Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Black bean paste

Black bean paste, commonly called ''dòu shā'' or ''hěi dóu shā'' , is a sweet bean paste often used as a filling in cakes such as mooncakes or ''doushabao'' in many and cuisines.

Black bean paste is made from pulverized mung beans, combined with ''zao fan'' crystal .

Black bean paste is similar to the more well-known red bean paste. The recorded history of black bean paste goes as far back as the Ming Dynasty.

Five Chinese cereals

The Five Chinese cereals are a group of five grains important in ancient China and regarded as sacred. They are first listed in Fah Shên-chih's text on farming circa 2800 BCE entitled ''Fah Shên-chih Shu''.

There are various versions of which five crops are represented in the list. One version includes soybeans, rice, wheat, proso millet, and foxtail millet. Another version, given in the Classic of Rites, excludes rice and includes hemp. All but soybeans are cereal grains.

The ancient Chinese gave them their own god, Houji .

Facing heaven pepper

The facing heaven pepper is a cone-shaped, medium-hot chili pepper with very thin skin, between 3 and 6 centimeters in length, and 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter at the base. Originally from the Sichuan province in Southwest China, it owes its name to the fact that it grows upside down. Facing heaven is the second most widely used chili in Chinese cuisine . Because of its attractive appearance, the dried chili is often added to dishes whole . When lightly fried in oil it turns radiant red and loses enough of its heat to allow for it to be eaten whole. In China smaller chilies generally cost more than larger ones, because of their better color and more regular shape. Because of import restrictions
Facing Heaven chilies are difficult to find in the United States, but they are available in Chinese and specialty stores in Europe.

Euryale ferox

Euryale ferox is the only species in the genus Euryale. It is a flowering plant classified in the water lily family, Nymphaeaceae, although it is occasionally regarded as a distinct family Euryalaceae. Unlike other water lilies, the pollen grains of ''Euryale'' have three .

''Euryale'' is an annual plant native to eastern Asia, and is found from India to Korea and Japan, as well as parts of eastern Russia. It grows in water, producing bright purple flowers. The are large and round, often more than a meter across, with a a leaf stalk attached in the center of the lower surface. The underside of the leaf is purplish, while the upper surface is green. The leaves have a quilted texture, although the stems, flowers, and leaves which float on the surface are covered in sharp prickles. Other leaves are submerged.


The plant produces starchy white seeds, and the seeds are edible. The plant is cultivated for its seeds More than 96,000 hectares of Bihar, India, were set aside for cultivation of ''Euryale'' in 1990-1991. The plant does best in locations with hot, dry summers and cold winters. Seeds are collected in the late summer and early autumn, and may be eaten raw or cooked. In , the plant is called ''qiàn shí'' . Its edible seeds are used in traditional Chinese medicine, where they are often cooked in soups along with other ingredients, and believed to strengthen male potency and retard aging. In India, particularly in the northern and western parts of the country, ''Euryale ferox'' seeds are often roasted or fried, which causes them to pop like popcorn. These are then eaten, often with a sprinkling of oil and spices.

The name ''Euryale'' comes from the mythical Greek Gorgon by the same name. The Soviet Union issued a postage stamp featuring this species.


is a preparation of baby soybeans in the pod commonly found in China and Japan. The pods are boiled in water together with condiments such as salt, and served whole.

Outside East Asia, the dish is most often found in Japanese restaurants and some Chinese restaurants, but has also found popularity elsewhere as a healthy food item.


The Japanese name ''edamame'' is commonly used in some -speaking countries to refer to the dish. The Japanese name literally means "twig bean", and is a reference to the short stem attached to the pod. This term originally referred to young soybeans in general. Over time, however, the prevalence of the salt-boiled preparation meant that the term ''edamame'' now often refers specifically to this dish.

In , young soybeans are known as ''maodou'' . Young soybeans in the pod are known as ''maodoujia'' . Because boiling in the pod is the usual preparation for young soybeans, the dish is usually identified via a descriptive name, such as "boiled ''maodou''", or "salt-boiled ''maodou''", depending on the condiments added, but like in Japan, simply saying the name of the bean, maodou, in a Chinese restaurant will produce salt-flavored, boiled maodou.


Green soybeans in the pod are picked before they ripen. The ends of the pod may be cut before boiling or steaming.

The pods are then boiled in water or steamed. The most common preparation uses salt for taste. The salt may either be dissolved in the boiling water before introducing the soybean pods, or it may be added after the pods have been cooked.

Other condiments can also be used. ''Jiuzao'' , made from the highly fermented grain residue left over from the distilling of rice wine, can be used to add fragrance and flavor. Some recipes also call for Sichuan pepper for taste. Five-spice powder can also be used for flavoring.

Boiled soybean pods are usually served after cooling, but can also be served hot.

The beans are consumed by using one's teeth to squeeze them out of the pod. The pod itself is discarded.

The United States Department of Agriculture states that edamame are "a soybean that can be eaten fresh and is best known as a snack with a nutritional punch".


Fiber-rich carbohydrates such as edamame help prevent mood fluctuations by keeping blood-sugar levels steady. Edamame also contains protein, which further helps stabilize blood sugar, and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to combat depression .

Edamame beans contain higher levels of abscissic acid, sucrose, protein than other types of soybean. They also contain a high source of vitamin A, vitamin B and calcium.

Dried shrimp

Dried shrimp are shrimp that have been sun dried and shrunk to a thumbnail size. They are used primarily in Chinese cuisine, imparting a unique umami taste. A handful of shrimp are generally used for dishes. When cooked, the flavor is released as an ingredient. Despite the literal meaning of the name "shrimp rice", it has nothing to do with rice other than the fact that the shrimp are shrunk to a tiny size similar to grains of rice.


In East Asia

In Chinese cuisine, dried shrimp are used quite frequently for their sweet and unique flavor that is very different from fresh shrimp. They have the coveted umami flavor . It is an ingredient in the Cantonese XO sauce. Dried shrimp are also used in Chinese soups and braised dishes. It is also featured in Cantonese cuisine, particularly in some dim sum dishes such as rolled and rice noodle roll and in ''zongzi''.

Dried shrimp are also used in Korean cuisine, where they are soaked briefly to reconstitute them, and are then stir-fried with seasonings--typically garlic, ginger, scallions, , sugar, and hot peppers--and served as a side dish. It is called ''"mareunsaeu bokkeum"'' in . They are also used in some Korean braised dishes and used for making broth.

In Southeast Asia

In countries like Malaysia, shrimps are used to make a condiment called ''sambal udang'' . In Southeast Asia, prawns and shrimps are distinguished by their size and therefore it is not practical to make ''sambal udang'' with prawns. The Malay people developed ''sambal udang'', which uses fresh shrimp and is wetter, while the Chinese living in Southeast Asia, especially those of Peranakan descent, developed ''sambal udang kering'', which uses dried shrimp, is drier, and can be served as pub grub. Most major supermarkets in Malaysia and Singapore sell fresh shrimp from which the shells have already been removed.

Known as ???????? in Thai cuisine, dried shrimp is used extensively with chilies and Thai herbs to produce chili paste and various types of curry paste. Dried shrimp is also used as is in Northeastern dishes such as somtam.

Dried shrimp paste, called ''kapi'' , is also eaten in Thailand.

They are also used in Vietnamese cuisine, where they are called ''t?m kh?'', and are used in soups and in fried rice.


Douchi , also called Chinese fermented black beans, is a flavoring most popular in the cuisine of China, and is used to make black bean sauce.

''Douchi'' is made by and salting soybeans. The process turns the beans black, soft, and mostly dry. The flavor is sharp, pungent, and spicy in smell, with a taste that is salty and somewhat bitter and sweet.

''Douchi'' should not be confused with , a variety of common bean that is commonly used in the cuisines of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

In , ''douchi'' is also referred to by the same kanji and pronounced as ''touchi''.

The process and product are similar to ''ogiri'' and ''iru'', both being African fermented bean products.


Douchi is especially used to flavor fish or vegetables . Unlike some other fermented soybean-based foods such as natto or tempeh, ''douchi'' is used only as a seasoning, and is not meant to be consumed in large quantities, being typically much more salty.

Small packets of ''douchi'' are available wherever Chinese foods are sold.

Some common dishes made with ''douchi'' are Steamed Spare ribs with Fermented Black Beans and Chili Pepper , and Braised Mud Carp with Fermented Black Beans .

Black bean paste

In Chinese cuisine, a condiment called black bean paste or black bean garlic sauce is made from ''douchi'', as well as garlic and soy sauce, a typical combination used for seasoning a dish. This paste is commercially available in glass jars from companies such as Lee Kum Kee, although most Chinese restaurant chefs prefer to use actual ''douchi'' to prepare such sauces rather than using commercially available black bean paste.

Dog meat

In some countries, apart from being kept as pets, certain breeds of dogs are raised on farms and slaughtered for their meat. Dog meat may be consumed as an alternative source of meat or for specific medicinal benefits attributed to various parts of a dog. In parts of the world where dogs are kept as pets, people generally consider the use of dogs for food to be a .

Cultural attitudes, legalities, and history

Cultural attitudes, legalities, and history regarding eating dog meat varies from country to country. Very little statistical information is available on attitudes to the consumption of dog meat.

Though the consumption of dog meat is generally viewed as taboo in Western culture, some Westerners support the right to eat dog meat and accuse other Westerners who protest against dog eating in other countries of cultural imperialism and intolerance. Joey Skaggs, for instance, organized a hoax in the United States in which a fictitious Korean restaurant asked animal shelters for unwanted dogs to be made into dog meat in order to expose the prejudice of those opposed to dog-eating. Others, however, oppose the consumption of dog meat in non-Western countries, particularly Korea. They perceive dogs as inherently emotional and friendly to humanity, arguing that the slaughter of a dog for food is excessively cruel.
In Islamic culture, eating dogs is forbidden under Muslim dietary laws.

Arctic and Antarctic

Dogs have historically been an emergency food source for various peoples in Siberia, Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland. Sled dogs are usually maintained for pulling sleds, but occasionally are eaten when no other food is available.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen famously ate sled dogs during his expedition to the South Pole to survive. By eating some of the sled dogs he was able to transport less dog food, thus lightening his load.


