The Nanfang / Blog

Kitchen Confidential: Expose Details Beijing Restaurant’s Horrific Hygiene

Posted: 07/29/2014 11:42 am

hanlixuan restaurantAs consumers become more shocked about the food safety situation in China, they may not want to know how some restaurants handle their food.

report by Beijing News details what two reporters witnessed while working undercover at the famous Beijing barbecue restaurant chain Hanlixuan.  It can only be described as a consumer’s worst nightmare.

Two journalists applied to work at the Changping, Beijing location of Hanlixuan as a waiter and a cook’s apprentice. Both were both immediately accepted in a hiring process that only took only three minutes. A certificate of health was waived for the two journalists and for all Hailixuan employees despite it being a mandatory part of operating a restaurant.

hanlixuan restaurant undercover food safety unhygienic

Unhygienic and messy conditions in the kitchen.

However, as the two undercover journalists discovered, the horrors of Hanlixuan restaurant would only begin to be revealed.

The Beijing News alleges that Hailixuan makes it a restaurant policy to reuse uneaten food in order to re-serve it to other paying customers. One of the reporters describes a senior waitstaff named Li who put aside uneaten food when clearing dishes. When the lunch hour rush is over and all customers have left the restaurant, Li sorted ten dishes of uneaten food before returning it to the kitchen to be served again.

hanlixuan restaurant undercover food safety unhygienic

Uneaten squid that is put on a counter, and later taken to the back only to be re-served to customers again.

An apprentice says he was told:

This is leftover food; anything that hasn’t been used is sent back to the kitchen. When it’s taken to the front of the restaurant again, no customers will suspect anything.

The kitchen is described as “very dirty” with a foul smell and always covered in swill water. On July 23, the reporter masquerading as a kitchen apprentice noticed there was a dead fish lying on the ground. Because no one took care of it, the fish was kicked around by wait staff when it got in their way until it finally found a resting place beside the garbage can.

hanlixuan restaurant undercover food safety unhygienic

A dead fish in the kitchen finds a resting place after being kicked around before cut up and served to customers.

When the undercover reporter asserted that no one would want to eat such a thing, he was told:

Who says no one will eat it? Once we prepare and marinade it, it will once again look fine. Don’t worry about it; you just do your job and cut vegetables.

The fish was finally prepared later that day and served to customers during evening dinner. As with squid that has started to smell, it was mixed with onions and condiments so that customers won’t be able to tell any difference.

hanlixuan restaurant undercover food safety unhygienic

A restaurant worker prepares uneaten food to be re-served to new customers.

Even something as basic as simple hygiene was also ignored at Hanlixuan. When the undercover reporter said he needed to wash his hands before being taught how to handle food, he was told by the cook:

You don’t need to wash your hands. There’s no need.

All of these allegations made by Beijing News are likewise confirmed by former Hanlixuan employee Chen Wen (a pseudonym), who had previously made allegations against the barbecue restaurant chain online.

hanlixuan restaurant undercover food safety unhygienic

Meat about to be re-processed for further consumption.

Photos: MSNxooob

Haohao

Almost Nothing Left on the Menu at McDonald’s in Beijing

Posted: 07/28/2014 3:06 pm

beijing mcdonalds menu retracted food safety scandal husi foodsMcDonald’s remains open in Beijing these days, but there isn’t much on the menu. Nearly everything has been suspended from sale in the wake of the Husi Food expired meat scandal, reports BJ News. A total of 13 McDonald’s food items are currently not available for sale including all hamburgers, Chicken McNuggets, and chicken wings.

So what’s left, if you need your McDonald’s fix? Filet O’Fish sandwiches, for one. An employee details what else remains on the menu:

Right now, all we have for sale are drinks, ice cream and French fries. You can go next door to our coffee outlet to order cakes and coffee.

A representative for McDonald’s explains that the menu restrictions are temporary and all your favorite burgers will soon return. In the meantime, however, there’s been an unsurprising drop in the number of customers.

Due to the inspections made by government officials that first exposed Husi Food for supplying foreign fast food chains in China with expired meat products, the Shanghai Food and Drug Inspection Bureau has confiscated a total of 144.1 tons of food. This includes 18 tons of Chicken McNuggets, 78.1 tons of smoked meat patties, and 48 tons of beef patties.

