The objective of the present paper was to review the consumption status of meat and dairy products among Chinese residents. The research topics included production, consumption and health implications of dairy and meat, and the data sources included reports of national surveys, research papers and data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China. The average intake of meat, especially pork, has continued to increase in China. Pork intake increased from 37·1 g/d in 1992 to 64·3 g/d in 2012. There was a much higher margin in rural regions; pork intake of rural residents increased from 25·0 g/d in 1992 to 59·9 g/d in 2012, which resulted in a narrowed gap between urban and rural areas. Although the average intake of dairy products increased from 14·9 g/d in 1992 to 24·7 g/d in 2012, the overall level was still lower. There was a significant difference of dairy consumption between urban and rural residents. The gap of per capita consumption of milk between urban and rural households was 3·5 kg/year in 1990, reached the maximum of 16·9 kg/year in 2003, then decreased to 8·7 kg/year in 2012. In conclusion, the finding of this review sheds light on some problems with food consumption patterns in China. Effective strategies need to be adopted in order to change the consumption patterns. The consumption of milk and replacing pork with poultry or fish or other health foods should be encouraged.