Consumption of dog meat is taboo in mainstream Canadian culture. However it may be practised by some cultural minorities. In 2003, health inspectors discovered four frozen canine carcasses in the freezer of a in Edmonton.
Subsequently, the Edmonton health inspector said that it is not illegal to sell and eat the meat of dogs and other , as long as the meat has been inspected.
In the end, these four particular canine carcasses were found to be coyotes. Ed Greenburg, an official with Edmonton's Capital Health Region, said the fact that the animals were coyotes doesn't change anything and inspectors are still looking into the possibility that uninspected meat was served at the restaurant. Under Canada's Wildlife Act, it is illegal to sell meat from any wild species. There is no law against selling and serving canine meat, including dogs, but it must be killed and gutted in front of federal inspectors.


Dog meat has been a source of food in parts of China from at least the time of Confucius, and possibly even before. Ancient writings from the Zhou Dynasty referred to the "three beasts" , including pig, goat, and dog. Mencius, the philosopher, recommended dog as the tastiest of all meats. Dog meat is sometimes called "fragrant meat" or " of the earth" in and "3-6 fragrant meat" in .

In the past in China, during a hard season when the food store was depleted, dogs were occasionally slaughtered as an emergency food supply. Today it is consumed for its perceived medicinal value of increasing the positive energy of one's body , and helping to regulate . Due to this belief, people eat dog meat in the winter to help to keep themselves warm. This is also the reason why it isn't eaten by some other Chinese because they think it will overheat your body.

Contrary to some popular beliefs, the Chinese eat only dogs raised specifically for meat, not those raised as pets. The dogs are slaughtered between 6 and 12 months of age allegedly because of their size at that age, and for desirability of the meat.

Despite being a socially acceptable practice, the average Chinese does not usually consume dog meat as it is relatively expensive compared to other meat choices and hence generally more accessible to affluent Chinese. More concentrated dog meat consumption areas in China are in the northeast, south and southwestern areas. Peixian County in Northern Jiangsu is well-known in China for the production of a dog-meat stew flavoured with soft-shelled turtle. The dish is said to have been invented by Fan Kuai and to have been a favourite with Liu Bang, founder of the Han dynasty. 300,000 dogs are killed in the county each year, much of the meat being processed into stew for export across China and Korea.

The Chinese normally cook the dog meat by stewing it with thick gravy or by roasting it. One method of preparing the dog carcass is by immersion in boiling water, allowing the skin to be peeled off in one pull.

In Hong Kong, a local dating from British colonial times, which has been retained after the handover to Chinese sovereignty, prohibits the slaughter of any dog or cat for use as food, whether for mankind or otherwise, on pain of fine and imprisonment. Four local men were sentenced to 30 days imprisonment in December 2006 for having slaughtered two dogs. In an earlier case, in February 1998, a Hongkonger was sentenced to one month imprisonment and a fine of two thousand HK dollars for hunting street dogs for food.
Apart from this, a large proportion of Hong Kong residents are currently against the consumption of dog meat.

For , China is the only exporter of dog meat to Japan and exported 31 tons in 2006. In Japan dog meat is available in such as Tsuruhashi, Osaka and , Tokyo. Korean residents in Japan frequent dog meat restaurants there.

Some controversy has emerged about the treatment of dogs in China not because of the consumption itself, but because of other factors like cruelty involved with the killing including allegations that animals are skinned while still alive.

In recent years, more and more Chinese people changed their attitude towards eating dog meat from 'personal choice 'to 'unnecessary cruelty'. A growing movement against consumption of cat and dog meat has gained attention from people in mainland China. Those changes began about two years after the formation of the Chinese Companion Animal Protection Network, a networking project of Chinese Animal Protection Network. Expanded to more than 40 member societies, CCAPN in January 2006 began organizing well-publicized protests against dog and cat eating, starting in Guangzhou, following up in more than ten other cities "with very optimal response from public."

Since January 2007, more than ten Chinese groups have joined an online signing event against the consumption of cat and dog meat. The signatures indicate that the participants will avoid eating cat and dog meat in the future. This online signing event received more than 42,000 signatures from public and has been circulated around the country. Supportors of this online event also organized offline events in many cities, including several high profile performance-art shows.

Some Chinese restaurants in the United States serve "imitation dog meat", which is usually pulled pork and purportedly flavored like dog meat. e.g. "Northern Chinese Restaurant", Rosemead, California


In France, dogs were widely eaten during famines.


Dog meat has been eaten in every major German crisis at least since the time of Frederick the Great, and is commonly referred to as "blockade mutton." In the early 20th century, consumption of dog meat in Germany was common. In 1937, inspection was introduced for pigs, dogs, boars, foxes, badgers, and other carnivores. Since 1986 dog meat is prohibited in Germany.


Dog meat is consumed in the remote, inaccessible mountainous parts of North-East India such as Mizoram and Nagaland.

Apart from the above area eating dog is a taboo in present day India. In addition, Hinduism, the primary religion of India has a strong vegetarian tradition. But there have been some stories about Viswamitra, vamadeva rishis eating dog meat when in complete scarcity of food supplies.


In Indonesia, the consumption of dog meat are usually associated with the Minahasa, a Christian ethnic group in northern Sulawesi, and Batak tribe of Northern Sumatra who consider dog meat to be a festive dish and usually reserve it for special occasions like weddings and Christmas.. Popular Indonesian dog-meat dish are Rica-Rica, "RW" or Rintek Wuuk, Rica-Rica Waung, Guk-Guk and "B1". Locally on Java there are several names for dishes made from dog meat such as SengSu , Sate Jamu and Kambing Balap.


Gaegogi literally means "dog meat" in . ''Gaegogi'', however, is often mistaken as the term for soup made from dog meat, ''bosintang''. Though proponents claim that dogs used for food are a special breed, the soup may be made from any breed of dog. Since 1984, selling dog meat has been illegal in South Korea. Dog meat manufacturing and processing are not allowed,
but the order is sometimes ignored.

The consumption of dog meat can be traced back many centuries. Dog bones were excavated in a neolithic settlement in Changnyeong, Province. One of the wall paintings in the in South Hwangghae Province, a which dates from 4th century AD, depicts a slaughtered dog in a storehouse.

Types of dishes

*bosintang - dog stew including dog meat as its primary ingredient.
*gaejangguk - dog meat soup.
*gaesuyuk - boiled dog meat.
*gaesoju - a fermented drink that is distilled by cooking the dog in a double boiler. Dog’s penis used to be added as a medicine to supplement energy.


Use of dogs for meat and the methods of slaughter used have generated friction between dog lovers, both Western and Korean, and people who eat dogs; the conflict occasionally breaks out as headline news. During the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea's capital city, the South Korean government asked its citizens not to consume dog meat to avoid bad publicity during the games. The controversy surfaced again in 2001 during the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
The organizer of the games, under pressure from animal rights groups such as PETA, demanded that the Korean government re-address the issue.

Today in Korea, a segment of the population enjoy ''bosintang'' , believing it to have medicinal properties, particularly as relates to virility. Dog meat is also believed to keep one cool during the intense Korean summer. Many consider eating meat an offense, which includes dog meat. Unlike beef, pork, or poultry, dog meat has no legal status as food in South Korea. Some in South Korea and abroad believe that dog meat should be expressly legalized so that only authorized preparers can deal with the meat in more humane and sanitary ways, while others think that the practice should be banned by law.

In recent years, more and more Korean people changed their attitude towards eating dog meat from 'personal choice 'to 'unnecessary cruelty'. Animal rights activists in South Korea protest against the custom of eating dog meat.


Dogs were historically bred for their meat by the Aztecs. reported that when he arrived in Tenochtitlan in 1519, "small gelded dogs which they breed for eating" were among the goods sold in the city markets.
These dogs, now extinct, were called ''itzcuintlis'', and were similar to the modern Mexican Hairless Dog. They are often depicted in pre-Columbian Mexican pottery.

In May 2008 a man named Rubén Cuellar of Veracruz-Boca del Rio was accused of engaging in the slaughter of dogs and selling the meat to local taco restaurants. He was detained by police pending investigation.


Dogs are eaten in some states of Nigeria including Cross River, Plateau, Taraba and Gombe of Nigeria. They are believed to have medicinal powers.


In the capital city of Manila, Metro Manila Commission Ordinance 82-05
specifically prohibits the killing and selling of dogs for food.
More generally, the Philippine Animal Welfare Act 1998
prohibits the killing of any animal other than cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabaos, horses, deer and crocodiles except in the following instances:
#When it is done as part of the religious rituals of an established religion or sect or a ritual required by tribal or ethnic custom of indigenous cultural communities; however, leaders shall keep records in cooperation with the Committee on Animal Welfare;
#When the pet animal is afflicted with an incurable as determined and certified by a duly licensed veterinarian;
#When the killing is deemed necessary to put an end to the misery suffered by the animal as determined and certified by a duly licensed veterinarian;
#When it is done to prevent an imminent danger to the life or limb of a human being;
#When done for the purpose of animal population control;
#When the animal is killed after it has been used in authorized research or experiments; and
#Any other ground analogous to the foregoing as determined and certified by a licensed veterinarian.

Nevertheless, as is reported from time to time in Philippine newspapers, the eating of dog meat is not uncommon in the Philippines.,an organization working in the Philippines to eliminate the eating of dogs in the country, estimates that 500,000 dogs are killed annually in the Philippine Islands for human consumption.

In the Province of Benguet, Resolution 05-392 has been passed declaring, among other things, ''"it has been an evolved cultural practice of indigenous peoples of the the butchering of animals, dogs included, as part of their rituals and practices leading to its commercialization to a limited extent, and had become an inevitable common necessity in their way of life"''; and resolving, among other things, ''"to seek the help and assistance of the Committee on Animal Welfare, Department of Agriculture, the Regional Police Office, Cordillera Administrative Region, the Provincial Police Office, Benguet Province, for the proper observance of the said rights of indigenous peoples"''.


