Friday, July 13, 2007

Waiter, this food tastes like paper!

Hi Friends,

I used to think that fellows who complained about their food were just overly fussy.

Being from a frugal family, I had been taught by my parents to eat whatever was laid on the table for if I did not, the rumour was that I would be punished with a pock-marked wife. I have insisted that my kids do the same. Till now, that is.

Now it turns out that whenever someone complains that the food tastes like paper, or “dung” or that the meat is a tad soggy, he may be literally meaning just that. Especially if the food is from China.

Card board “buns” are just the latest in the list of horrific stories coming out from this the newest and most-feared economic power. We already know about the slaves.

About the “dung”…in the last few weeks, farmers were found to have force-fed pigs with waste-water just before they were led to the slaughter at the abattoir. This last meal before their “execution” were to increase their weight which would ultimately translate to increased profits for the farmers.

In yet another case, water was injected into pigs’ carcasses (also to increase literally the “deadweight”).

If you are skeptical of these reports ( as I was) and attribute them to China’s economic rivals trying to sully her reputation in order to slow her economic progress, think again!

There is no smoke without fire!

Might not this be the end-result of crass materialism? If the almighty dollar is the “be all and end all” of our lives , I fear that we are not far behind China in becoming a soul-less society where “dog eat dog” and anything ( and I mean anything) is permissible so long as it helps us climb up the economic food chain!

Xiao Long Pao anyone?

Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

Chinese food 'made from cardboard'
(CNN 12 July 07)

BEIJING, China (AP) -- Chopped cardboard, softened with an industrial chemical and flavored with fatty pork and powdered seasoning, is a main ingredient in batches of steamed buns sold in one Beijing neighborhood, state television said.

The report, aired late Wednesday on China Central Television, highlights the country's problems with food safety despite government efforts to improve the situation.

Countless small, often illegally run operations exist across China and make money cutting corners by using inexpensive ingredients or unsavory substitutes. They are almost impossible to regulate.

State TV's undercover investigation features the shirtless, shorts-clad maker of the buns, called baozi, explaining the contents of the product sold in Beijing's sprawling Chaoyang district.

Baozi are a common snack in China, with an outer skin made from wheat or rice flour and and a filling of sliced pork. Cooked by steaming in immense bamboo baskets, they are similar to but usually much bigger than the dumplings found on dim sum menus familiar to many Americans.

The hidden camera follows the man, whose face is not shown, into a ramshackle building where steamers are filled with the fluffy white buns, traditionally stuffed with minced pork.

The surroundings are filthy, with water puddles and piles of old furniture and cardboard on the ground.

"What's in the recipe?" the reporter asks. "Six to four," the man says.

"You mean 60 percent cardboard? What is the other 40 percent?" asks the reporter. "Fatty meat," the man replies.

The bun maker and his assistants then give a demonstration on how the product is made.

Squares of cardboard picked from the ground are first soaked to a pulp in a plastic basin of caustic soda -- a chemical base commonly used in manufacturing paper and soap -- then chopped into tiny morsels with a cleaver.

Fatty pork and powdered seasoning are stirred in.

Soon, steaming servings of the buns appear on the screen. The reporter takes a bite.

"This baozi filling is kind of tough. Not much taste," he says. "Can other people taste the difference?"

"Most people can't. It fools the average person," the maker says. "I don't eat them myself."

The police eventually showed up and shut down the operation.


aliendoc said...

Very alarming indeed! Especially for me & my family who will soon be returning to Beijing after our summer break here! We are already quite careful with where we eat, & our food & water sources (recent report that 50% of bottled water in China is fake!!!).
Hate to say this but the chinese are unscrupulous b*ggers...anything goes when it comes to making an extra buck...GRRRR

nofearSingapore said...

Hi aliendoc,
Yes. alarming indeed!
I dread that worse is to come when the liberalising media begin to expose more sordid and horrifying stories about the real nature of China's ecoonomic miracle!
If Beijing's mall can be selling cardhoard buns, what do you thing the god-forsaken rural area is serving for breakfast and supper?
I will just eat Instant noodles which I bring from Singapore when I next visit China!


Anonymous said...

You should have seen the video circulating in the internet last year about diseased & decomposed chickens painted with a brown dye & passing off as soya sauce chicken sold both by street vendors & restaurants.

It has been well known that human excrement was & probably still is used as fertilizer for the vegetables the farmers grow. That there are so much contamination in the food iin China is not news to the Chinese. Only recently has more of it leaks out to the outside world. I'm trying as much as possible to steer clear of made in China foodstuff.

le radical galoisien said...

"It has been well known that human excrement was & probably still is used as fertilizer for the vegetables the farmers grow."

Nothing wrong with that. After all, cow manure is perfectly good fertiliser what.

It's how you wash it afterwards that matters.

Clarence said...

hey dr huang,

i heard that the news reporter was trying to earn a scoop or something and got some locals to actually "act" out the scene.

not sure if it's a government cover-up, but interesting to note nonetheless.

nofearSingapore said...

Hi Clarence & all,
Yes China has apparently convicted a young reporter who was said to have staged this hoax to make money & get fame for himself!
I really don't know what the truth is and if this is a cover-up!
I tend to believe the hoax angle cos it is really too ridiculous.
If it is a hoax, the reporter is extremely irresponsible and the TV station incompetent to run it without verifying the truth!
Anyway, I will not eat outside the hotels and big restaurants the next time I go to China!