On July 27 the parent company of Husi Food, OSI Group, recalled its food products and installed a new team overseeing its China operations.

beijing mcdonalds menu retracted food safety scandal husi foods

Related:

Photos: BJ News, People’s Daily

Haohao

“Ghost Mall” No More, Dongguan Behemoth Becomes Culinary Paradise

Posted: 07/8/2014 8:59 am

south china mall When you’re in a big mall in China, you’ve likely said, “I’m hungry. Let’s go to the food court and see what restaurants they have.” Somebody has finally taken that concept and made an entire mall out of it

The newly-renovated South China Mall in Dongguan, long known for being an empty, abandoned behemoth, is once again a commercial success, having served 80,000 customers on June 1. However, it’s recent success is in defiance of its humble beginnings as a white elephant.

Having opened to grand fanfare in 2005, what had once been dubbed “the world’s largest mall” was bereft of customers just a year later as stores abandoned their leases. For seven years, the South China Mall remained largely deserted of any life as its own existence remained a legacy to its failure.

READ: Dongguan’s “Ghost Mall”

This year, however, the South China Mall got a new lease on life. Gao Tiechuan, president of the the South China Mall responsible for its restructuring, changed it from a US-styled mall to one that caters to Chinese interests, reports Want China Times. Namely, the focus was put on food offerings rather than clothing shops.

Gao scaled back the scope of the mall to attract local diners instead of trying to cater to the entire Pearl River Delta. Besides hosting branches of popular local restaurant franchises, the mall now offers more affordable domestic brands to attract budget-minded clientele.

The RMB 200 million (US$32 million) renovation also did away with previous mall fixtures like a fountain and a bridge that only got in the way of the crowds.

Now brimming with shoppers, the South China Mall is operating on a customer strategy whereby 40% of sales are from its restaurants, and 30 percent are from “experience stores”. In this new set-up, traditional retailers only account for 30% of the mall’s sales.

Photos: South China Mall

Haohao

People’s Daily Blames Jinan Restaurant Closures on Local Government

Posted: 07/5/2014 11:07 pm

jinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulationA few days ago, The Nanfang brought you the curious story of hundreds of restaurants closing en masse in Jinan, Shandong province on the same day a national-level municipal health check was to be held in the city. We figured this would impact the faith Jinan folk have in their restaurants, and it turns out the People’s Daily Online agrees.

But there is a twist to the story. The restaurants, it turns out, probably didn’t close on their own volition. It was actually in response to a local government directive.

Here’s their commentary on the Jinan story:

‘Hygiene Initiative’ is a Farce
Against the City Hygiene Initiative, [the local government of] Jinan has ordered hundreds of restaurants to close. This has caused great inconvenience to city residents as well as attracting a lot of criticism. The Hygiene Initiative is an idea; however, the essence behind it is [as formless and insubstantial] as the art movement of Formalism. How can it bring about lasting reform to people’s perspectives on the environment? Through their governing, the new leaders of the current administration repeatedly emphasize not to reap [personal rewards] in the name of China nor to delight in false actions. Please tell us, corresponding Jinan departments: have these words gotten into your heads?

The People’s Daily Online stops short of directly accusing the government of ordering the closures, but treads awfully close. The conjecture  is that the Jinan local government wanted to save itself from any possible risk of losing face on a national level. By not allowing any of its hundreds of restaurants to be evaluated, no Jinan restaurant could suffer the humiliation of being rated below standard, a shame that will come back to haunt the local government.

jinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulation

Related:

Photos: the Nanfang

Haohao

Jinan Restaurants Snub Health Inspectors, Close En Masse Instead

Posted: 07/3/2014 11:45 am

jinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulationLooking for a good restaurant in Jinan in Shandong Province? You may want to reconsider as hundreds of restaurants there have closed rather than submit to health inspections, reported the People’s Daily.

On July 1, a “secret” national hygiene municipal inspection was to be carried out in Jinan on a vast scale.  One-thousand volunteers wearing armbands conferring their official status were sent to inspect all of the city’s restaurants. When the eateries found out about the supposed “secret” inspection, they closed up shop.

READ: Guangzhou Restaurants Busted for Adding Addictive
Poppy Powder to Food

Many of these pictures were taken at around 4pm, just before the dinner rush, and yet there are hardly any people around. We wish we could tell you at least one restaurant defied the trend and stayed open, but the report doesn’t mention any.

