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Yeke

All About Dairy Product!

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liuzhou

I just found a really interesting article on cheese making in China. Yunnan, in particular.

It is downloadable from here. (PDF file)

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Gambling Camel

Interesting thread.

RODDY pointed out that dairy products have not been a part of Chinese cuisine because historically there were few cows in most of China.

Does anybody know why Europe had domesticated cows -- and China did not ?

I read the Wiki article on lactose intolerance (thank you PEEKAY).

Obviously, human babies are able to digest lactose during nursing. Lactose intolerance results from ageing -- as the human body produces less lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose.

I'm wondering if consumption of cow's milk during childhood somehow causes the body to continue producing lactase (and this might explain the lack of lactose intolerance in the West).

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peekay

Lactose intolerance is mostly genetic, not tied to consumption of cow's milk during childhood. Specifically, the ability to drink large quantities of fresh milk is an inherited genetic mutation. But to your point, the Japanese can drink more milk than what's predicted from their genetic makeup, so maybe there are environmental factors as well.

One theory suggests that in some parts of the world (e.g., Northern Europe), those who could consume milk had a distinct nutritional advantage over those who could not. Being more fit, milk drinkers genetically "won out" through natural selection. Hence today most northern Europeans can consume milk, while in most of Asia the ability to drink milk was never a survival factor.

People who are lactose intolerant can still drink small quantities of milk and eat certain kinds of cheeses. In Chinese supermarkets you'll typically find cheeses with zero (or low) lactose. These are hard or aged cheeses like cheddar, brie, edam, etc.. Liuzhou pointed out imports of stilton, a low-lactose Cheese which makes it a good candidate for the Chinese market.

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xianhua
Lactose intolerance is mostly genetic, not tied to consumption of cow's milk during childhood

So what happens when Chinese and European genes in the form of a child? I wonder if the child then develops lactase beyond infanthood? I've been wondering about this since our child was born last year, and wouldn't want to cause her any discomfort when she gets a bit older. My wife is Chinese and lactose intolerant, whereas I am European and drink milk and eat cheese in abundance.

Her earwax would suggest my genes are having some say in the matter. She has the wet orange type, whereas most East Asians have the dry grey-type. Seriously, there are two distinct types of earwax:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earwax

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zozzen
With all this lactose intolerance, how come every supermarket I have ever visited in China has shelf loads of dairy products? Milk powders, UHT milks and Yoghurts in particular.

got the same question here.

I seldom drink milk directly in recent years, but i still enjoy ice-cream, cream cheese and tiramisu (mascarpone) and i'm just good. :clap

the claim on lactose intolerance is possibly pseudo-science? In my entire life, I haven't met any Chinese who get problems with diary products----- I mean I've learned it from TV programmes, but I haven't met any o them face-to-face.

I think of these reasons:

1. Diary products have been deeply rooted in neighbouring tribes of China. Would it make Chinese feel that it was a drink for barbarians until there was the influence of Europe in recent centuries?

2. Not sure if there's any difference between working cow and a milker. If there's a difference on this, Chinese farmers tended to go for the former one?

3. Weather? The main agricultural hub for China was shifted to the south for more than a thousand year. The weather is hot. And the farmland for raising rice crop is wet and humid. All these are very bad for preserving milk.

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imron

Actually many types of cheeses contain very little lactose and can be eaten by people who are lactose intolerant. The same goes for yoghurt if you ferment it long enough, as the bacteria consumes all the lactose (the things you learn when you start to make home-made yoghurt). This doesn't change the fact however that many Chinese people don't particularly like cheese.

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zozzen

another similar question comes to me:

why have European taken tea but haven't imported soy milk, soy curd (doufu) and chinese cheese (doufu ru) from china?

is there anything called Congenital Soybean Deficiency ... or too many of them are allergic to it? :)

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liuzhou

Soya milk and Doufu are not that unusual in the UK. Don't know about the rest of Europe.

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Daan

They're commonly seen in the Netherlands as well, though we mainly use them when preparing "Asian" dishes :)

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ChineseCook

This may be because there was not much dairy products available before in most parts of China (except for Inner Mongolia). As far as myself is concerned, I find it weird to include milk into a stir fried dishes. It's just something we need to adapt myself to. In recipe books, I am seeing more and more dishes cooked with milk nowadays.

Ever since I listened to a nutritionist's lecture, I become confused about milk. She told us that milk cannot supple Calcium to our bones but will discompose the calcium from the bones. I don't know if there is a research supporting this.

However, we, as the Chinese generation born at the beginning of the 1980's, have grown up without drinking milk. So the effect of milk can not be reflected on us. However, when the kids born in the 1990s grow up, you will see if the dairy products are good or not.

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