13 July 2007

Horror Story

I didn't come up with this story, but it sure scares the heck outta me...


BEIJING — 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 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.


Singing Tigger said...

hey! i just heard this from my cousin and his wife today... the prime reason why he doesn't want to go to china and visit... trying to persuate him. -_-b his wife really wants to go...

but this is really horrible. next time eat anything in china, must check what they put inside... gosh... -_-b

Quirkz said...

heya singing tigger =)
well the last time i was there, the street food was actually pretty good.. but hearing all these horror stories is really churning my stomach >_<

it's a real real pity tho, i think the country has so much potential for good.. just look at the resources they have.. plus it's no secret that alot of them are so brilliant. it's really the lack of morals lah :( sad, sad.

Singing Tigger said...

was watching the tw news just now and more horrible conditions of china were shown. almost all the water cannot make it. very poluted. -_-b

well, their government has to get their act together. with all these reports coming out, i am sure they will receive lots of pressure from the outside world...

hope something good will come out from all this scary news.

well, i rem a time when tw was also filled with such heartless money sucker schemes... just look at tw now, you won't really associate the delicious street foods with those horrible news. maybe they also need time...

Quirkz said...

yes i was so sad when i saw the footage of the rivers in China.. what a waste (in all senses of the word).

the thing about getting their act together... being such a huge country, it's hard to really get the act together, easier to put up an act. takes time + commitment to get it done bah... just can pray for the country and wait & see =) u're right that we should be praying for them rather than being armchair critics ;)

Singing Tigger said...

thanks for agreeing... praying...

just my honest thoughts when i read about all this... we can choose not to live there, but most of them can't. it's very sad...