Apparently, some restaurants have been ordered to take down their signs because they don’t meet health regulations, presumably due to the improper disposal of garbage that the volunteers were still able to inspect from outside the premises. The businesses are apparently waiting for the health inspection period to wrap up so they can re-open.

jinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulationjinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulationjinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulation

READ: Poppy Opiate Used at Foshan Restaurant to Make Food “Tastier”

jinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulationjinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulationjinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulation

READ: Merchant Processes Dried Bamboo Shoots in Toilet

jinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulationjinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulationjinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulation

Here are some pictures of the volunteer health inspectors, seemingly left with little to do:

jinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulationjinan restaurant health check closed shandong national hygiene regulation

Related:

Photos: cnr.cn

Haohao

McDonald’s Cult Leader Gets TV Interview, More Details of Deadly Attack Emerge

Posted: 06/3/2014 10:00 am

mcdonalds attack shandong zhaoyuan cult religious restaurant

The sensational story of a Shandong woman who was beaten to death at a local Zhaoyuan McDonald’s continues to shock the country. People are still trying to come to grips with the horrific crime, which involved a religious group named Church of the Almighty God. The group has been universally described by Chinese media as an “evil cult”.

A woman named Wu refused to hand over her phone number to a group of people at the McDonald’s on May 28 and lost her life as a result. The group allegedly consisted of members of the cult, who had gone to the restaurant looking for new recruits.

READ: Woman Beaten to Death at McDonald’s for
Refusing to Give Her Phone Number
 

A witness named Zhang Hongpeng said the group — two males and four women — had gone to different tables soliciting phone numbers. Zhang said the phone number he gave was fake, a ruse employed by many other diners as well. Zhang had thought the phone numbers were required for a social media promotion.

Wu was the only one who refused, and after asking the rest of the diners, the group came back to demand her phone number. Zhang said a woman in the group loudly banged the table in front of Wu with her hands and demanded Wu give up this information.

The altercation rapidly escalated as one member of the group, Zhang Lidong, started to violently attack Wu with a broom handle.

CCTV reported the attacker, Zhang, had told the victim to “Go to hell, demon” and said she would “never come back in the next reincarnation”, which lines up with what was heard in a video taken by a witness. As well, other members of the group warned bystanders they would “kill whomever got involved”.

People’s Daily reports the incident started at 9:19pm, and that police arrived at the scene within 4 minutes.  mcdonalds attack cult religious restaurant shandong zhaoyuanmcdonalds attack cult religious restaurant shandong zhaoyuanmcdonalds attack religious cult restaurant shandong zhaoyuan

Police officer Yan Zhi was the first to arrive at the scene, and reported that the victim was lying in a pool of blood. Zhang was kicking and stomping on her as a boy used a mop handle to strike her head.

mcdonalds attack shandong zhaoyuan cult religious restaurant

Sina reports the six suspects resisted arrest. Wu was pronounced dead at the hospital at 9:48pm.

mcdonalds attack shandong zhaoyuan cult religious restaurant

Zhaoyuan police said the suspects have all confessed to the crime. Charged are Zhang Lidong, Zhang Fan, Lu Yingchun, Zhang Hang, Zhang Qiaolian, and a minor.

All suspects are apparently members of the Church of the Almighty God, and are unemployed. Zhang Lidong is the father of two of the women in the group as well as the unnamed minor.mcdonalds attack religious cult restaurant shandong zhaoyuan

A memorial was held on June 1 to commemorate the 37 year-old victim, Wu (seen above). A salesperson by trade, Wu was the wife and mother to a six year-old boy who reportedly keeps asking why his mother hasn’t come home.mcdonalds attack shandong zhaoyuan cult religious restaurantmcdonalds attack shandong zhaoyuan cult religious restaurant

Reuters reports that the Church of the Almighty God is banned by the Chinese government, and Xinhua condemned the group by saying, “The audacity of the cult members to terrorize their victim at a McDonald’s, a chain frequented by average Chinese, further racked people’s nerves.”

In what may serve to further fray the damaged nerves of the people, an interview aired on CCTV News on Saturday that allowed cult member Zhang Lidong to espouse his views to a national audience, which is already on edge from bomb and knife attacks amid threats of terrorism.

Excerpts from that interview include the following dialogue that highlight Zhang’s spiritual beliefs:

Reporter: On the evening of May 28, why did you attack this person at McDonald’s?

Zhang Lidong: Because she is a demon, an evil spirit. My goal was to beat her to death.

Reporter: Don’t you have any consideration for the law?

Zhang Lidong: None at all.

Reporter: Aren’t you afraid of the law?

Zhang Lidong: No, because I believe in God.

The People’s Republic of China is an atheist state. Though it does not require its citizens to be atheists, Communist Party members are required to be atheists despite a growing trend to the contrary.

