The potato doesn’t get a lot of respect in China, where rice and noodles made from wheat typically dominate the dinner plate. Ask a Chinese Mainlander to name a popular potato dish and the likely reply will be McDonald’s French fries — and that’s in a country where fine national cuisine is a point of pride. Now the Chinese government wants to turn the potato—known as tudou, or “earthy bean”—into a popular food in order to better utilize scarce farmland. In preparation for the starchy future, China’s agriculture ministry announced plans earlier this month to double the land devoted to spuds production from five to 10 million hectares. China is already the world’s largest potato producer, with annual production of 90 million metric tons in 2013.