Dogs were historically eaten in Tahiti and other islands of Polynesia including Hawaii

at the time of first European contact. James Cook, when first visiting Tahiti in 1769, recorded in his journal that "few were there of us but what allowe'd that a South Sea Dog was next to an English Lamb, one thing in their favour is that they live entirely upon Vegetables".


According to the November 21, 1996, edition of the ''Rheintaler Bote'', a newspaper covering the Rhine Valley area, the rural Swiss cantons of Appenzell and are known to have had a tradition of eating dogs, curing dog meat into and sausages, as well as using the lard for medicinal purposes. Dog sausage and smoked dog jerky remains a staple in the Swiss cantons of St. Gallen and Appenzell, where one farmer was quoted in a regional weekly newspaper as saying that "meat from dogs is the healthiest of all. It has shorter fibres than cow meat, has no hormones like veal, no antibiotics like pork."

A few years earlier, a news report on RTL Television on the two cantons set off a wave of protests from European animal rights activists and other concerned citizens. A 7000-name petition was filed to the commissions of the cantons, who rejected it, saying it wasn't the state's right to monitor the eating habits of its citizens.

The production of food from dog meat for commercial purposes, however, is illegal in Switzerland.


Dog meat is known by the euphemism "fragrant meat" in in Taiwan. Eating dogs has never been commonplace in Taiwan, but it is particularly eaten in the winter months, especially black dogs, which are believed to help retain body warmth.
In 2004, the Taiwanese government imposed a ban on the sale of dog meat, due to both pressure from domestic animal welfare groups and a desire to improve international perceptions, although there were some protests.
According to Lonely Planet's Taiwan guide, it is still possible to find dog meat on some restaurant menus, but this is becoming increasingly rare.


Dog meat is consumed in Vietnam to varying degrees of acceptability, though it predominantly exists in the north. There are multiple dishes featuring dog meat, and they often include the head, feet and internal organs. On Nhat Tan Street, District, Hanoi, many restaurants serve dog meat, often imitating each other. Dog meat restaurants can be found throughout the country. Groups of customers, usually male, seated on mats, will spend their evenings sharing plates of dog meat and drinking alcohol. Dog meat is supposed to raise the libido and is sometimes considered unsuitable for women; in other words, eating dog meat can serve as a male bonding exercise. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for women to eat dog meat. The consumption of dog meat can be part of a ritual usually occurring toward the end of the lunar month for reasons of astrology and luck. Restaurants which mainly exist to serve dog meat may only open for the last half of the lunar month.

Types of dishes

In Vietnamese cuisine there are many ways to cook dog meat. Typically a chef will choose one of seven ways to cook dog, collectively known as "c?y t? 7 món".

* Thit cho hap - steamed dog meat
* Rua man - steamed dog in shrimp paste, rice flour and lemon grass
* Doi cho - dog sausage
* Gieng Me Mam Tom - Steamed dog in shrimp paste, ginger, spices and rice vinegar
* Thit cho nuong - grilled dog meat
* Canh Xao Mang Cho - Bamboo shoots and dog bone marrow
* Cho Xao Sa Ot - Fried dog in lemon grass and chili

United States

In the United States, it is considered a social taboo to eat dogs or other animals traditionally considered to be pets or companion animals.

Native Americans

The traditional culture surrounding the consumption of dog meat varied from tribe to tribe among the original inhabitants of North America, with some tribes relishing it as a delicacy and others treating it as an abhorrent practice. Native peoples of the Great Plains, such as the Sioux and Cheyenne, consumed it, but there was a concurrent religious taboo against the meat of wild canines. The usual preparation method was boiling.

Further reading



Conpoy or dried scallop is type of dried seafood product made from the adductor muscle of scallops. The smell of conpoy is marine, pungent, and reminiscent of certain salt-cured meats. Its taste is rich and umami due to its high content of various free amino acids, such as glycine, alanine, and glutamic acid. It is also rich in nucleic acids such as inosinic acid, amino acid byproducts such as taurine, and minerals, such as calcium and zinc.

Depending on production method, conpoy can made from cooked or uncooked scallops, with the former allowing enhancement and manipulation of the products final taste.


''Conpoy'' is a loanword from the pronunciation of ''konpui'' , which literally means "dried shell".

When used for cuisines and sliced up for cooking, it is generally referred to as


In Hong Kong, conpoy from two types of scallops are common. Conpoy made from ''Atrina pectinata'' or ''kongyiu'' , a freshwater scallop from mainland China, is small and milder in taste. ''Pationopecten yessoensis'' or ''sinpui'' , a sea scallop imported from Japan , produces a conpoy that is stronger and richer in taste.

Like many dried foods, conpoy was originally made as a way to preserve seafood in times of excess. In more recent times its use in cuisine has been elevated to gourmet status. Conpoy has a strong and distinctive flavor that can be easily identified when used in rice congee, stir fries, stews, and sauces.

XO sauce, a seasoning used for frying vegetables or seafoods in Cantonese cuisine, contains significant quantities of conpoy.


Chinese herbs

Chinese herbs are herbs originating from China. They are widely used in Chinese cuisine.
The use of Chinese herbs is a very popular tradition. “Many of the modern day drugs have been developed from these herbs such as the treatments for asthma and hay fever from Chinese ephedra, hepatitis remedies from schizandra fruits and licorice roots and a number of anticancer agents from trees and shrubs”. “There are several herbal drugs that invigorate the energy, nourish the blood, calm tension and regulate menstruation such as Bupleurum Sedative Pills and Women’s Precious Pills”. There are over three hundred herbs that are commonly being used today that have a history that goes back at least 2,000 years.

“The two most common way to using herbs are to make a strong tea that should be simmered for about an hour or possibly more, or to make large honey bound pills”.

Most Chinese herbs are usually used to help build and strengthen the body. The most commonly used herbs are Ginseng , wolfberry, Dong Quai , astragalus , atractylodes , bupleurum , cinnamon , coptis , ginger , hoelen , licorice , ''ephedra sinica'' , peony , rehmannia , rhubarb , and salvia . These are just a few of the herbs.
The use of Ginseng is well “over two thousand years old in Chinese medicine”. Ginseng is known to help boost your energy, reduce stress and increases your endurance. Ginseng consists of ginsenosides. “The amount of ginsenosides in ginseng depends on how the plant was cultivated and the age of the root”. “Wild ginseng is rare and commands for the highest prices on the market, but most ginseng on the market today is a reasonable price. Red Panax ginseng is the most popular form of ginseng and it is usually packaged as a liquid or tea”. Ginseng comes in two kinds, red and white. The color of the ginseng depends on how it is processed. “White ginseng is unprocessed and dries naturally. Red ginseng is preserved with steam and is believed to be more effective”. Native Americans have used American ginseng for dry coughs, constipation and fevers. “Many women found relief from night sweats and hot flashes from the use of American ginseng”. “The use of ginseng is a safe way to boost energy, vitality and your overall health”.

Wolfberry is grown in the Far East and is grown from shrubs with long vines. The shrubs are covered with small trumpet-shaped flowers, which turn into small, bright red berries. The berries are usually fresh and sometimes used when it is dried. “Goji Berry is mostly used to treat kidney, liver, eye, and skin problems, diabetes, tuberculosis, anxiety, and insomnia. It also helps to lower the blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They are known to improve the state of health, strengthen the immune system and increasing the longevity and vitality of the human kind”.

Dong Quai is an “aromatic herb that grows in China, Japan and Korea. It is used to regulate the menstrual cycle and to treat menopausal symptoms caused by the hormonal changes”. Even though it is good for women, it also helps treat the heart, spleen, liver and kidneys that help both the men and women. The effect of the herb in treating menstrual cramps is explained by the compounds that help relax the muscle tissue and relieves pain. Dong Quai also stimulates the central nervous system, which can remedy menstrual weakness and headaches. “The use of this herb is mostly found in tea, herbal preparations, capsules and extracts. It usually comes in tablet, liquid extract and raw root forms. For the best use of the Dong Quai to provide long term relief from menopause syndromes is to take it regularly between 8 and 12 weeks and especially at the end of the treatment”. “Using Dong Quai regularly relieves menstrual cramps, prevents the symptoms of menopause and PMS, corrects hormone imbalance and acts as a general tonic for the female reproductive system”. “There isn’t a certain amount of dosage for Dong Quai but in Chinese medicine Dong Quai is made in a special way- it is boiled or soaked in wine, then the liquid is taken orally while the root is being removed”. “In the United States and Europe, Dong Quai is a very popular flavoring component in food products such as ice cream, candy, gelatins and puddings but in Asia it is most likely used to treat female troubles”.

Astragalus is a root used for immune deficiencies and allergies. “The Chinese use the dried sliced or powdered root to boost the immune system, to increase the body resistance to infections, healing allergies and to raise and renew vitality. Astragalus is usually mixed with other herbs to make tea such as ginseng and Codonopsis. Astragalus is known to help prevent diseases but not to cure them”.

Atractylodes are considered very important to the treatment of digestive disorders and problems of moisture accumulation. The herb helps move moisture from the digestive tract to the blood that reduces diarrhea, gas and bloating. Atractylodes is rarely ever used by itself. It is usually included into tonic prescriptions”.

Bupleurum is useful for the treatment of liver diseases, skin ailments, arthritis, menopausal syndrome, withdrawal from corticosteroid use, nephritis, stress-induced ulcers, and mental disorders. Bupleurum is rich in saponins that reduce inflammation and regulates hormone levels. This specific herb isn’t to be used by itself, but combined with 4 to 12 other ingredients that is made into tea, pills or tablets.”

Cinnamon or mostly known as guizhi and rougi are twigs and bark from large tropical trees that are to warm the body, invigorate the circulation in the body, and harmonize the energy of the upper and lower body”. Cinnamon also reduces allergy reactions. The herb is usually cooked together with other herbs to make tea that regulates the circulation of blood.

Coptis is an underground stem that is one of the bitterest herbs used in Chinese medicine. “It is full of alkatoids that inhibit infections and calm nervous agitation”. Coptis is usually combined with other bitter-tasting herbs such as phellodendron, scute and gardenia. This herb has many uses including the treatment of skin diseases, intestinal infections, hypertensions and insomnia. Since coptis is such a bitter tasting herb, it is often used to make pills or tablets.

