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valikor
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A lot of the smaller places use reused oil to save on money, which is quite unhealthy. Might be a good idea to look at the kitchen of places you frequent too. Some places never wash anything and leave everything on the (filthy) ground. Some other places keep big buckets of sauce which they keep out for months, and just kind of push aside bugs when they want to get some...

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Might be a good idea to look at the kitchen of places you frequent too.

Perhaps you are right, but I have a hard time picturing myslef walking in off the street and saying "I'd like to inspect your kitchen before I eat here."

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Yep. In China they don't quite seem have the same rules about private space.

I myself don't just barge into kitchens. I do see locals doing from time to time though.

Especially when I was in Yan'An. People would go into the kitchen and literally yell at them to cook faster...

I've also had Chinese friends just wander in for fun, the chefs didn't even bat an eye.

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Why do people still go on about MSG "being dangerous" or "producing side effects" when studies don't actually show this?

Without any deep study, too much makes me sick. I get sore throat and fever when I overdose. For me it's no question that this related to MSG. It's not just Chinese food, I had it also with Japanese Curry and western processed meats. It's very commonly used in industrial foods. For me MSG is a short cut to avoid qualified chefs.

Very hard to eat healthy if you don't cook yourself.

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I agree with flameproof. Doesn't matter to me what "studies" show, it matters on my own body's reaction to something. When I have too much MSG (or anything too high in salt/ salt-like chemicals for that matter) I get a bloated stomach. I don't need a study to tell me how I feel!

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Ok I am curious. I have heard about MSG for several years now and after seeing this thread I just did some reading on the internet. But I am trying to work out whether I take it in on a daily basis if so with every meal or just some.

Are they likely to have it in a school canteen (very basic, pots of beg/meat, say which you want and she will stir fry it for me). If so use it on every dish?

In restaurants? Any differences in usage between dirty backroad ones and plush nice ones?

fod such as baozi, jiaozi?

I am sure I eat lots of it at various times, I am less worried about that and more curious as to when I am likely to eat it?

Are there specific foods in china that always need or always dont need MSG?

Thanks in advance, as you can tell I pretty much eat anything then ask questions later :)

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The research about MSG is important because it shows MOST people don't have problems with MSG

And most people don't have problems with smoking either....

@hht, that question is not easy to answer. Let me try to give it a shot!

Firstly, there are two different types of MSG, natural and synthetic. Natural appears i.e. in beef, tomatoes, red wine and other products. This is unavoidable if you eat i.e. beef in any form.

Then there is synthetic MSG. It's supposed to give a stronger taste. To me the taste becomes unnatural and everything tends to taste the same. MSG is mostly associated with industrial product and not with good home cooking. It's also not an Asia only chemical, it's also heavily used in all sort of western processed food. Processed meats, potato chips, Vegemite etc.

To avoid industrial MSG totally you need to cook only at home and also avoid any sort of ready made sauces, chicken powder etc.

In China you can ask for no-MSG in your food. I doubt it will work in most cases though. I get effected, so I am careful, to give you an example, when I buy 兰州拉面 I eat the noodles, but not really finish the broth.

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Smoking has been proved to be harmful to one's health, whereas MSG has not.

And are you trying to say that there are two different types of mono sodium glutamate? I don't think so. OF course glutamate exists in two enantiomers: L and D-glutamate, but we can not taste D-glutamate so L-glutamate is the only ingredient in commercially available MSG products which gives us the umami taste. Human can not utilise D amino acids so they will just be excreted as waste. Those products we buy are actually purified from fermented crops such as sugar cane instead of synthesised. Unlike food colouring, synthesis and purification of food grade MSG is too expensive to be commercialised. So the "industrial MSG" is not different from the MSG you get from tomatoes, soy sauce, meat, kelp and many other food rich in glutamate, chemically and physiologically.

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Yesterday afternoon at about 2:30, I stopped at a tiny hole-in-the wall 小吃点 in a back alley near my home for an "off-peak" snack because I had missed lunch. The place only had 4 tables and I was one of only two customers. The dining area was filthy and the kitchen, where I had to place my order, looked filthy too. No lights were on and only one employee was on duty at that time, in charge of taking orders, cooking, serving, and collecting payment.

While I was eating the boss came in accompanied by two uniformed health inspectors, one woman and one man. The boss pointed to the registration certificates on the wall and one of the inspectors went over and jotted the information onto her clipboard, entering it into a form. The other inspector sat at one of the tables, smoking and chatting on the phone. The boss then offered each of them a cigarette from the open pack in his shirt pocket and they departed, apparently satisfied.

Then the boss started clearing dirty dishes from the tables, I finished my food and left. Witnessing the inspection did not do much to reassure me that this was a sanitary establishment.

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Well, as you were prepared to eat there anyway, it seems the situation turned out to your advantage.

Yes; I was just interested in the process. Apparently some inspections are more stringent.

http://www.gokunming.com/en/blog/item/2180/raid_on_illegal_bakery_highlights_continuing_food_safety_issues

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