Friday, February 27, 2009

No worries about cholesterol today...

Image of an Imperial Guardian Fu Lion in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong, in front of a Buddhist temple-Dear Gentle Reader,

I have wittered on about guardians (lions) this week.

It looks like we all need one.

If worrying about plastics (melamine) being substituted for protein in food was not enough of an issue...

What about fake eggs?

Fake eggs? 

When boiled, they resemble real eggs, except the yolk is bouncier... Oh, and they have no protein and might harm you...

When raw, and in their fake(!) shells, they are difficult to differentiate from real eggs, although they lack the vaguely fishy smell associated with very fresh eggs. And raw ones sound watery when shaken...

The Standard, an English-language free daily paper in Hong Kong, broke this story about a week ago, here (the Feb 17, 2009 issue of the Standard). 

Fake eggs have now been found in Fujian Province, China after having previously being found in Chengdu (2008), Beijing (2007), and Guangzhou (2005).

These fake eggs are fraudulently replacing real eggs because of the cost differential in production; it costs 0.12 to 0.65 USD cents to produce fake eggs compared to 3.2 to 3.9 USD cents for real eggs. 

What does that mean in the egg carton? 

You can potentially make almost 27 fake eggs for the same cost as making only 1 real egg; then those super cheap fakes are sold as real eggs at real egg prices.

None of the ingredients used to make the fake eggs are inherently dangerous, although, aluminum impurities found in these fraudulently sold eggs have been linked to mental development issues. 

But, there could be other harmful additives, or impurities, tainting the constituent chemical ingredients used to manufacture the fake eggs. 

If you are making fake eggs, fraudulently, you are not worried about using only food-grade chemicals with only food-grade impurities... who knows what else these fake eggs are tainted with.

The security of my food chain has been an issue since I first moved to Asia in the mid-nineties and started realizing what could, and did, go wrong with food...

I tried turning to words for sustenance, as Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (1830-1886) suggested in this poem, prodded along by her first stanza:

He ate and drank the precious Words

He ate and drank the precious Words --
His Spirit grew robust --
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was Dust --

He danced along the dingy Days
And this Bequest of Wings
Was but a Book -- What Liberty
A loosened spirit brings --

But, I found those words, alone, could not sustain me, physically. 

My literary diet not only loosened wings, but also my pants. 

I returned to traditional sustenance, but a regular diet of non-literary food demands belief that the food bought is what it purports to be.

That is why we need guardians. Libertarians, take note. 

Fake eggs are an example of why bigger government is good; we need branches to test things, like food safety.

So, I close today, and this week, with more looks at guardians because we plainly need them.

Everybody needs a guardian, not just a friend...

First, a couple of lions from the major Buddhist temple in Tuen Mun...

Image of a male Guardian lion with his foot on the circle of life.Image of a female Guardian lion with her foot on her cub.

To see more, we simply cross the road, go down the block and gaze across the street at the first restaurant we find. 

This restaurant, with its own guardian lions, is on the left, just across the street...

Image of guardian lions outside a restaurant in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong.
But, it is not just restaurants that feel the need for guardian lions.

People have them for their houses:

Image of guardian lions outside a private residence in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong.
And even for their car parks...

Image of guardian lions outside a private car park in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong.

Everyone is fearing something.

Today it's fake eggs. 

I hesitate to guess what tomorrow will bring.  

(Enjoy your poached eggs.)

At least I don't have to worry about cholesterol anymore.

Chris, Regina, and Pommes


Sepiru Chris said...

For other Asian guardians...

Cloudia showed us some other types of temple Guardians here

And Cloudia showed us others, here, too...

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Our eggs smell fishy so they must be real. Although that proves nothing metaphysically ...

Cloudia said...

"What Liberty
A loosened spirit brings "
Glad you gambol with us through the fields of web-land. Thanks for another great post, and great Pictures! Hey, thanks for da links, my Bruddah-

Anonymous said...

Ugh! I guess David and I will not be visiting Hong Kong, after all. Too bad. I was looking forward to comparing HK dim sum with Honolulu dim sum.