Ginger is a herb and a spice that can be used for many uses even in Chinese cuisine. In this case, it is used in Chinese medicine. “Ginger is highly spicy and is beneficial to digestion, neutralizing poisons in food, ventilating the lungs, to warm the circulation to the limbs, diarrhea and heart conditions”. “Many herbalists use ginger to treat coughs and the common cold”. Ginger is also used in making tea.

Hoelen is a large fungus that grows on pine roots and is used alleviate irritation and transports moisture out of the digestive system into the blood stream and from the different body tissues to the bladder. When parts of the pine root is mixed with the herb, it is called fushen and produces a mild sedative action”.

Licorice or gancao are roots that have an extremely sweet taste but is a little bitter and are said to neutralize toxins, relieve inflammation, and enhance digestion. The use of licorice is to treat hepatitis, sore throat, and muscle spasms. When licorice is baked with honey it can also help in the treatment of hyperthyroidism and heart valve diseases.

Ma-huang is another type of herb. “Ma-huang is a stem-like herb that stimulate perspiration, open the breathing passages and invigorate the central nervous system”. “It is said that ma-huang has a metabolic enhancer that can burn more calories and quicker than fro those that are trying to lose weight”. Ma-huang can be made into a tea or can be used in an extract form but powdered ma-huang is rarely ever used.

Peony or is also known as baishao and chihshao is a flower where the Chinese use the root of the peony to regulate the blood. “The root of the peony relaxes the blood vessels, reduces platelt sticking, nourishes the blood and promotes circulation to the skin and extremities”. “The roots of both wild and cultivated are used. The wild peonies “red peony” are a fibrous root that is used to stimulate blood circulation. The cultivated peony “white peony” is a dense root that nourishes the blood. Peony is often combined with tang-kuei or licorice”.

Rehmannia or dihuang is a root where the dark, moist part of the herb is used to nourish the blood and the hormonal system. It is usually used in the treatment problems of aging because the herbs ability to restore the levels of several declining hormones. There are two forms of the herb that are currently used. One is designated shengdihuang or raw rehmannia is given to reduce inflammation. The other designated shoudihuang or cooked rehmannia is used as a nourishing tonic. Often the two forms are combined together in equal proportions to address inflammatory problems. This herb is mostly used in making decoctions or dried decoctions”.

Rhubarb is a large root and was once one of the first herbs that was imported from China. Rhubarb is a reliable laxative and it enhances the appetite when it is taken before meals in very small amounts. It also promotes blood circulation and relieving pain in cases of injury or inflammation and inhibiting intestinal infections. Rhubarb can also reduce autoimmune reactions. The impact of the rhubarb depends on how it is prepared. If the rhubarb is cooked for a long time, the laxative actions are reduced but other actions are retained”.

Salvia are the deep roots of this Chinese sage plant. It is applied in the cases where the body tissues have been damaged by disease or injury. Salvia is given for post-stroke syndrome, traumatic injury, chronic inflammation and/or infection, and degenerative diseases. It is best known for its ability to promote circulation in the capillary beds or the microcirculation system. Also, salvia lowers blood pressure, helps reduce cholesterol and enhances functions of the liver. Salvia can be taken alone or consumed with other herbs, teas or pills”.

“Tang-kuei is a long root that is known as a blood nourishing agent. It is highly used among women because teng-kuei will help regulate uterine blood flow and contraction but when it is in complex formulas it can be used by both men and women to nourish the blood, moisten the intestines, improve the circulation, calm tension and relieve pain. Tang-kuei can be made as tea or cooked with chicken to make soup and the taste is quite strong”.

Chinese cabbage

Chinese cabbage also known as snow cabbage, is a leaf vegetable commonly used in Chinese cuisine. The vegetable is related to the Western cabbage and of the same species as the . There are many variations on its name, spelling, and scientific classification.


Chinese cabbage has been cultivated for over six thousand years in China. ''Brassica rapa'' seeds have been found in jars in the excavated New Stone Age settlement of Banpo. They were a common part of the diet in southern China by the 5th century.

The Ming Dynasty pharmacologist Li Shizhen studied the Chinese cabbage for its medicinal qualities. Before this time the Chinese cabbage was largely confined to the Yangtze River Delta region. The Chinese cabbage as it is known today is very similar to a variant bred in Zhejiang around the 14th century. During the following centuries, it became popular in northern China and the northern harvest soon exceeded the southern one. Northern cabbages were exported along the to Zhejiang and as far south as Guangdong.

They were introduced to Korea, where it became the staple vegetable for making kimchi. In the early 20th century, it was taken to Japan by returning soldiers who had fought in China during the Russo-Japanese War. At present, the Chinese cabbage is quite commonly found in markets throughout the world.


There are two distinctly different groups of ''Brassica rapa'' used as leaf vegetables in China, and a wide range of varieties within these two groups. The binomial name ''B. campestris'' is also used.


This group is the more common of the two, especially outside Asia; names such as ''da baicai'' ; ''Baguio pechay or pechay wombok'' ; ''Chinese white cabbage''; ''baechu'' , ''wongbok, nappa, or napa cabbage''; and ''hakusai'' usually refer to members of this group. ''Pekinensis'' cabbages have broad green leaves with white s, tightly wrapped in a cylindrical formation and usually, but not necessarily, forming a compact head. As the group name indicates, this is particularly popular in northern China around Beijing .


This group was originally classified as its own species under the name ''B. chinensis'' by . When used in English, the name ''bok choy'' typically refers to ''Chinensis''. Smaller in size, the Mandarin term ''xiao baicai'' as well as the descriptive English names ''Chinese chard'', ''Chinese mustard'', ''celery mustard'', and ''spoon cabbage'' are also employed. ''Chinensis'' varieties do not form heads; instead, they have smooth, dark green leaf blades forming a cluster reminiscent of or celery. ''Chinensis'' varieties are popular in southern China and Southeast Asia. Being winter-hardy, they are increasingly grown in Northern Europe.

Commercial variants of ''Chinensis'' include:
*''Bok Choy'' ; succulent, white stems with dark green leaves and ''Baby Bok Choy''; succulent, pale green stems with leaves the same color; both quite common in US West Coast oriental markets.
*''Choy Sum'' : also called ''yu cai'' , this brassica refers to a small, delicate version of pak choi. In appearance it is more similar to rapini or broccoli rabe, than the typical ''pak choi''. In English, it can also be called "Flowering Chinese Cabbbage" due to the yellow flowers that comes with this particular vegetable. "Choy sum" is sometimes used to describe the stem of any Chinese cabbage or the heart of ''Shanghai pak choi''.
*''Shanghai Pak Choi'' refers to dark green varieties where the varioles are also green. It is probably the most common vegetable in Shanghai, where it is simply called ''qingcai'' or ''qingjiangcai'' .


In Mandarin Chinese ''bai cai'' refers to both groups of ''B. rapa''. However, the English word ''bok choy'' and its variations ''bok choi'' and ''pak choi'' are derived from the cognate, which instead denotes one specific variety of cabbage, namely those with white stems and dark green leaves. The other varieties all have different names which entered the English language as ''you choy'', ''choy sum'', ''napa'' and ''baby bok choy'', etc. Hence the English word ''bok choy'' is not equivalent to the Mandarin word ''bai cai'', though the Chinese characters are the same.


Chinese Chestnut

The Chinese Chestnut , a member of the family Fagaceae, is a species of chestnut native to China, in the provinces of Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xizang, Yunnan, and Zhejiang, and also to Taiwan and Korea. It grows close to sea level in the north of its range, and at altitudes of up to 2,800 m in the south of the range. The species prefers full sun and acidic, loamy soil, and has a medium growth rate.

It is a deciduous tree growing to 20 m tall with a broad crown. The are alternate, simple, 10-22 cm long and 4.5-8 cm broad, with a toothed margin. The flowers are produced in catkins 4-20 cm long, with the female flowers at the base of the catkin and males on the rest. The fruit is a densely spiny cupule 4-8 cm diameter, containing two or three glossy brown s; these are 2-3 cm diameter on wild trees. The scientific name ''mollissima'' derives from the softly downy shoots and young leaves.. Some cultivars, such as 'Kuling', 'Meiling', and 'Nanking', have large nuts up to 4 cm diameter. The nuts are sweet, and considered by some to have the best taste of any chestnut, though others state they are not as good as the American Chestnut. The nuts also provide a significant food source for wildlife.

When cultivated in close proximity to other species of chestnut , Chinese Chestnut readily cross-pollinates with them to form .

Chinese Chestnuts have evolved over a long period of time in coexistence with the bark disease chestnut blight , and have evolved a very successful resistance to the blight, probably more so than any other species of chestnut, so that, although it is not immune, it typically sustains no more than minor damage when infected. This is in stark contrast to the American Chestnut, which had no resistance to the blight, and was nearly wiped out by it after its introduction from Asia to North America. An active program has been pursued in North America to cross-breed Chinese and American Chestnut to try to maximize the traits of the American Chestnut, such as larger stature, larger leaf size, larger nut size, and greater nut sweetness, while also isolating and carrying the blight resistance from the Chinese Chestnut.

References and external links


Chenpi or chen pi is sun-dried tangerine used as a traditional seasoning in Chinese cooking and . They are aged by storing them dry. They have a pungent and bitter taste.

Century egg

Century egg, also known as preserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg, and thousand-year-old egg, is a Chinese cuisine ingredient made by preserving duck, chicken or quail in mixture of clay, ash, salt, , and rice straw for several weeks to several months, depending on the method of processing. After the process is completed, the yolk becomes a dark green, cream-like substance with a strong odor of sulfur and ammonia, while the white becomes a dark brown, transparent jelly with little flavor or taste. The transforming agent in century egg is its alkaline material, which gradually raises the pH of egg from around 9 to 12 or more. This chemical process breaks down some of the complex, flavorless proteins and fats, which produces a variety of smaller flavorful compounds.

Some eggs have patterns near the surface of the egg white that are likened to pine branches.


