What is he having? A look at 80 diets from around the world

‘What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets’
Chen Zhen, a student in Shanghai, with a day’s food.
(Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio)

Ever wonder what people around the world eat on an average day? Photojournalist Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio decided to find out. 

The two interviewed more than 100 people from various countries around the world and documented a day’s worth of food for 80 subjects in the book “What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets.”

“All of our work is meant to compare and contrast people and ideas, and this one was deceptively simple,” said D’Aluisio. “Just make a snapshot in time of a day’s worth of food for people around the planet.”  

Some of the subjects include Huang Neng, a migrant welder working on a high rise in Pudong, China; Chen Zhen, a law student in Shanghai; and Xu Zhipeng, a freelance computer graphics artist and Internet gamer.


Menzel and D’Aluisio calculated the calories for each person’s specific meal with the help of nutritionists from UC Davis. It took them almost a year to finish the book.

For Huang, the migrant welder, the food in his typical day came out to 4,300 kcals. For Chen, whose meals included items from KFC, it was 2,600 kcals. And Xu’s meals from an Internet cafe came in at 1,600 kcals. 

There are a couple shots from the book in the gallery above. To see them all, the book is available at

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[This post has been updated April 2, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.: A previous version of this post said “What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Days” is a new book. It is a recent book that was published in 2010.]