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Chinese fast food


valikor
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So in the past months, I've been eating my fair share of Chinese fast food. The reasons are simple: it's some of the cheapest food I can find (cheaper than western fast-food in China), it's very fast, convenient, and I think it tastes quite good.

Does anyone know if the fast-food industry in China has as many unpleasant secrets as in the US? That is, everyone knows that eating lots of McDonalds and Taco Bell will probably make you very unhealthy if you eat them a lot over a long time, given the terrible quality of the meat, the extensive processing, etc.

As far as I can tell, Chinese fast food seems pretty similar to any other Chinese food, just faster and cheaper, and in cleaner restaurants. I'm thinking of places like 田老师红烧肉 and 吉野家 (actually not Chinese, but fits into the same category in my mind)

What do you think?

David

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These places have similar hygiene and quality standards to places in the US (and sometimes higher), hence the prices being comparable. (Wanna see cheap? Try some 串儿 stands at midnight on the outskirts of the city...) 吉野家, 肯德基, and 麦当劳 are accountable to their headquarters in Japan/the US -- you're not likely to see any cardboard or cat meat thrown in any time soon, as this would harm the global brand. 田老师红烧肉, 永和大王 seem fine to me, though with these guys you can't talk with as much certainty.

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I suspect they're much of a sameness - you just get your empty carbs, cheap meat and fat/oil in different formats. I'd imagine a bowl of noodles is on average better than a 盖饭 though. Yoshinoya's beef rice feels like it should be healthy, although there must be something bad in there to make the beef so tasty. 永和大王‘s 油条 (indeed anyone's) can be made much healthier if you wring them out first . . .

Nothing wrong with MSG in itself, but like salt it's often over-used, particularly to cover up the fact that the food isn't actually very nice. Ah, I wonder if I've solved the Yoshinoya beef mystery . . .

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What's wrong with aluminium salts? It should be very safe to have if it's purified to food grade. Supposing the main concern is the content of Aluminium here, which they still use in large quantities in heartburn relieving products such as Mylanta and Gaviscon, I don't think the amount you get in 1 or 2 油條 is going to have too much impact on your health.

As for MSG, it is much much healthier than any kind of deep fried food you get from KFC and McDonald's.

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KFC's breakfast 粥 is actually pretty good. Chinese friend of mine used to drive to KFC every morning just for the 皮蛋瘦肉粥. I was fond of it too, but was smart enough to live above a KFC to save the environment. Also saw KFC advertising some rice dish.

If you have a Hollywood (好来屋 I think) near you, they're worth a look - their 鸡排饭 is pretty good, with lots of lovely curried potatoes, and the chicken salad has an impressive amount of lovely grilled chicken. This was the 北师大 one, there aren't too many around.

南粥北面 is another decent option for a quick rice+stuff meal, not sure how many there are again.

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What's wrong with aluminium salts? It should be very safe to have if it's purified to food grade. Supposing the main concern is the content of Aluminium here, which they still use in large quantities in heartburn relieving products such as Mylanta and Gaviscon, I don't think the amount you get in 1 or 2 油條 is going to have too much impact on your health.

And if you have one youtiao every day for twenty years? That much aluminum can't be good for you.

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Aluminium, as a light metal as opposed to heavy metals such as lead and mercury, has not shown any significant accumulation in our bodies at this level of daily intake. Of course, if you are exposed to industrial Aluminium fume everyday, the story may be different. However, more studies still need to be done to determine the actual impact of the accumulation of Aluminium on our health.

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There's already enough evidence to indicate that it's probably safer not to eat it than to eat it. Not enough to ban it or be fearful of it (as you should be with lead), though, and a few youtiao certainly won't kill you, especially if you're healthy.

Even when Al and Pb can reach and accumulate in almost every organ in the human body, the central nervous system is a particular target of the deleterious effects of both metals. Select human population can be at risk of Al neurotoxicity, and Al is proposed to be involved in the etiology of neurodegenerative diseases.
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Maybe then one should not eat deep fried food (or food processed with many other methods) at all as there are also enough evidence show that some chemicals abundant in deep fried food are not so much safer than Aluminium.

Just like "low fat, low sodium" bacon with loads of nitrites (not to mention other stuff produced through cooking), why worry about the fat and sodium content when you are already having bacon...

And as I mentioned the levels of exposure is important too. Too much of anything is not good, but how much is too much for Aluminium, we have yet gathered enough evidence.

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Maybe then one should not eat deep fried food (or food processed with many other methods) at all as there are also enough evidence show that some chemicals abundant in deep fried food are not so much safer than Aluminium.

Can't agree with you enough. It's all about how much risk you're wiling to take and how healthy a life you want to live. Look at Christopher Hitchens.

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MSG is the same as too much salt for me, with the same side effects (indigestion, bloated stomach, sometimes a headache and lethargy), and then results in gas and 拉肚子. Has nothing to do with health benefits, other than I'd rather not have those side effects. I get similar ones from McDs and KFC, but I haven't eaten at either place in 8 years (at least), so hard to tell at this point.

oh, and if you're wondering what I DO eat here (aside from at home): veg places, 馒头片,Xinjiang and Yunnan foods (veg only), Korean and Japanese food, and I always ask for no MSG (not that this always works, but when I'm insistent they are usually careful).

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  • 4 weeks later...
吉野家, 肯德基, and 麦当劳 are accountable to their headquarters in Japan/the US -- you're not likely to see any cardboard or cat meat thrown in any time soon, as this would harm the global brand. 田老师红烧肉, 永和大王 seem fine to me, though with these guys you can't talk with as much certainty.

Yeah...KFC and McDonald's: They are some real angels, aren't they? Unlike their suspicious local counterparts, these multinational fast-food peddlers care about your wellbeing much more than they care about their own bottom line, notwithstanding an occasional dollop of Sudan Red G in their recipes.

Oops, scratch that last remark; I don't want to burst the bubble you're living in.

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MSG is the same as too much salt for me, with the same side effects (indigestion, bloated stomach, sometimes a headache and lethargy),

I had exactly the same symptoms (extremely uncomforatble) after eating a bowl of congee etc at a local (HK) 海皇粥麵 a couple of weeks ago.

BTW, MSG seems to be an excellent excuse for lethargy after lunch. :D

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