The origin of the method for creating century eggs likely came about through placing eggs in mud made from alkaline clay and water in order to preserve eggs in times of plenty. The clay hardens around the egg and likely resulted in the curing and creation of century eggs instead of spoiled eggs.


The traditional method for producing century eggs is a development and improvement from the aforementioned primitive process. Instead of using just clay, a mixture of wood ash, quicklime, and is included in the plastering mixture, thereby increasing the pH and sodium content of the clay mixture. This addition of natural alkaline compounds improved the odds of creating century eggs instead of spoilage and also increased the speed of the process. A recipe for creating century eggs through this process starts with the infusion of three pounds of tea in boiling water. To the tea, three pounds of quicklime , nine pounds of sea-salt, and seven pounds of wood ash from burning oak is mixed together into a smooth paste. Each egg is then individually covered by hand, with gloves being worn to prevent the corrosive action of the lime on skin. Each egg is then rolled in a mass of rice chaff to keep the eggs from adhering to one another before they are placed in cloth-covered jars or tightly woven baskets. In about three months, the mud slowly dries and hardens into a crust, and then the eggs are ready for consumption. The recipe makes around 100 to 150 century eggs.


Even though the traditional method is still widely practiced, modern understanding of the chemistry behind the formation of century eggs has led to many simplifications in the recipe. For instance soaking the eggs in a brine of , calcium hydroxide, and sodium carbonate for 10 days followed by several weeks of aging while wrapped in plastic is said to achieve the same effect as the traditional method. This is true to the extent that egg curing in both new and traditional methods is accomplished by introducing alkali hydroxide ions and sodium into the egg.

Although slightly poisonous, lead oxide is also known to increase the curing speed of century eggs and is thus added to the curing mixture by some century egg producers in China, which is the world's largest producer of century eggs. Zinc oxide may be used as a replacement Although zinc is an essential micronutrient it can lead to a copper deficiency, so the zinc content should be checked for safety.


Century eggs can be eaten without further preparation, on their own as a side dish. As an hors d'?uvre, the Cantonese wrap chunks of this egg with slices of pickled . A Shanghainese recipe mixes chopped century eggs with chilled tofu. In Taiwan it is popular to eat century eggs on top of cold tofu with katsuobushi, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a style similar to Japanese Hiyayakko. A variation of this recipe common in northern China is to slice century eggs over chilled silken tofu, adding liberal quantities of shredded young ginger and chopped spring onions as a topping, and then drizzling light soy sauce and sesame oil over the dish, to taste. They are also used in a dish called old-and-fresh eggs, where chopped century eggs are combined with an omelet made with fresh eggs.

Some Chinese households cut them up into small chunks and cook them with rice porridge to create ''Century egg and Lean Pork congee'' , and is sometimes served in dim sum restaurants. Rice congee, lean pork, and century egg are the main ingredients. Peeled century eggs are cut into quarters or eighths and simmered together with the seasoned marinated lean slivers of pork until both ingredients are cooked into the rice congee. Fried dough sticks known as youtiao are commonly eaten with century egg congee.

On special events, like wedding banquets or birthday parties, a first course platter of sliced , pickled , sliced abalone, pickled carrots, pickled julienned daikon radish, seasoned julienned jellyfish, sliced pork, brawn and the quartered century eggs is served. This is called a ''lahng-poon'' in , which simply means cold dish.

A popular street food in Hong Kong consists of whole century eggs coated in fish meal, breaded, and deepfried, producing a snack analogous to the ubiquitous Scotch egg in the United Kingdom.


According to a persistent myth, century eggs are or once were prepared by soaking eggs in horse urine. However, this is not plausible since urine is usually acidic or very weakly alkaline, and would not actually preserve the eggs. The myth may arise from the ammonia smell created during some production processes.


* Mabel Ho ''Chemistry Potpourri : Unlocking Chemistry through Investigations'', Singapore Science Centre
* H.C. Hou , , ''The United Nations University Press Food and Nutrition Bulletin'' Chapter 3, 3, ISBN 92-808-0254-2
* Taiwan Livestock Research Institute and Philippine Council for Agriculture Retrieved March 24 2007.

Cat meat

Cat meat or cat flesh is meat derived from cats. It is eaten sporadically in southern China, northern Vietnam, Peru and Switzerland. Cat has also been eaten in . During wartime rationing, cats found their way into "rabbit" stews/pies and hence earned themselves the nickname "roof-rabbit".

This should not be confused with a British usage of Cat meat referring to the meat sold by a cat-meat man or cat's meat man , a person who sold skewers of horsemeat and beef to cat owners in the days before packaged petfoods. Meat from a cat would more usually be termed cat flesh.

In southern China and northern Vietnam some people consider cat flesh a good warming food during winter months. The cat's stomach and intestines are eaten, as well as the thighs, which are turned into meatballs. The head and the rest of the animal are thrown away. Cats are sometimes boiled and made into a tonic as a folk remedy for neuralgia and arthritis in Korea, though the meat by itself is not customarily eaten.

Because cats are regarded as carnivorous animals, consumption of cat meat is under or Islamic dietary laws.

Cat is a regular menu item in Peru and is used in such dishes as fricasse and stews. Cat cooking techniques are demonstrated every September at festival of Saint Efigenia in a town of La Quebrada.

Cats are eaten in some rural parts of Switzerland. The traditional recipe on farms in some regions involved cooking the cat with sprigs of thyme. . Also cat has been a traditional food in some parts of Northern Italy, particularly Vicenza, whose inhabitants are still nicknamed "magnagati"


With the rise of pet cat ownership in China, more people have become opposed to the traditional use of cat as food. In June 2006, approximately 40 animal activists stormed the Fangji Cat Meatball Restaurant, a local restaurant specializing in cat meat in Shenzhen, China. They managed to force the restaurant to shut down and discontinue its selling of cat meat.

Those changes began about two years after the formation of the Chinese Companion Animal Protection Network, a networking project of Chinese Animal Protection Network. Expanded to more than 40 member societies, CCAPN in January 2006 began organizing well-publicized protests against dog and cat eating, starting in Guangzhou, following up in more than ten other cities "with very optimal response from public."

Black cardamom

Black cardamom is a plant in the family Zingiberaceae. Its seed pods have a strong, smoky, camphor-like flavor.

The pods are used as a spice, in a manner similar to the green cardamom pods, but those have a drastically different flavor. Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavor and aroma derive from traditional methods of drying over open flames.


There are at least two distinct species of black cardamom: ''Amomum subulatum'' and ''Amomum costatum'' or ''A. tsao-ko''. The pods of ''A. subulatum,'' used primarily in the , are the smaller of the two, while the larger pods of ''A. costatum'' are used in Chinese cuisine, particularly that of ; and Vietnamese cuisine.

Culinary uses

In India, black cardamom seeds are often an important component of the Indian spice mixture garam masala. Black cardamom is also commonly used in savory dal and rice dishes.

In China, the pods are used for long- meat dishes, particularly in the cuisine of the central-western province of Sichuan.

The pods are also often used in Vietnam, where they are called ''th?o qu?'' and used as an ingredient in the broth for the noodle soup called ''ph?''.

Black cardamom pods can be used in soups, chowders, casseroles, and marinades for smoky flavor, much in the way bacon is used.

Black cardamom is often erroneously described as an inferior substitute for green cardamom by those who are unfamiliar with the spice. Although the flavor differs from the more common green cardamom, black cardamom is sometimes used by large-scale commercial bakers because of its relative cheapness.

Medicinal uses

In Chinese medicine, tsao-ko is used to treat stomach disorders and malaria.

Packages warn not to eat the product uncooked or as a snack food.


Wolfberry is the common name for the fruit of two very closely related species: Lycium barbarum and L. chinense , two species of boxthorn in the family Solanaceae . Although its original habitat is obscure , wolfberry species currently grow in many world regions. Only in China, however, is there significant commercial cultivation.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture Germplasm Resources Information Network, it is also known as Chinese wolfberry, goji berry, barbary matrimony vine, bocksdorn, Duke of Argyll's tea tree, or matrimony vine. Unrelated to the plant's geographic origin, the names Tibetan goji and Himalayan goji are in common use in the market for products from this plant.


Renowned in Asia as a highly nutritious food, wolfberries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for about 1,900 years . Their undocumented legend, however, is considerably older, as wolfberries are often linked in Chinese lore to Shen Nung , China's legendary First Emperor, mythical father of agriculture, and herbalist who lived circa 2,800 BC.

Since the early 21st century in the United States and other such developed countries, there has been rapidly growing recognition of wolfberries for their nutrient richness and antioxidant qualities, leading to a profusion of consumer products. Such rapid commercial development extends from wolfberry having a high ranking among superfruits expected to be part of a multi-billion dollar market by 2011.


Wolfberry species are deciduous woody perennial plants, growing 1-3 m high. ''L. chinense'' is grown in the south of China and tends to be somewhat shorter, while ''L. barbarum'' is grown in the north, primarily in the Ningxia , and tends to be somewhat taller.

The botanical division named to the upper right, Magnoliophyta, identifies plants that flower and the class Magnoliopsida represents flowering plants with two embryonic seed leaves called cotyledons appearing at germination.

The order Solanales names a perennial plant with five-petaled flowers that are more or less united into a ring at the base; well-known members of the order include morning glory, bindweed, and sweet potato as well as the plants of the Solanaceae, mentioned below.

Lastly, Solanaceae is the nightshade family that includes hundreds of plant foods like potato, tomato, eggplant, wolfberry, peppers , crop commodities , and flowers .
Although the Solanales includes many plant foods, some members are poisonous .

Leaves and flower

Wolfberry leaves form on the shoot either in an alternating arrangement or in bundles of up to three, each having a shape that is either lanceolate or ovate . Leaf dimensions are 7 cm long by 3.5 cm wide with blunted or round tips.

One to three flowers occur on stems 1-2 cm in length. The is comprised of bell-shaped or tubular sepals forming short, triangular lobes. The are lavender or light purple, 9-14 cm long with five or six lobes shorter than the tube. The stamens are structured with anthers that open lengthwise, shorter in length than the .

In the northern hemisphere, flowering occurs from June through September and berry maturation from August to October, depending on latitude, altitude, and climate.