"Modern" China needs to improve...

Sepiru Chris said...


Who knew Giraffe's ate eggs! It is hard looking into Girth's kitchen because his windows are always fogged up (when my telescoping is checking) with steam from the cooking!


Cheers, Cloudia, and you are welcome.


Well, as the post states. No fake eggs have ever been found in Hong Kong, and we have relatively good enforcement here...


The Weaver of Grass said...

Fake eggs? I have never heard of anything like it. However, once on a plane to China we were offered a mountain of hard boiled eggs as sustenance on a night-time flight - pleased I didn't partake. On that same flight, by the way, someone asked the hostess why we hadn't had safety drill before we left London and she replied, "we crash - you die"!

Junosmom said...

Chris, shall I mail you some chickens? My chickens are laying nicely enough right now, just enough that I don't have to buy any - and they are free ranging right now (raccoons are asleep) so have bright orange yolks (which is good).

Fake eggs? Eggs are one of the cheapest things available in the US. But, I wouldn't put it past StuffMart.

Heidelweiss said...

Yes, eggs are so cheap. I can't imagine what they will attempt to fake next. What damage are they doing to the poor people who rely on eggs for protein? I suppose they could eat tarantulas? Have they found a way to make a good fake spider yet?

bindu said...

Who thinks up these things?! Fake eggs. What next? We're trying to stop eating eggs ... slow path to becoming vegan. The fake eggs propel us faster toward that goal!

debra said...

Good thing I have my own chickens, eh, Chris?

Sepiru Chris said...

Weaver of Grass,

Well, I am with you here. I am not sure that a plateful of eggs for a plane ride would be such a great thing. But the Chinese are pretty good with eggs...


Eggs are the cheapest source of protein in China, too. So you have a voluminous market of buyers. And if you can make up to 27 fakes for the cost of 1...

I would be most amused to see a chicken arrive through the post. Pommes would be delighted; a new playtoy would be his reaction, I am sure.

We pay through the nose to buy organic free range eggs from around the world. The other day we noticed that the eggs we bought from California no longer had any identifying markings stamped on date of production. So now we are buying from elsewhere, and really messing with our carbon footprint, which makes us unhappy...

They take bird flu incredibly seriously here, though. They finally closed the open air live-chicken markets so you know that you have a really fresh bird, just a few months ago. OK, maybe 7. So I am not sure how happy the authorities would be with a live chicken in the post. That would be a demonstration of the governmental intransigence regarding procedure that I could post about, once I was no longer incarcerated.

Let's no go there, please.


But you can send your good spring chicken self over, if you want to take a break and log in from this side of the world...


Not sure what they will be try to fake next. Someone actually informed me that they would "love (me) long time" the other evening, but I don't think that that love would have been real...


I understand. The Heroine is a vegetarian. Fortunately, from my perspective as an omnivorous gourmet, she still eats eggs and cheeses, and fish.

But I could tell you stories about tofu production, in certain uncovered cases, that would make your fingers crack off in fear.

I think every nation has unscrupulous dealers in every industry, although the perils are greater with food.

China, however, has had lax enforcement. I think that the run of recent follies, combined with the global consequences, and with China's export priorities, is leading to real change this time.

We'll see.

But, should you come out, I am as capable of cooking vegan, kosher, Second Empire French Cuisine, Spanish, Chinese, or various Indian cuisines. So you will be well fed.


From everything that Junosmom says, yes. Great thing. Wonderfully fresh. You lucky, lucky girl!


bindu said...

wow - that's quite a culinary repertoire! Quite tempting. I hope you never post those tofu stories ... protein sources are few as it is. If I read about that, I won't be able to look at tofu again.

Sepiru Chris said...


I'll try, but in their horrificitudinousness (it ought to be a word...) they are good stories.

Nonetheless, the Heroine would likely impale me with a sharpened stalk of celery, and then Pommes wouldn't get bits of fish, so in the interest of Pommes' well being, I had best attempt to refrain...