The Most Popular Movie Theater Snacks In China May Surprise You

The moment you set foot in a movie theater, it's hard to ignore that strong scent of buttered popcorn, and even if you're watching a movie from home, it goes unsaid that eating popcorn takes your viewing experience to the next level. There's no denying popcorn and movies go together just as well as apple pie and the Fourth of July, or hot dogs and baseball games. While these combinations are popular across the U.S., according to The Fact Site, they're highly uncommon everywhere else in the world. In China, moviegoers opt for another salty snack entirely: dried salted plums.

While making popcorn is pretty straightforward and simply entails tossing popcorn kernels into a popper, letting them pop, and drizzling them with butter, dried salted plums undergo a more extensive process. Mental Floss explains that they are "dehydrated, heavily pickled, and salted to give the fruit a tart taste." Of course, dried salted plums aren't made fresh on site like popcorn is at American movie theaters.

Instead of popcorn and candy, China has salted plums and candied plums

If you have a sweet tooth and would rather have a box of Raisinets or M&M's over a bag of popcorn, your options at a movie theater concession stand in China would be pretty limited. Chinosity reports that on the rare chance popcorn is on the menu, it's always kettle corn "with no hints of saltiness." Candied plums are usually the only sweet treat offered. While dried plums are typically served salted, Chinese movie theaters also have a variety of plum candies on hand. Chinosity describes them as "hard, sugary, and sour," like a hybrid of Jolly Ranchers and Sour Patch Kids. And instead of a Coke or an Icee, dried plums are typically ordered alongside a refreshing can of coconut juice.

Both sweet and salty dried plums are the most popular snacks served at Chinese movie theaters, but sunflower seeds and dried shredded squid are fairly common, too. Popcorn, however, doesn't even come close in terms of popularity. That means you'll be getting a whiff of plums, not butter and popcorn, when you walk into a movie theater in China.