These species produce a bright orange-red, ellipsoid berry 1-2 cm long photo. The number of seeds in each berry varies widely based on cultivar and fruit size, containing anywhere between 10-60 tiny yellow seeds that are compressed with a curved embryo. The berries ripen from July to October in the Northern hemisphere.


"Wolfberry" is the most commonly used English name, while ''gǒuqǐ'' is the Chinese name for the berry producing plant. In Chinese, the berries themselves are called ''gǒuqǐzi'' , with ''zi'' meaning "seed" or specifically "berry". Other common names are "the Tea Tree" Interpreters of botanical nomenclature believe ''barbarum'', the species name, indicates that the wolfberry was of foreign origin, perhaps originating outside Anatolia or China, or was deemed a plant not native to the region where it was first discovered.

Together, these names are used as specific botanical identifiers in binomial nomenclature for which ''barbarum'' is the specific epithet. The end abbreviation, L., refers to , who described the species in 1753 in ''Species Plantarum''. ''L. chinense'' was first described by the Scottish botanist Philip Miller in the eighth edition of his ''The Gardener's Dictionary'', published in 1768.

In Japan the plant is known as ''kuko'' and the fruits are called ''kuko no mi'' or ''kuko no kajitsu'' ; in Korea the berries are known as ''gugija'' ; in Vietnam the fruit is called "k? t?" , "c?u k?" , "c?u k? t?" but the plant and its leaves are known more popularly as "c? kh?i"; and in Thailand the plant is called ''g?o gèe'' . In the plant is called ''dre-tsher-ma'' , with ''dre'' meaning "ghost" and ''tsher-ma'' meaning "thorn"; and the name of the fruit is ''dre-tsher-mai-dre-bu'' , with ''dre-bu'' meaning "fruit".



The majority of commercially produced wolfberries come from the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of and the of western China, where they are grown on plantations. In Zhongning County, Ningxia, wolfberry plantations typically range between 100 and 1000 acres in area.

Cultivated along the fertile aggradational floodplains of the Yellow River for more than 600 years, Ningxia wolfberries have earned a reputation throughout Asia for premium quality sometimes described commercially as "red diamonds". Government releases of annual wolfberry production, premium fruit grades, and export are based on yields from Ningxia, the region recognized with:
*The largest annual harvest in China, accounting for 42% of the nation's total yield of wolfberries, estimated at approximately 33 million kg in 2001.
* Formation of an industrial association of growers, processors, marketers, and scholars of wolfberry cultivation to promote the berry's commercial and export potential.
* Ongoing horticultural research conducted on the wolfberry plant at the Ningxia Research Institute, Yinchuan .
* The nation's only source of therapeutic grade wolfberries used by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine.

In addition, commercial volumes of wolfberries grow in the Chinese regions of Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Hebei. The oblong, red berries are very tender and must be picked carefully or shaken from the vine into trays to avoid spoiling. The fruits are preserved by slowly drying them in the shade on air exchange tables or by mechanical dehydration employing a progressively increasing series of heat exposure over 48 hours.

Wolfberries are celebrated each August in Ningxia with an annual festival coinciding with the berry harvest .

China, the main supplier of wolfberry products in the world, had total exports generating US$120 million in 2004. This production derived from 82,000 hectares farmed nationwide, yielding 95,000 tons of wolfberries.

Pesticide and fungicide use

pesticides are conventionally used in commercial wolfberry cultivation to mitigate destruction of the delicate berries by insects. Since the early 21st century, high levels of pyrethroid insecticide residues and fungicide residues , have been detected by the United States Food and Drug Administration in some imported wolfberries and wolfberry products of Chinese origin, leading to the seizure of these products. Due to the demand for products in the West, some Chinese growers are beginning to experiment with and to explore the possibility of obtaining organic certification, something that has not yet been publicly disclosed for Chinese wolfberry farms and products.

Some Western resellers may state that their wolfberries are organically grown when in fact they are not. The Green Certificate claimed by some wolfberry marketers to be the equivalent of the United States Department of Agriculture's "" seal is in actuality simply an agricultural training program for China's rural poor. China's Green Food Standard, administered by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture's China Green Food Development Center, does permit some amount of pesticide and herbicide use.

Despite some claims that wolfberries sold in Europe, the United States, and Canada meet organic standards, there is no public evidence for standardized organic certification of wolfberries from the Asian regions where they are commercially grown. Often, these berries are marketed as Tibetan or Himalayan Goji Berries that have been "wild crafted" or "wild harvested". On the contrary, however, Tibet's agriculture conventionally uses fertilizers and pesticides, and neither wolfberries of Tibetan or Himalayan origin sold outside Tibet nor organic certification of such berries have been proved.

Tibetan goji berry

Since the early 21st century, the names "Himalayan Goji berry" and "Tibetan Goji berry" have become common in the global health food market, applied to berries claimed to have been grown or collected in the region . Although none of the companies marketing such berries specifies an exact location in the Himalayas or Tibet where their berries are supposed to be grown, Earl Mindell's website states that his "Himalayan" Goji products do not actually come from the Himalayas, but instead from Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, and the Tian Shan Mountains of western Xinjiang, China.

Although ''Lycium'' species do grow in some regions of Tibet, commercial export production of wolfberries in the Tibetan Himayalas must be a myth fabricated for a marketing advantage, as this mountain range bordering the Tibetan Plateau is a region inhospitable to commercial cultivation of plant foods of any kind. In the Himalayan foothills, bleak desolation is unrelieved by any vegetation beyond sparse, low bushes, whereas eastern valleys and plains of the Tibetan Plateau at lower altitude support growth of wild ''Lycium chinense''.

The Tibetan Plateau, comprising most of Tibet north and east of the Himalayas, lies at more than 3000 m in altitude, with poor soil and arid climate conditions unfavorable for fruit crops. Defined by the geography of Tibet, particularly in the western Himalayas, cold nighttime temperatures averaging -4°C year round with six months of continual frost would inhibit plant bud development and prevent fruit formation. Existing in Tibet are minimal subsistence agriculture and impoverished crop management and transportation facilities unsupportive of commercial berry production. Although limited fertile regions suitable for food crops exist in the valleys of Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse, and the Brahmaputra River, there are no objective economic, scientific, or government reports on the commercial production of ''Lycium'' berry species from these Tibetan regions.

Importance of cultivar

Described in ancient Chinese texts, ''gǒuqǐ'' has existed in China over recorded history and has likely been used to make plants dozens of times across Asia, as attested by some 90 species of boxthorn, wolfberry's genus.

Although several wolfberry marketers state that their "Tibetan goji" is a specific species, given variously as ''Lycium eleganus'', ''Lycium eleganus barbarum'', or ''Lycium eleagnus'', no such species exist. ''Elaeagnus'' is a genus of about 50-70 species of flowering plants in the Elaeagnaceae family. The vast majority of ''Elaeagnus'' species are native to temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, including ''Elaeagnus umbellata'', which grows near the Himalayas and bears an orange-red berry possibly confused with ''Lycium barbarum''.

Some Internet authors claim ''Lycium eleagnus barbarum'' is the original ''Lycium barbarum'' or an improved cultivar of it. However, ''Lycium'' and ''Elaeagnus'' are sufficiently disparate genera that successful cross-breeding is unlikely. Further, there is no evidence in the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants of a ''Lycium'' species of ''Elaeagnus'' or vice versa.

United Kingdom

Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll delighted in growing exotic trees and shrubs in his garden at in Middlesex, England and introduced the plant into the United Kingdom in the 1730s where it is known as ''Duke of Argyll's Tea Tree''. It was and still is used for hedging, especially in coastal districts. Its red berries are attractive to a wide variety of British birds.

The plant continues to grow wild in UK hedgerows. On 15 January 2003, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs launched a project to improve the regulations protecting traditional countryside hedgerows, and specifically mentioned Duke of Argyll's Tea Tree as one of the species to be found growing in hedges located in Suffolk Sandlings, Hadley, Bawdsey, near Ipswich, and Walberswick.

The wolfberry has been naturalized as an ornamental and edible plant in the UK for nearly 300 years. On June 18, 2007, the FSA stated that there was a significant history of the fruit being consumed in Europe before 1997, and has removed it from the Novel Foods list . It is now legal to sell the goji berry in the UK as a food as reported by the British Food Standards Agency ..

Importation of mature plants

Importation of wolfberry plants into the United Kingdom from most countries outside Europe is illegal, due to the possibility that plants could be vectors of diseases attacking native members of the Solanaceae family, such as potato or tomato.


Wolfberries are almost never found in their fresh form outside of their production regions, and are usually sold in open boxes and small packages in . The amount of desiccation varies in wolfberries: some are soft and somewhat tacky in the manner of raisins, while others may be very hard. Wolfberries with a vibrant orange-red color may have been treated with sulfites.


As a food, dried wolfberries are traditionally cooked before consumption. Dried wolfberries are often added to rice congee, as well as used in Chinese tonic soups, in combination with chicken or pork, vegetables, and other herbs such as , '''', ''Codonopsis pilosula'', and root. The berries are also boiled as an , often along with flowers and/or red jujubes, and packaged teas are also available. Various containing wolfberries are also produced, including some that are a blend of grape wine and wolfberries. At least one Chinese company also produces wolfberry beer, and New Belgium Brewery makes an ale with wolfberries used as flavoring. Since the early 21st century, an instant coffee product containing wolfberry extract has been produced in China.

Young wolfberry shoots and are also grown commercially as a leaf vegetable.

In the West, dried wolfberries are also eaten hand-to-mouth as a snack, in the manner of raisins, , or other dried fruit. Their taste has an accent of tomato and is similar to that of dates, or raisins, though drier, more tart, less sweet and with an herbal scent. Dried wolfberries are also used frequently in .


Wolfberries have long played important roles in traditional Chinese medicine where they are believed to enhance immune system function, improve eyesight, protect the liver, boost production and improve , among other effects.

In TCM terms, wolfberries are sweet in taste and neutral in nature. They act on the liver, lungs, and kidneys and enrich . They can be eaten raw, consumed as juice or wine, brewed into an herbal tea or prepared as a tincture. The berries are also used in traditional Korean medicine, and traditional Tibetan medicine.

