Cardboard A Main Ingredient In One Chinese Food

The AP reports that Chinese State TV has uncovered a “steamed bun” making operation in one Beijing neighborhood that uses pieces of cardboard collected from the street and softened with caustic soda as the main ingredient. From the AP:

The hidden camera follows the man, whose face is not shown, into a ramshackle building where steamers are filled with the fluffy white buns, traditionally stuffed with minced pork.

The surroundings are filthy, with water puddles and piles of old furniture and cardboard on the ground.

“What’s in the recipe?” the reporter asks. “Six to four,” the man says.

“You mean 60 percent cardboard? What is the other 40 percent?” asks the reporter. “Fatty meat,” the man replies.

The bun maker and his assistants then give a demonstration on how the product is made.

Squares of cardboard picked from the ground are first soaked to a pulp in a plastic basin of caustic soda — a chemical base commonly used in manufacturing paper and soap — then chopped into tiny morsels with a cleaver. Fatty pork and powdered seasoning are stirred in.

Soon, steaming servings of the buns appear on the screen. The reporter takes a bite.

“This baozi filling is kind of tough. Not much taste,” he says. “Can other people taste the difference?”

“Most people can’t. It fools the average person,” the maker says. “I don’t eat them myself.”

Wonder why.

Beijing steamed buns include cardboard [Yahoo!] (Thanks, Acambras!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. dbeahn says:

    Well, at least the Chinese poisoning us isn’t, apparently, anything personal. They poison themselves too.


  2. The Bigger Unit says:

    Lunch Lady Doris (from the Simpsons): “There’s very little meat in these gym mats.”

  3. Skiffer says:

    When is Wal-mart gonna start selling these?

  4. etinterrapax says:

    @The Nature Boy: Or: “It’s rich in bunly goodness.”

  5. rbb says:

    But think of all the fiber you are getting…

  6. savvy9999 says:

    That’s not cardboard, it’s cellulose!

    Same thing you will find in nearly every shaker of cheap grated ‘Parmesan’ cheese, some breads, some bread crumbs, and other fun food things.

    Why, here’s an old consumerist article about sawdust in coffee: []

  7. nweaver says:

    China, this is the land where they will even do FAKE EGGS:


  8. timmus says:

    No kidding… they could easily sell this here in the US. The Wal-Mart shoppers would keep on buying it as long as it’s CHEAP, and the Federal government would rubber stamp it as long as there was no E. coli threat and enough payola made it into FDA pockets.

  9. Toof_75_75 says:

    How many Carbs are in cardboard? It might be a “healthy alternative” to bread! Once you market it as that, it will sell like crazy!

  10. Amsterdaam says:

    And this is different from McD’s how?

  11. banned says:

    At least I’ve never heard of cardboard causing cancer. I see China keeps the good products to themselves!

  12. whereismyrobot says:

    Drywall is an ingredient in tofu…sort of.

  13. beyond says:

    How is this different from a McDonalds cheeseburger?

  14. royal72 says:

    @beyond: damn it, you beat me too it ;)

  15. Godz says:

    @whereismyrobot: explain please.

  16. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Robot means gypsum (calcium sulfate) is one of the ingredients used to coagulate the soymilk so the curds can be pressed into tofu. It’s like making cheese from milk. Gypsum is a safe chemical, unless you drop a piece of wallboard on yourself.

    Home makers of tofu commonly use magnesium chloride (nigari), lemon juice, calcium chloride, or magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt). None of this is worth cracking a yawn over.

  17. G-Dog says:

    Sweet & Sour Cats and Cardboard! YUM!

  18. @speedwell:

    Mr. Knowitall!

    ill pass taking a hit with a high-fiber diet comment

  19. The reporter had the stones to taste it for himself? Wow… Talk about in-depth coverage…

  20. QuirkyRachel says:

    oh gross.
    But say it with me: “Soylent green is people!”

  21. ironchef says:

    and the theme ingredient for tonight’s kitchen stadium battle…CARDBOARD.

    Allez Cuisine!

  22. miburo says:

    Hopefully Wal-Mart doesn’t get a hold of the actual price of these things.

  23. DingoDigger says:

    Fake eggs was a hoax.

  24. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I bet you could make one of those Ritz cracker “mock apple pies” with the corrugated kind, and it wouldn’t be half as disgusting as the real recipe. []

    Oh… that’s MS. Knowitallto you, lol… working as third level tech support gives you a doozy of a teacher complex, I guess. :)

  25. miborovsky says:

    Just don’t buy cheap food from China. We don’t (and we’re Chinese). The market will do the rest.

  26. Nighthawk Foo says:

    Yum…another name for caustic soda is LYE.

  27. superbmtsub says:

    When they say a Chinese can eat anything, they weren’t kiddin.

  28. The Bigger Unit says:

    @Etinterrapax: The Simpsons are all over this post. How about a “steamed ham” to go with these “steamed buns”?

    No matter how many of these steamed buns you eat, you always feel hungry again an hour later.

    Any why doesn’t the “@/reply to” part of comments work in my Firefox browser?! It randomly shows up…

  29. oldhat says:

    So if this gets popular, the cost of cardboard will skyrocket! Recycling will take on new meaning!

    (sort of like the melamine they put into the pet food to boost protein levels: first the had to pay people to haul it away as a waste product, not they sell it to the highest bidder!)

    Poor Chinese, trying to jump ahead using raw capitalism. It’s okay, just takes time. In 100 years they will be sitting pretty. It’ll be ugly for awhile, though.

  30. nomorefun says:

    As long as it tastes good, does it matter?

  31. bombaxstar says:

    lol at least Filipino siopao doesn`t have cardboard…(I hope!) =]

  32. JayXJ says:

    Remember, when dinning abroad just eat and don’t ask any questions you don’t want the answer to.

  33. wring says:

    yum! they’re usually stuffed with cat meat too!

  34. FromThisSoil says:

    @The Nature Boy:

    Damn, you beat me to it!

  35. rdldr1 says:

    I’m Asian, and I am more concerned more about the cat filling than the cardboard bun.

  36. geeniusatwrok says:

    @Speedwell: NObody has ever made a Ritz “mock apple pie” outside the test kitchen.

    mmm, pie. filled with greasy-ass crackers. mmmm…

  37. Havok154 says:

    All they have to do is market it as “Atkins Approved Bread” and they technically won’t be lying. “Breadless Bread” would also work.

  38. night_sky says:

    @ironchef: ahaha! Oh man, thanks for the laugh. I Tumblr-ed it.

  39. side says:

    Well, China just executed their old Food and Drug administrator so maybe some changes will come. No joke, executed him.

  40. zibby says:

    @rdldr1: Haaaa…well, the vagueness in describing the “real” ingredient is rather suspicous. “Fatty meat”, huh?

    Reminds me of a fellow I knew that owned a restaurant in Chinatown. Had me over there one time and gave me this insanely good seafood dish. I asked him what sort of fish was in it and after a pause he said, “River Fish!” I always took that to mean he had no idea.

  41. comedian says:

    An even more direct Simpsons reference.

    Brad: Wake up Homer, those Powersauce bars are just junk! They’re made of apple cores and Chinese newspapers!

    Homer: Hey! Deng Xiao-Peng died!

  42. KitN says:

    I’d love to eat Chinese food but my doctor put me on a low-cardboard & no-cat diet…

  43. rdldr1 says:


    “cat” fish

  44. those things are so good! I sure hope the ones I had weren’t cardboard!