Friday, July 13, 2007

Stuffed Cardboard Buns

Chinese Food
Chinese food quality is making the rounds in the news in North America. Food quality is also making the news in China. Yesterday, as I flew out of Shanghai, I heard the news of an undercover TV crew that busted a dim-sum restaurant in Beijing's Chaoyang District. The restaurant, in a effort to save money amid rising pork prices, started to cut their steamed pork-stuffed buns with cardboard.
The recipe went like this: Cardboard was soaked in water and an industrial-use caustic soda, a poisonous chemical, was added. The cardboard lost its normal color and became fragile under the soda's strong causticity, making it look more like pork. Finally, pork-smell essence and pork fat were stirred into the concoction to make the stuffing more "vivid."
Product quality in China is suspect, and to be fair, China is starting to take product quality seriously. Earlier this month China executed the State Food and Drug Administration director, Zheng Xiaoyu, for taking bribes to look the other way on food and drug quality. The execution was a signal -- but hardly the end. A heck of a lot more needs to be done.

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