Wolfberry leaves may be used to make tea and '''' root bark for TCM treatment of inflammatory and some types of skin diseases. A glucopyranoside and phenolic amides isolated from wolfberry root bark have inhibitory activity in vitro against human pathogenic bacteria and fungi .

An early mention of wolfberry occurs in the 7th century Tang Dynasty treatise ''Yaoxing Lun''. It is also discussed in the 16th century Ming Dynasty ''Compendium of Materia Medica'' of Li Shizhen.

From marketing literature for wolfberry products including several "goji juices", a reputation exists for wolfberry polysaccharides having extensive biological effects and health benefits, although none of these has been proved by peer-reviewed research. A May 2008 clinical study published by the peer-reviewed Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine indicated that parametric data, including body weight, did not show significant differences between subjects receiving ''Lycium barbarum'' berry juice and subjects receiving the placebo. The study concluded that subjective measures of health were improved and suggested further research in humans was necessary.

Wolfberry polysaccharides show antioxidant activity ''in vitro'' and might also have biological activities ''in vivo'' currently under research . As a source of dietary fiber, however, polysaccharides would yield products from bacterial in the , such as several short-chain fatty acids, e.g., butyric acid, which may provide health benefits.

Although the macromolecular structure of wolfberry polysaccharides has not been elucidated, preliminary structural studies appear to indicate that they exist in the form of complex glycoconjugates .

Wolfberry fruits also contain zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering roles.
A human supplementation trial showed that daily intake of wolfberries increased levels of zeaxanthin.

Several published studies, mostly from China, have also reported possible medicinal benefits of ''Lycium barbarum'', especially due to its antioxidant properties, including potential benefits against cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, vision-related diseases , having neuroprotective properties or as an anticancer and immunomodulatory agent.

However, in the west, none of this research has been scientifically verified, confirmed in clinical studies, or accepted by regulatory authorities.

Safety issues

A published case report described a 61-year-old Chinese woman who experienced an elevated international normalized ratio after drinking a tea made from wolfberry fruit. Further in vitro testing revealed that the tea inhibited warfarin metabolism. These observations indicate a potential herbal-drug interaction between warfarin and wolfberry. Another case report describes an 80-year-old Chinese woman on a chronic stable dose of warfarin who experienced two episodes of an elevated INR after drinking wolfberry tea.

Atropine, a toxic alkaloid found in other members of the Solanacea family, occurs naturally in wolfberry fruit. The atropine concentrations of berries from China and Thailand are variable, with a maximum content of 19 ppb, below the likely toxic amount.

Nutrient content


Wolfberry contains significant percentages of a day's macronutrient needs – carbohydrates, protein, fat and dietary fiber. 68% of the mass of dried wolfberries exists as carbohydrate, 12% as protein, and 10% each as fiber and fat, giving a total caloric value in a 100 gram serving of 370 calories.

Micronutrients and phytochemicals

Wolfberries contain many nutrients and phytochemicals including

* 11 essential and 22 trace dietary minerals
* 18 amino acids
* 6 essential vitamins
* 8 polysaccharides and 6 monosaccharides
* 5 unsaturated fatty acids, including the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid
* beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols
* 5 carotenoids, including beta-carotene and zeaxanthin , lutein, lycopene and cryptoxanthin, a xanthophyll
* numerous phenolic pigments associated with antioxidant properties

Select examples given below are for 100 grams of dried berries. Other nutrient data are presented in two reference texts Superfruit is meant to imply nutrient richness with medical research results indicating potential health benefits, combined with uncommon but appealing taste, pigmentation, and antioxidant strength. During 2006-7, the market for wolfberries included 89 new product introductions in eight retail segments having an estimated sales total of $9 million, growing rapidly. An executive of one network marketing company was quoted as saying the juice market alone for wolfberries would be valued at more than $1 billion by 2013.

Other wolfberry consumer applications are as dried berries , berry pieces in granola bars, and skin soap made from seed oils.

Commercial suppliers have processed wolfberry as an additive for manufacturing, such as juice concentrate, whole fruit purée, powders from juice or juice concentrate made from spray drying, pulp powders, whole or ground seeds, seed oils , and essential oils derived from seeds.

Marketing claims under scrutiny in Europe

In February 2007, the Food Standards Agency of Great Britain, an advisor for food safety to the European Food Safety Authority of the European Union , published an inquiry to retailers and health food stores requesting evidence of significant use of wolfberries in Europe before 1997. This period would document a safety history and evaluate how "novel" the berries are in the EU, affecting their authorization status for sale.

Proponents hoped this review would provide important safeguards for consumers by checking whether new foods are suitable for the whole population, including people with food allergies. Opponents on the other hand feared it would limit consumer choice and protect monopolistic interests rather than the public. Food safety in the EU relies importantly on a scientific basis for label information on foods like wolfberries that may be claimed to furnish health benefits.

In June 2007, the FSA announced its decision that wolfberries indeed had a history of use in Great Britain before 1997. Accordingly, wolfberries do not require registration as a novel food.

Marketing claims under scrutiny in Canada and the United States

In January 2007, marketing statements for a goji juice product were subject of an investigative report by CBC Television's consumer advocacy program Marketplace .

In a review of medical literature pertaining to each proposed claim of health benefits from Himalayan Goji Juice , Gross et al. summarized that 22 of 23 claims had no evidence for providing a health benefit beyond that inferred from preliminary in vitro or laboratory animal research. For cancer specifically, four studies were reviewed in Chapter 4 of their book, but Gross et al. concluded the research was too preliminary to allow any conclusion about an anti-cancer effect of consuming wolfberries or wolfberry juice.

By one specific example in the interview, Earl Mindell claimed the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York had completed clinical studies showing that use of wolfberry juice would prevent 75% of human breast cancer cases, a statement false in three ways:
# no such project has been undertaken at Memorial Sloan-Kettering
# according to the National Cancer Institute of the US National Institutes of Health, no natural or pharmaceutical agent has been shown in clinical trials to fully prevent breast cancer, only to reduce its risk ; specifically, there are no completed or ongoing clinical trials in the United States testing the effects of wolfberries or juice on breast cancer outcomes or any other disease and
# beyond preliminary laboratory studies and one Chinese clinical trial described only in an abstract, there is no scientific evidence for wolfberry phytochemicals or wolfberry juice having cancer-preventive properties .

Significant in nutrient and phytochemical composition, wolfberries are being developed as new products in the functional food industry under FDA regulatory review since December, 2006 for label and marketing claims as being conducted in 2007 by the European Union .

During 2006, the FDA placed two goji juice distributors on notice with warning letters about marketing claims. These statements were in violation of the United States Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act because they "establish the product as a drug intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease" when wolfberries or juice have had no such scientific evaluation. Additionally stated by the FDA, the goji juice was "not generally recognized as safe and effective for the referenced conditions" and therefore must be treated as a "new drug" under Section 21 of the Act. New drugs may not be legally marketed in the United States without prior approval of the FDA, as stated in the letters below:

* Dynamic Health Laboratories Inc. of Brooklyn, New York, May 8, 2006
* of Elk Grove, California, August 7, 2006


*Ai, Changshan . ''Zhi Bu Liang Yi Hua Gou Qi'' . Changchun, China: Jilin Ke Xue Ji Shu Chu Ban She. ISBN 7538424024. ISBN 9787538424027.
*Gross, Paul M.; Xiaoping Zhang; and Richard Zhang . ''Wolfberry: Nature's Bounty of Nutrition & Health''. Charleston, South Carolina, United States: BookSurge Publishing. ISBN 1419620487. ISBN 9781419620485.
*Mindell, Earl; and Rick Handel . ''Goji: The Himalayan Health Secret''. Momentum Media Health Series. Dallas, Texas, United States: Momentum Media. ISBN 0967285526. ISBN 9780967285528.
*Mindell, Earl . ''Dr. Earl Mindell's Goji: The Himalayan Health Secret''. 2nd ed. Lake Dallas, Texas, United States: Momentum Media. ISBN 0967285577. ISBN 9780967285573.
*Oyama, Sumita . ''Kuko o Aishite Junen'' . Tokyo, Japan: Shufu no Tomosha.
*Shufo no Tomosha . ''Kuko no koyo'' . Tokyo, Japan.
*Takayama, Eiji . ''Jinsei no Honbutai wa Rokujissai Kara: Furo Choju Kuko no Aiyo'' . Tokyo, Japan: Koyo Shobo
*Young, Gary; Ronald Lawrence; and Marc Schreuder . ''Discovery of the Ultimate Superfood: How the Ningxia Wolfberry and Four Other Foods Help Combat Heart Disease, Cancer, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Diabetes and More''. Orem, Utah, United States: Essential Science Publishing. ISBN 0943685443. ISBN 9780943685441.
*Zhang, Yanbo . ''Molecular Approach to the Authentication of Lycium barbarum and its Related Species''. M. Phil. thesis. Hong Kong, China: Hong Kong Baptist University
*Zhao, Yue . ''The Market Prospect of Ningxia Wolfberry/Wolfberry Products in China''. Thesis. Netherlands: University of Professional Education Larenstein Deventer.



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Botanical databases

*Information about ''Lycium barbarum'' L. from the
*, USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network -. . National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
*, from the Plant Viruses Online VIDE database

Medical databases

* Searching for ''Lycium'' on the database finds 146 papers of interest; 87 of these are for ''Lycium barbarum'' and 33 for ''Lycium chinense'' .

News stories

* from ''TibetInfoNet'', June 29, 2007
* by Simon Parry, from ''South China Morning Post'', December 2, 2006
* from ''China Daily'', August 30, 2006
* from ''China Daily'', July 19, 2004
* by Dr. Ralph Moss
* The Daily Truth by Jack Marx, Sydney Morning Herald, June 25, 2007
*, Tillsonburg News, August 1, 2008

Video and Pictures


Winter melon

The winter melon also called white gourd or ash gourd, is a vine grown for its very large fruit, eaten as a vegetable. The fruit is fuzzy when young. By maturity, the fruit loses its hairs and develops a waxy coating, giving rise to the name wax gourd, and providing a long shelf life. The melon may grow as large as 1-2 metres in length. The word "melon" in the name is somewhat misleading, as the fruit is not sweet.

