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Chinese astronauts enjoying 120 dishes during space station stay

China's Shenzhou 12 astronauts will select their meals from more than 120 dishes during their three-month stay in orbit.

Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo arrived at the Tianhe space station module on June 17 and have now accessed supplies aboard the docked Tianzhou 2 cargo spacecraft that launched on May 29.

Among the 6.8 tons of supplies delivered by Tianzhou 2 are a range of staple foods and beverages including a variety of teas, juices and soups. The spacecraft also transported coolers to store fresh fruits and vegetables.

Space Food Evolution: How astronaut chow has changed in photos

The foods are usually solid, boneless, in small pieces and selected to meet the astronauts' personal tastes, Huang Weifen, China's chief astronaut trainer, told government-owned television station CCTV. Meals include shredded pork in garlic sauce, kung pao chicken, black pepper beef, pickled cabbage and shredded pork and many more.

Related: Space food photos: What astronauts eat in orbit

"We have also equipped the space station with a kitchen and microwave oven, so the astronauts have more methods to heat food than before," Huang said. "They can have hot food whenever they need."

CCTV also reports that astronauts use condiments such as pork sauce and Sichuan pepper sauce to help adjust to the temporary loss of sense of taste experienced in microgravity.

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Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for Space.com in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI (opens in new tab).