Thursday, July 12, 2007

Beijing's Cardboard-Stuffed Paus

Dare you eat these nice-looking Beijing paus (buns)? Wait till you read on further:

Eatery closed for selling cardboard-stuffed buns

By Alice Gu 2007-7-12

BEIJING authorities yesterday closed a dim-sum restaurant that sold steamed cardboard-stuffed buns, Beijing Times reported today.

The cardboard was a substitute for pork. The restaurant owner fled and is wanted for questioning.

The raid came after the restaurant in Beijing's Chaoyang District was reviewed by a local TV station a few days earlier.

The stuffing of the bun was made of cardboard and pork fat, said the TV program.

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."

"It may save me almost 1,000 yuan (US$132.14) a day," said the shop owner, according to the program.

It was unclear how long the restaurant was serving the cardboard-filled dumplings.

The buns were prepared at a kitchen in nearby Taiyanggong Village to avoid people finding out. Officials with the Zuojiazhuang Industrial and Commercial Administration closed down the prep kitchen yesterday.

The prep-kitchen's landlord is being questioned, said the Beijing Times report.

Chaoyang District's Industrial and Commercial Administration said it will inspect the district's 58 dim-sum restaurants soon.

Pork prices in 36 major cities nationwide continued to rise last month due to a supply shortage.

Pig leg was sold at 19.56 yuan per kilogram on average in June, jumping 12.3 percent from May, and continuing April's upward trend, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

The video showed an under-cover review over the prep-kitchen:

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