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Eat like an employee at the world’s third-largest phone maker

Commentary: It’s not every day you can get a sense of how people in other countries eat day-to-day. But at Huawei’s R&D center in Shanghai, China, tech workers seem to have it pretty good.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
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Jessica Dolcourt
2 min read

I'm fascinated by food: not just cooking ingredients and techniques, but also what people eat when they aren't giving the act a second thought, the way I might reheat leftovers for lunch or run down the street for a quick burrito.

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It's why I go out of my way to pop into grocery stores and markets when I travel abroad, and it's why I couldn't resist poking my head into the cafeteria at Huawei's enormous Shanghai campus, where I met with the company during a two-and-a-half week tour of seven cities in Asia.

Employees here ferried tray after tray of steaming soups, sauce-slicked noodles and glistening stir-fries to long communal tables. There's real dinnerware here and sturdy chopsticks, nothing at all like the spork and mystery meat culture that the dim room suggests. I'm telling you, the food looked damn good.

OK, so Huawei's campus doesn't have 20-odd restaurants boasting organic produce and celebrated chefs (I mean you, Google), and lunch here isn't free (though it is heavily subsidized). But as part of feeding the campus' roughly 10,000 employees, the kitchen does use herbs grown on the building's roof and whole pieces of fruit are served in protective wrappers to keep them from getting bruised.

After a minute of patiently watching me scan the room, my solicitous hosts shooed our group along to a private dining area reserved for VIP guests. But even as I speared chunks of delicious thyme-sauteed potatoes and silky cod in cream sauce with my elegant fork, I would have happily traded them both for a chance to navigate my own crowded lunch tray to one of those long tables and dig in like a tech worker, Shanghai-style.