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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Huh Bao?

posted by on July 12 at 17:50 PM

I’ve always wondered what made Hum Bao so terribly delicious. Now I know.

BEIJING Chopped cardboard, softened with an industrial chemical and made tasty with pork flavoring, is a main ingredient in batches of steamed buns sold in one Beijing neighborhood, state television said.

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.

Squares of cardboard…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.

Mmm…fatty pork and cardboard.

Do you think I can get a dozen shipped here?

Via AP

RSS icon Comments


Can't be any worse for you than Coca-Cola or "Mexi-fries"

Posted by SteveR | July 12, 2007 5:57 PM

It's already been introduced to the States. It was licensed by Jack in the Box and rebranded "Bacon."

Posted by Jay | July 12, 2007 6:15 PM

Oh crap! I'm in Beijing right now and I was just about to go get some of those for breakfast. Tell me the neighborhood!!!

Posted by aep | July 12, 2007 6:41 PM

What I found was the Chaoyang district. If you actually find any of them, frickin' email me.

Posted by Jonah S | July 12, 2007 7:25 PM

Thank God for the global economy.

Posted by ecce homo | July 12, 2007 7:42 PM

Man, this will just make me that much more uneasy about weekend dim sum in the I-District.

Posted by tsm | July 12, 2007 7:53 PM

Mainland China needs to learn some god damned sense. If anyone was wondering what an attempt at destroying one's culture and sense of history for the sake of creating a completely new "Communist" society will do to a people, this is it. While I wouldn't necessarily call what they serve at McDonald's "food," this is just ridiculous.

Posted by Andy | July 12, 2007 8:03 PM

I think China is learning how to regulate the hard way and maybe one day, or so I desperately hope, they'll have a more subdued reformed capitalism, some working "socialist" programs, and a democratically elected government. I'm not holding my breath though.

Posted by Jay | July 12, 2007 9:35 PM

For this we have a gigantic trade deficit? Stories like this make me glad I keep kosher.

Posted by Gitai | July 12, 2007 10:04 PM

That's capitalism for you. Or wait...communism?

Posted by ams | July 12, 2007 11:51 PM

I am pretty sure I ate something like that on snack street.

Posted by Clint | July 13, 2007 1:20 AM

Didn't they just execute their former FDA director? So, they're working on it.

Posted by monkey | July 13, 2007 6:24 AM

What do you expect from a culture that has no real word for honesty.

Posted by JessB | July 13, 2007 6:42 AM

Seems like the reporter fucked up. Caustic soda (a.k.a. lye, a.k.a. drain cleaner, a.k.a. sodium hydroxide) would dissolve the cardboard. And also be pretty deadly. My guess is it's washing soda (sodium carbonate) they use.

Posted by DaveS | July 13, 2007 7:44 AM

With the way Bushco is trying to deregulate and cripple the FDA, could we be far behind?

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | July 13, 2007 8:22 AM

Back on the point people - Mystery Meat. Personally, I prefer to have my meat served meat-shaped, which at least exudes an aura of craftmanship.

On a related note, speaking of Mexi-fries, anyone else had the chili-cheese fries at the Oxford Saloon in Snohomish? They are mexi-meaty-licious!

Posted by wbrproductions | July 13, 2007 9:12 AM

"Mainland China needs to learn some god damned sense. If anyone was wondering what an attempt at destroying one's culture and sense of history for the sake of creating a completely new "Communist" society will do to a people, this is it. While I wouldn't necessarily call what they serve at McDonald's "food," this is just ridiculous."

china has been increasingly capitalist since 1980... and this shit is the result. don't blame communism when a country turns capitalist and gets more f*cked up....

Posted by anti-imperialist | July 13, 2007 9:24 AM

I am suspicious whenever I notice a trend of stories in the news that disparages a particular country, or seems to cause the reader to come to an inevitable conclusion.

This year we've been treated to back to back stories about how China is poisoning our pets with pet food laced with melamine; poisoning our vegetarian people with melamine in wheat gluten and other vegetable proteins; poisoning our soup eaters with Monkfish that is actually the potentially fatal Pufferfish; poisoning our budget-minded orally hygenic people with diethyline glycol in dollar-store toothpaste; poisoning our pescatarian people with the antimicrobial agents nitrofuran, malachite green, gentian violet, and fluoroquinolone in fish and seafood; and now they are apparently feeding their own people cardboard.

I'm all for food safety, and the non-eating of non-food. But I wonder, is the incidence of cutting costs by putting non-food and industrial chemicals in food manufactured in China higher this year than it was last year? Most of the "China is bassackwards in food regulation" scare seems to be originating with press releases from the FDA. When I see a trend of (mostly) government originated news stories I wonder what other factors might be in play.

The United States has a 20 billion dollar monthly trade deficit with China, and they hold somthing like 350 billion of our national debt. I don't think that financial power imbalance should be overlooked when considering a flash flood of similar news stories that affect trade and imports, as well as public perception of China.

(This message brought to you by the general distrust of official sources that comes from reading too much Noam Chomsky.)

Posted by Diana | July 13, 2007 10:55 AM

@18 You should be glad that there's increased suspicion of Chinese goods, and I think Chomsky would be too. The trade deficit and ownership of our national debt go hand in hand and are part of a symbiotic relationship of war and consumerism.

If the Chinese don't buy our debt, the dollar will weaken further, and Chinese goods will become more expensive to import, hurting the Chinese economy. In other words, they're propping up our currency so we can keep buying their shit.

This allows the Bushies to keep borrowing money to fund their war. If T-bills stopped being such a sound investment, the economy would have bottomed out by now, the minimum wage would be $20/hr with the same purchasing power as right now, and we'd have gotten the fuck out Iraq to try and stimulate the domestic economy through useful and useless infrastructure spending.

Posted by Gitai | July 13, 2007 12:11 PM

@17, Capitalism can't do this by itself. The same culture and people took a different route in Taiwan, and they're not selling cardboard pork buns on the street. This is the result of breaking the people through starvation and terror during the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and then thrusting capitalism onto them. Though they've been "capitalist" since Mao's death, what's happening today is still a direct result of decades of upheaval.

Posted by Andy | July 13, 2007 5:36 PM

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