The Art of Deception

maglev trainMost Chinese dare to eat anything but aren't aware that what they are eating may actually be harmful to them.

Here's just part of Ah Chang's experience as a kitchen helper in a restaurant in Guangdong Province for many years in China.
Five years ago, I left Guangxi Province for the modernized Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province. With the help of a friend from my hometown, I was interviewed by restaurant owner Peng Da, and eventually hired as a kitchen helper. When the boss introduced me to the "Big Guy" – a popular name for a chef, I was shocked to see that the "Big Guy" was a female. Everyone called her Sister Rong. Sister Rong was in her 30s and was quite attractive. She told me that my responsibilities included killing animals, cutting and chopping various meats and bones, and preparing the meat before it was cooked.

The Peng Da Restaurant was flourishing during the time I worked there. Every morning I had to kill many cats, sometimes five or six, and sometimes as many as ten. However, I didn't see the cat meat sold in the restaurant. What happened to the meat? After thinking about it for a long time, I still couldn't figure it out. Later, I paid more attention and found that some of the cat meat was stewed with medicinal herbs, and sold as stewed leopard meat with medicinal herbs for 198 yuan (approximately US$24.25) per dish. When Rong saw that I was confused, she said, "Leopard meat stewed with medicinal herbs is the signature soup of our restaurant. Cats are very common, so only by advertising the meat as being from a wild animal would it be attractive to diners. After removing the heads and claws and soaking the cat bodies in the herbs, even the smartest diner can't discern that what they are eating is cat meat. Cat meat cost us 20 yuan (approximately US$2.50) for each carcass, but leopard meat cost 138 yuan (approximately US$17.25) per kilogram."

One day in April 2000, a wholesaler brought over some camel humps. Rong asked the wholesaler to cook it and let the kitchen staff taste it. Everyone said it had good texture and told Rong to try it. Rong hesitated and took one bite. I saw Rong secretly spit the meat into the sink drain. From then on, the camel humps became a hot dish in the restaurant. Many customers came back repeatedly and ordered the dish. I liked the texture and snacked on the dish from time to time using the excuse of tasting for flavor. Rong smiled and asked if I really liked the camel hump dish. The question came out of nowhere. I was confused and asked her what was wrong. She chuckled, "Those so-called camel humps are in fact breasts from female pigs." I was quite shocked by what she said and did not believe her. Rong smiled and told me that the wholesaler had admitted it to her. She had been keeping it a secret all this time.

The next day while I was slicing the 'camel humps', I paid close attention to the dark red flesh and found several holes spread out evenly. If they were real camel humps, why were there holes in them? The holes must be what were left after the nipples were removed. The smell of sour milk hit me and then I totally believed what Rong had told me. A few days later, I confirmed it with the wholesaler and he admitted it. I had to admire the thought they put in it. If they called it female pig breast, who would dare eat it? After giving the meat an exotic name its price went up tenfold and could thus be served in a high-end restaurant. I never again wanted to eat 'camel humps' after learning the truth; not even when the kitchen staff wanted me to taste it for flavor. It might sound weird but now every time after I cut the 'camel humps', I can smell the milk on my hands even after I washed them many times.

View the full story after the jump.


It seems that many would do anything to earn a huge profit. Here's another related to bogus materials, but it looks like their art of deception has failed them! Can they really live with themselves when lives are lost?
Fake construction material is jeopardizing the safety of China's newest high-speed railway, a Chinese newspaper says.

An investigation by the newspaper found that large quantities of bogus material had been used in several hundred kilometres of a $12-billion (U.S.) high-speed railway between the cities of Wuhan and Guangzhou.

The newspaper, China Economic Times, said the scam by unscrupulous suppliers could lead to cracking in the railway's concrete supports, creating a “great danger” to the railway.

Almost 20 per cent of goods made in China for domestic consumption have failed China's own standards for safety or quality in the first half of this year, a government agency reported this week. The tests focused on food products, fertilizers, farm machinery and common consumer goods.

China has also announced that 180 food factories have been shut down in recent months because their products were contaminated with illegal materials such as formaldehyde, industrial dyes and paraffin wax.

Fake cellphone batteries are another lethal danger. This week, the Chinese media revealed that a number of counterfeit batteries have exploded in safety tests. A man was killed in western China last month when a cellphone exploded in his chest pocket while he was welding. The explosion broke his ribs, and rib fragments pierced his heart. The faulty battery was labelled Motorola, but it was reportedly a fake.

Source: Globeandmail
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