Photos: Weibo (2, 3, 4, 5 ), 365Jia, 199

Haohao

Here’s a Map of Shenzhen Restaurants Featured on Food Doc “A Bite of China”

Posted: 05/16/2014 4:53 pm

map shenzhen bite of chinaThe second season of the documentary A Bite of China has been somewhat of a letdown compared to its stellar first season.

Having a winning formula of telling human stories through mouth-watering depictions of explicit food porn, the new season of A Bite of China reverses the polarity of the narrative in order to encapsulate a theme on a broader, nationalistic level.

But no matter the narrative, it’s the subject of A Bite of China that still makes it compelling television. And as the show takes many of its cues from Cantonese cuisine, Shenzhen residents can take pride in knowing their city is well represented on the show.

Here’s a map of the 21 (!) Shenzhen restaurants featured on the second season of A Bite of China in just the first three episodes alone. 

Here the restaurants ordered by episode, dish, name, and address:

Episode One, “脚步”

buttered tea1. Buttered Tea 酥油茶

Yangjin Mazang-Style Restaurant 央金玛藏式餐厅
Area C, Huanle Coast Bay, #8 Baishi Road, Nanshan District
南山区白石路东8号欢乐海岸曲水湾C区

2. Lotus Root Packed with Glutinous Rice and Osmanthus Flower 桂花糕米藕
Jiangnan Kitchen江南小厨
Stall #499, Wancheng City, #1881 Bao’An South Road, Luohu District
罗湖区宝安南路1881号万象城499商铺

3. Soft Dessert Curd 嫩豆花
Sichuan Dessert Curd 四川豆花
2nd Fl, Jintai Market, Jingtian North Road,  Futian District
福田区景田北路金泰市场2楼

4. Lantian Belt Noodles 蓝田裤带面
Xi’an Old Wang Family 西安老王家
1st Fl, New Xin Tower, #117 Zhenxing Road, Futian District
福田区振兴西路117号新欣大厦1楼

pungeant noodles5. Shanxi Pungeant Noodles 陕西臊子面
Xi’an Old An Family 西安老安家
B1 Nanguang Tower, #5 Huafu Road, Futian District
福田区华福路5号南光大厦B1楼

6. Jumping Fish 跳跳鱼
Xiang Man Tian 湘满天
#619-42, Jian’an First Road, Bao’an District 宝安29区建安一路619-42号

7. Shandong Flatcakes 山东煎饼
Yimengshan Fried Chicken 沂蒙山炒鸡店
#1 Xiangnan Road, Nanshan District 南山区向南路1号

8. Chaozhou Spring Noodles 潮州春卷
Chaojiangchun 潮江春
4th Fl, Baoli Cultural Plaza, #33 Wenxin Fifth Road, Nanshan District
南山区文心五路33号保利文化广场A区4楼

9. Vietnamese Spring Noodles 越南春卷
Spring of Xi Language 春之曦语
Stall L337, Haiya Binfen City, #99 Jian’an First Road, Bao’an District
宝安区建安一路99号海雅缤纷城3楼L337铺

Episode 2, “心传”

twice cooked pork10. Twice-Cooked Pork 回锅肉
Bashufeng 巴蜀风
2nd Fl, Yuehai Amalgamated Building, #104 Longcheng Road, Nanshan District
南山区龙城路104号粤海综合楼2楼

11. Wuhan Hot Dry Noodles 武汉热干面
Cailinji 蔡林记
1st Fl, New White Horse Wholesale Clothing City, People’s North Road, East Gate, Luohu
罗湖区东门中路人民北路新白马服装批发城1楼

12. Weizhou Stinky Tofu 微州臭豆腐
Drunk Man Pavillion 醉翁亭
3rd Fl, Central Commerce Building, Fuhua First Road, Futian District
福田区福华一路88号中心商务大厦3楼

13. Buckwheat noodles 饸饹面
Buckwheat Noodle Store 饸饹面馆
Xindi Station, Nanshan District
南山区大新地铁站

14. Han Middle Bread汉中面皮
Han Water Restaurant 汉水源餐厅
Zhenxing Hotel, #3007 Hongzhi Road, Futian District
福田区红荔西路3007号振兴宾馆

15. Bracken Root Sticky Cake 蕨根糍粑
Maozhai Guizhou Sour Soup Hotpot 苗寨贵州酸汤火锅
1st Fl, New Xin Tower, #117 Zhenxing Road, Futian District
福田区振兴西路117号新欣大厦1楼

oyster16. Baked Oyster Cake 蚝烙
Village Kitchen 乡村小厨
Jinwei Bar Street, Taibai Road, Luohu District
罗湖区太白路金威啤酒街内