Originally cultivated in Southeast Asia, the winter melon is now widely grown in East Asia and South Asia as well. In North India it is cut into rectangular pieces and boiled in a sugar syrup to create a translucent, almost clear candy or sweet, and is often flavored with rose water. In this form it keeps and cans well allowing it to be sold in canned form around the world. In South Indian cuisine it is used to make curries.

The winter melon requires very warm weather to grow but can be kept through the winter much like winter squash. The winter melon can typically be stored for 12 months. The melons are used in stir fry or to make winter melon soup, which is often served in the scooped out melon, which has been intricately decorated by scraping off the waxy coating.

Occasionally, it is used to produce a fruit drink which has a very distinctive taste. It is usually sweetened with caramelised sugar, which enhances the taste.

The shoots, tendrils, and of the plant may also be eaten as .

Winter melon is a common name for the inodorus cultivar group of the muskmelon , or one of its members alternatively known as casaba, , or Persian.

Vernacular names

* : or
* 冬瓜(とうがん) tōgan
* 冬瓜 , donggwa, donga
* : ash gourd, Chinese winter melon, fuzzy melon, petha, wax gourd, winter melon, white gourd, green pumpkin
* : courge cireuse, bidao, courgette velue
* Hindi: petha, pethakaddu
* : neer poosanikai
* : Komora
* : Chal kumra
* : kumbalanga
* : booDida Gummadikaaya
* : boodagumbala
* Marathi: ?????
* : beligo
* : kundol
* : kundur
* : abóbora d’água, comalenge
* : ???
* : bí ?ao
*: Kyauk Pha-Yon Thee


Wheat gluten (food)

Wheat gluten, also called seitan , wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from the gluten of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as a gummy mass, which is subject to further processing.

Wheat gluten, although not as well known, is an alternative to soybean-based such as tofu. Some types of wheat gluten have a texture more like that of meat than most other substitutes, because of their chewy and/or stringy texture. Wheat gluten often is used instead of meat in , , , and s. is a common use for wheat gluten.

Wheat gluten is most popular in China, where it was first developed, as well as in the cuisines of other and Southeast Asian nations. In Asia, it is commonly found on the menus of restaurants catering primarily to customers who do not eat meat.

Because it was first popularized in western nations during the second half of the 20th century through its promotion by proponents of the macrobiotic diet, ''seitan'' is also the name by which wheat gluten is best known in most English-speaking nations. In the West, prepared wheat gluten is generally available only in and health food stores .



Wheat gluten, called ''miàn jīn'' in is believed to have originated in ancient China, as a for adherents of Buddhism, particularly some Mahayana Buddhist monks, who are strict vegetarians . One story attributes the invention of imitation meat to chefs who made it for Chinese emperors who, traditionally, observed a week of vegetarianism each year . ''Miàn jīn'' is often before being cooked in Chinese cuisine, which confers a crispy rind that enhances the texture of the gluten.

There are three primary Chinese forms of wheat gluten:
#Oily/oil fried gluten : Raw gluten that has been torn into small bits, then deep fried into small puffy balls of around 3–5 cm in diameter and sold as "imitation abalone". They are golden brown in color, and or boiled in a savory soup or stew before eating. They are frequently paired with '''' .
#*Larger fried balls of gluten, called ''miàn jīn qiú'' or ''miàn jīn pao'' , which may be up to 5 inches in diameter, are sometimes seen in Asian supermarkets. These are often stuffed with meat or tofu mixtures and served as a dish called "gluten meatballs" or "gluten stuffed with meat" .
#Steamed gluten : Raw gluten that has been wrapped around itself to form a long sausage shape which is then steamed. This type of gluten has a dense texture and ranges from off-white to light greenish grey in color. It is torn open into strips before being used as an ingredient in recipes. When this sausage-shaped gluten is thickly sliced into medallions, the resulting form is called ''miàn lún'' . Larger blocks of steamed gluten are sometimes colored pink and sold as vegetarian "mock ham."
#Baked spongy gluten : Similar in texture to a sponge, ''kao fu'' is made by raw gluten, then baking or steaming it. These are sold as small blocks in Chinese markets and are then diced up and cooked. This type of gluten absorbs its cooking liquid like a sponge and is enjoyed for its "juicy" character. Chinese ''kao fu'' is coarser in texture than its Japanese counterpart, ''yaki-fu'', due to the relatively larger air bubbles it contains. ''Kao fu'' is available in fresh, frozen, and canned forms.

''Miàn jīn'' is also available in Asian grocery stores in canned and jarred forms, often in combination with peanuts or mushrooms. Such canned and jarred gluten is commonly eaten as an accompaniment to as part of a traditional Chinese breakfast.

Freshly prepared ''miàn jīn'' can be difficult to find in Chinese restaurants other than those specializing in Buddhist or vegetarian cuisine. Depending on its method of preparation and ingredients used, both fresh and preserved ''miàn jīn'' can be used to simulate pork, poultry, beef, or even seafood.


In Japanese cuisine, the traditional type of wheat gluten is called ''fu'' .

There are two main forms of ''fu'', the raw ''nama-fu'', and the dry ''yaki-fu'':

#Raw : Solid gluten is mixed with glutinous rice flour and millet and steamed in large blocks. It may be shaped and colored in a variety of ways, using ingredients such as mugwort. Popular shapes include autumn-colored maple leaves, , and other generally "cute" forms. Such shapes and colors enhance the attractiveness of the cooked product since steamed gluten has an unappealing grey tone. ''Nama-fu'' is an important ingredient in , the Buddhist vegetarian cuisine of Japan. It may also be used as an ingredient in wagashi, Japanese confectionery.
#*Fu-manjū is a type of made from ''nama-fu''. Solid gluten is sweetened and filled with various sweet fillings such as red bean paste. They are then wrapped in leaves and steamed in a manner similar to that used to prepare Chinese zongzi.
#Dry baked : The gluten is leavened with baking powder and baked into long bread-like sticks. It is often sold in cut form, as hard dry discs resembling croutons or bread rusk. Yaki-fu is typically added to miso soup and sukiyaki, where it absorbs some of the broth and acquires a fine texture that is lighter and fluffier than its Chinese equivalent. It is the most commonly available type of ''fu'' in Japanese supermarkets.

In Japan, seasoned "gluten meat" is not well known or widely available, despite the macrobiotic diet's Japanese origins. When used, the terms for this food are rendered in katakana as , or, rarely, . Outside macrobiotic circles, these terms are virtually unknown in Japan, and they do not typically appear in Japanese dictionaries.


In , wheat gluten is called ''mì c?ng'' or ''mì c?n'', and is prepared in a similar fashion to Chinese ''miàn jīn''. Along with tofu, it is a part of the Buddhist cuisine of Vietnam, which is strongly influenced by that of China.


''Seitan'', a neologism of origin, is the name used to refer to wheat gluten in the system of cooking and health, as formulated by the Japanese-born philosopher George Ohsawa . According to the ''Oxford English Dictionary'', it is said to have been coined by Ohsawa in the early 1960s, but its etymology is uncertain, with the most likely explanation being that it is derived from the Japanese ''sei-'' , or ''-sei'' + ''tan-'', as in ''tanpaku'' .

As prepared in macrobiotic practice, seitan consists of powdered wheat gluten, which is extracted from flour by washing the flour and rinsing away the starch. The gluten powder is then mixed with just enough water to form a stiff paste, which is then kneaded in order to produce a firm, stringy texture. The dough is then cut into pieces and cooked via steaming, boiling, frying, or other methods. While seitan is itself rather flavorless, it holds a marinade very well and is usually simmered in a ''dashi'' made from soy sauce, kombu, ginger, and sometimes also sesame oil.


Since the mid-20th century, wheat gluten has been increasingly adopted by vegetarians in western nations as a realistic meat substitute, particularly by vegetarians who previously ate meat and miss its taste and/or texture.

It is sold in block, strip and shaped forms in North America, where it is very difficult to find outside of Asian food markets, health food stores and cooperatives. Some companies also sell powdered gluten , for those who wish to make their own gluten from scratch. Wheat gluten is also used by bakers to increase the chewyness of breads. The block form is most prevalent and is often flavored with or portabello mushrooms, fresh cilantro or onion, or barbecue sauce, or packed in a vegetable-based broth. In strip form, it is usually packed to be eaten right out of the package as a high-protein snack. Shaped seitan products, in the form of "ribs" and patties, are usually flavored with barbecue, teriyaki or other savory sauces.

Additionally,there is an imitation turkey made in part of seitan which is marketed around the Thanksgiving holiday, providing an alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey centerpiece. Wheat gluten is also used by The African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, a vegan African American religious sect which operates a chain of restaurants called Soul Vegetarian, to produce a vegetarian sandwich called the Garvey Burger. In North America, there are also several brand-name meat substitutes, such as Protein Chef, which are used in the restaurant and food service markets.


In Chinese cuisine, most forms of wheat gluten are typically or braised, such that it can absorb the flavours of the braising liquid. Fried wheat gluten balls that are large and puffed-up, such as ''da mianjin qiu'' can be stuffed with fillings. It is not common in Chinese cuisine for wheat gluten to be consumed "plain."

In Japanese cuisine, gluten is cooked and simmered in soup such that it gains flavour from the broth. In addition, baked wheat gluten with its spongy texture is added directly to soup as it is served for use as a decorative condiment. In Japan, wheat gluten is also directly consumed in the form of dumplings after they have been steamed.

Wheat gluten is also sometimes used in pet foods. Wheat gluten from China adulterated by melamine has been blamed as the cause of a widespread in March 2007.

Food additive

Gluten is used as a or thickener in products such as ice-cream and ketchup, where it may be unexpected. Foods of this kind present a problem because the hidden gluten constitutes a hazard for people with celiac disease.

The "Codex Alimentarius" set of international standards for food labelling has a standard relating to the labelling of products as "gluten free", however this standard does not apply to "foods which in their normal form do not contain gluten".