I found this while rummaging through a Japanese politics discussion board — a visual explanation of the the rations of various militaries around the world (translation by yours truly).

What do you say, Lirelou and Eddie? For me, I’m just glad I’m not in the Chinese army.

Away for the week, posting to resume on the 22nd.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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35 Responses to Rations

  1. Pingback: The Glittering Eye » Blog Archive » Catching my eye: morning A through Z

  2. Chief Wiggum says:

    Please don’t supersize me!

    I wonder what the French army gets? Whatever it is, it probably includes a pack of Gauloises and a glass of muscatel to wash it all down.

  3. Yago says:

    which forum is that?

  4. Jing says:

    Whoever created that montage has a careful eye for propaganda value. Note how that every single other ration item is either has a professional photographic backdrop or is carefully displayed in order to facilitate a pleasing image, except for the Chinese photo which displays what seems to be a field photo of a rehydrated MRE by itself (The Canadian and Dutch photos are apparently showing mess hall food). I have seen some of the individual photos in the montage before though, but never juxtaposed in this fashion. I’m not sure what is in that particular MRE, but it has to beat the hard biscuits that they were issued in the 80′s, by biscuits I mean ballistic plateing. Anyways, the standard issue Chinese field ration as of now I believe consists of dehydrated self-heating packages in sealed plastic pouches. Dehydrated rice, yum.

  5. Curzon says:

    Yago — it may have been “爔 Ã§Â¬”˜Ã¦Å½Â²Ã§Â¤ÂºÃ¦Â?¿,”:http://wibo.m78.com/clip/clip.cgi?page=0 don’t remember exactly.

  6. DeadPen says:

    Dehydrated rice???

    And what goes with that? Vitamin tablets so you can get daily dose of protein and antioxidants? For a supposedly rising power they really need to upgrade that – an army runs on its stomach after all. What China is dishing out is worth mutiny at its finest.

  7. Joe says:

    Ah, I wouldn’t knock Chinese rations without tasting them first. China’s never placed a premium on appearance of food. If it tastes OK and sits well in the stomach, why not?

  8. maskull says:

    When marines in Viet Nam were restricted to C-rations for months, but the sentry dogs were getting frozen horse steaks… Barbeques were suddenly all the rage.

  9. Mutantfrog says:

    Horse meat’s not that bad. Although I did get a little sick of it after a week in Kazakhstan.

  10. Nathan says:

    Horse meat’s not that bad.

    What are you, insane? It’s incredible! :)

  11. Eddie says:

    Yikes… And I thought Navy food was intolerable….

    The Dutch doesn’t look too bad though…

  12. lirelou says:

    French officers and NCO mess food was better than most high quality restaurants I’ve eaten in on any continent. French field rations were equally well prepared and did include wine. While in France, each regiment selects its own wines, which are often bottled in a special edition with the unit insignia. Marcel Lettre (of Vermont) brought this custom back to the 82nd Airborne Division after a tour with the French airborne in the late 1980′s. I don’t know if it survived. The French Airborne School also had its own brand of Armagnac, bottled in 1941, and terming it “exquisite” would be an understatement. U.S. soldiers serving with combined forces often trade rations. One retired U.S. Army mess steward who took a job with Brown and Root managing five mess facilities in the former Yugoslavia told me that he always timed his visits to the mess to include either the French or British messes for dinner, as that was the only place in country where he could get a drink, and that field ration swaps between the Yanks and French were common. Aussies and Americans in the (Vietnam era) MIKE Force ate the same “PIR” field rations as the “indig”, supplemented with occasional C rations. PIRs were essentially a zip lock bag of dried rice that you poured water into, added a small packet of dried fish, shrimp, or mystery meat, and let set for half an hour. Aussie supplemental packs included pipe tobacco (“Dr. Green’s”, if memory serves) that made premium trading material with the pipe-smoking tribessmen and women. But back in base camp, the Aussies could really get picky and demanded Fosters or Tooth’s KB in the cooler. God help us on the days they got back to find only Budweiser, or worse, Schlitz. We occasionally had near riots. From the digger’s perspective: “Tucker’s tucker, Mate, but a bloke needs real beer to keep going.”

  13. tamura says:


    (old Imperial Japanese Army’s cooking site,all japanese)

    (Translation,But if you know more better translation engine or Web-page translation site, and you use it)

    …I use this site and made double-translation, But this site made very broken japanese…
    I don’t eat any ration.
    If you are free, and read it.

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  15. Jing, the Chinese rations don’t look like a field photo – unless it was cropped out of one, what with that black background. That aside, anybody else find the Taiwanese rations suspect? I could get the same can of fish in any small shop on the Mainland – that’s not what I’d expect Taiwanese soldiers to be carrying.

    And the Russian and German rations look nearly identical… interesting.

  16. R. Elgin says:

    Forget China! I’m guessing they eat like that to force their army to eat off of the land.
    Korean field rations must include kimchi and choco-pie though.

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  18. Jing says:

    Here are a few links to actual Chinese field rations, unopened but with markings that are clearly identifiable.




    I think they are essentially the same as a US MRE, just add water and bam! The most common recipe? Beef Noodle.

  19. sun bin says:

    opening jin’s 3rd package….it becomes “energy” congee.
    800-1000 Calories
    comes in 3 flavors
    1. spicy meat steamed rice
    2. preserved vegie/mushroom + meat noodle
    3. pres vegie _ meat fried rice


    the capitalistic PLA has “an affiliate”:http://www.8264.com/ad/food/
    selling this to civilian hikers and campers, over the internet.

  20. sun bin says:

    beware of these food, “this guy said he Sh!t only every 4-5 days!
    (no roughage, I guess)”:http://news.xinhuanet.com/forum/2005-04/25/content_2875329.htm

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  22. Chirol says:

    On this subject: Seems the British Army’s rations aren’t good enough for Americans.


    The US has blocked the distribution of 357,000 British ration packs sent out to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina, amid fears they are infected with mad cow diseas

  23. Nathan says:

    It’s by design sun bin. Peace Corps stores MREs at consolidation points in some countries. We were told they are designed to stop you up, and that’s quite a blessing in Central Asia. It’s all we ate waiting for evacuation.

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