17. Large Meatballs 狮子头
Large Dragon Lantern Jiangnan Restaurant 大红灯龙江南菜馆
1st Fl, Building A, Chang’an Garden, #19 Baihua West Road, Futian District
福田区百花西路19号长安花园A座1楼

18. Dudu Pot 嘟嘟煲
Shengji 胜记
East Gate, Lizhi Garden, #1001 Honglong Central Road, Futian District
福田区红岭中路1001号荔枝公园东门

Episode 3, “时节”

iron grill fish19. Iron-Grilled Fish with Bread 铁锅炖鱼贴饼子
Old Liu Fresh Fish Emporium 老刘野生大鱼坊
Inside the Lake Xiangmi Villa, #6068 South Shenzhen Boulevard, Futian District
福田区深南大道6068号香蜜湖度假村内

20. LihaoStir-Fried Preserved Meat 藜蒿炒腊肉
Little Whistle Bar and Restaurant 小啸酒馆
#13 Changxing Road, Nanshan District
南山区常兴路13号

21. Xinjiang Hand-Made Rice 新疆手抓饭
Zhongfayuan 中发源
1st Fl, Wantuo Garden, Jingtian Road, Futian District
福田区景田路83号万托家园1楼

Shenzhen residents: If you see some you like, you can actually order it. There’s no better way for you to decide where to eat than by sitting on the couch and watching it on TV.

We still have to say: it’s too bad the epic tree climbing scene in the first episode has been outed as plagarism of a BBC documentary which been further debunked by scientists who say even the tree is fake in that scene.

But, we’ll always have the food porn: every last explicit shot of hot, wet, juicy meat makes Shenzhen the culinary San Fernando Valley of China.

Photos: Weibo, wabuw, nipic, shopping 58, coolroid, chaozhou, bzcm

Haohao

Guangzhou restaurants busted for adding addictive poppy powder to food

Posted: 10/15/2013 10:00 am

If food at some Guangzhou restaurants tastes so good you can’t wait to go back, this could be why.  It turns out a couple of restaurants in the City of Five Rams have been adding poppy powder – which is highly addictive, and illegal – to their dishes.

Want China Times reported:

The irregularity was first uncovered by the Guangzhou Food and Drug Administration in June last year. During a spot check of 70 of the city’s restaurants, inspection officials found that two of the restaurants were using the addictive poppy powder in marinade bags.

The kitchen staff at the two restaurants initially told inspection officials that they had no idea what was in the bags, and claimed that were delivered in that way by suppliers. However, they later reneged and admitted that the bags contained poppy powder.

Both restaurants were fined RMB50,000.

Despite the highly addictive nature of poppy powder, consuming it may be among the least bad things you might eat at Guangzhou restaurants.

(h/t Shanghaiist)

Haohao

Shekou to undergo major transformation

Posted: 02/28/2011 11:29 am

Seaworld Square in Shekou is a bar and restaurant oasis for many in Shenzhen. But as anyone who’s been there recently can attest, construction can be seen everywhere. Not only in the square itself, where a number of bars have been closed, or around the newly-opened metro station, but also near the now-aging Nanhai Hotel. To put it simply, the area is going through a major face lift which will see some high end eateries and hotels opening up in the next couple of years.

The Shenzhen Standard provides some details:

The Marine World Hotel located next to Nanhai Hotel is said to cost 800 million yuan to construction and will cover 56,000 square meters. The hotel will have 320 rooms and managed by Hilton Hotels, this will be their first seaside hotel in Shenzhen when its completed in 2013. Building of the Marine World Hotel will be the first phase of the overall Marine World upgrading project.

China Merchants Group, is a major developer of the Shekou area, will spend and additional 60 billion yuan in the nest five to eight years to fully upgrade facilities in the Shekou area. The Marine World urban compound, Taizi Bay terminals for passenger cruisers and Shekou Network Valley are among the key ares also said to undergo upgrading. Aside from the hotel project, commercial ares located around the Minghua ship will also undergo construction and renovation that will turn the area into an international food street for exotic food and other specialties.

The square has aged a bit from its heyday a few years ago. The giant flood in 2007 certainly didn’t help. Nonetheless, the area retains its quaint charm and community feel. The question is, will the influx of new high-end establishments change the area’s vibe? And if so, will it be better or worse?

Haohao
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