A plate of sliced fruits following the dinner is now a must- have course and is nothing new when you are treated as guest in an ordinary Tibetan household here," said a local official.
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