Thursday, December 29, 2011

Street Food Documentary

Here's a neat documentary created and published by CET Academic Programs about street food in Beijing:

The video starts with some man-on-the-street interviews asking folks some questions about street food in China, including questions about the health and provenance of the food. Unsurprisingly, most people enjoy the food but are skeptical about the quality of the ingredients. The video creators took it upon themselves to talk to some vendors about where they got their supplies, and then they went to the market to talk to the suppliers. I was pleased (as I'm sure you will be) to hear their conclusion (around 8:37 in the video):
"We thought that visiting Xing Fa Di would unearth some underworld of street food mayhem. We thought the market would be a mess of chemically treated vegetables and rotting meat, but it wasn't. Contrary to popular belief the vegetables were clean and the meat was fresh.  It's true, not every street vendor is as picky about buying ingredients as the vendors we talked with.  But, Beijing street food is more or less clean." (Emphasis mine.)
As regular readers will know, this has been my experience, too. There's no doubt that unscrupulous vendors are out there deceiving people about the quality of ingredients, lying about what they are feeding customers, using gutter oil, or otherwise harming consumers, but these nefarious nogoodniks are the exception rather than the rule. For the most part, if you use common sense you will be fine.

This documentary is an interesting look at a side of Chinese street food that we don't often see; it is definitely worth a watch. Great thanks to CET Academic Studies (and CET China Studies in particular) for creating this video and for their permission to share it here. Keep up the good work, CET!


food cart said...

China street food is the best I've tasted, especially stinky tofu. I can't wait to get back to china and try other street foods.

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