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Avoid Cancer By Passing On These Famous Chinese Dishes

Posted: 07/23/2014 9:04 am

lamb skewersCancer: there’s good news, and there’s bad news.

The good news is that the People’s Daily reports that a whopping 60 percent of all cancer is preventable in China. The report said a balanced diet is the key to prevention, adding that 43.3 percent of all cancerous tumors in Chinese patients grow in the digestive tract.

The report states:

  • inadequate fruit consumption causes 13 percent of cancer deaths
  • inadequate vegetable consumption causes 3.6 percent of cancer deaths
  • inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption combined causes 14 percent of stomach cancer deaths

And yet, the price of a healthy lifestyle comes at a heavy cost.

The bad news is that the Tumor Department of the Academy of Chinese Medical Science says there are specific foods that one should leave out of one’s diet. They are:

  1. Pickled foods like salted vegetables, salted fish
  2. Barbecued foods like chuanr (lamb kebabs), roast meat, roast duck, roast goose, and roast pork
  3. Smoked foods like smoked tofu, smoked eggs, and smoked fish
  4. Deep-fried foods
  5. Fermented foods like thousand year eggs and stinky tofu
  6. Leftover foods and reboiled water

New expats to China may be unfamiliar with some of these while seasoned expats may have already come to dislike some of them. But long-term expats will immediately see the significance of this list: it represents many of China’s most famous culinary accomplishments.

Your diet may be very different from a local Chinese who doesn’t go for Tex-Mex on the weekends, or indulges in a hamburger at the sports bar after work. But by living long-term in China, you start to appreciate the roots of Chinese cuisine. You see how many Chinese foods belong to the categories of pickled, barbecued, deep-fried, fermented, and the like.

A wonderful eye-opener to Chinese cuisine is the popular documentary “A Bite of China” *. It’s great to see people passionate about the preparation of food, but one thing the documentary does is explain all the wonderful things that Chinese civilization has created through fermentation. A brief list of fermented items include:

beef bitter melon black bean

  • anything with black bean sauce
  • anything with doubanjiang, a spicy, salty paste
  • soy sauce
  • stinky tofu
  • fermented bean curd
  • fermented bean paste
  • fermented fish
  • rice vinegar
  • Chinese pickles
  • thousand year-old eggs
  • rice wine
  • baijiu

This list and one encapsulating all of the Chinese foods that are pickled, roasted, deep-fried and smoked makes us worry if there’s any fun and delicious Chinese foods left that are safe to eat.

Based upon what the Academy suggests, we’d think that eating a nice salad may be the way to go, but uncooked foods are a rarity in China, a place where most everything gets cooked in a wok.

spring rolls

The Academy advises people to mainly concentrate their diets upon staple foods like rice, then focus upon fruits and vegetables with smaller portions of meat. However, what sounds like a good lifestyle choice is interrupting a patriotic stomach’s need for lamb skewers and deep-fried spring rolls.

We can only hope there is a mutual compromise available between a love for country and a love for food.



* The first season is much, much better than the second season, you’ve been warned.

Photo: just putzingtummy tales, Serious Eats, shinshin foods, Flickr


Cantonese Speakers The Most Susceptible to Nose and Throat Cancer: Report

Posted: 04/17/2014 3:32 pm

throat and nose cancer guangdong We already know that lung cancer is leading cause of death in Guangzhou, but it turns out air pollution may have nothing to do with the high cancer rates. Instead, a report in the Guangzhou Daily says Cantonese speakers have a higher susceptibility to contracting nose and throat cancer no matter where they live throughout the world. What? Gao mat guai yeh?

The report doesn’t explain exactly why that is, but does paint a bleak picture about cancer in Guangdong. For every five deaths in the province, one is attributed to the disease. Furthermore, statistics show those in southern provinces – particularly Guangdong – are most at risk. The World Health Organization states that 80% of all throat and nose cancer cases world-wide occur in China; in turn, 80% of these take place in the eight southern provinces of China of which, in turn, Guangdong has the highest number of cases.

April 15-21 is National Tumor Prevention Week in China. To promote awareness, data culled from the Guangdong tumor registry in 2009 reveal a much bleaker perspective regarding cancer in the Sunshine Province.throat and nose cancer guangdong

The horrifying highlights include:

  • The rate of contracting nose and throat cancer by Guangdong residents is five times that of any one else in China.
  • One in every 10,000 Guangdong residents will get cancer.
  • The incidence of nose and throat cancer for Guangdong men is one for every 6,230 men.
  • Guangdong men are 2.5 times more likely to contract it over women,
  • One out of every 12,500 Guangdong men will die from nose and throat cancer.


The stats are scary, and point to a particular problem down here, but is Cantonese it? What is it about being Cantonese that could possibly be the reason behind this? Is it speaking a tonal language with superfluous tones? Penance for having birthed William Hung to the world? That virgin boy eggs are, in fact, a thing? It’s just not fair.

Detection of cancer within the first five years has a survival rate of 80%. Do yourself a favor: get plenty of rest, catch up on Game of Thrones while taking a warm bath, and go see a doctor to get yourself regularly checked.

Photo:, Guangzhou Daily


As Air Quality Worsens, Lung Cancer Becomes Leading Cause of Death in Guangzhou

Posted: 04/16/2014 8:00 am

Lung cancer has become the number one cause of death in Guangzhou as the city battles its worsening air quality, according to figures released by the Guangzhou Disease Control Center’s tumor monitoring department.

In a report made by Nandu on April 15, breast cancer is the deadliest type of cancer among women, but lung cancer is revealed as the leading cause of deaths for both men and women. Out of the 100,000 cancer patients, 47,000 suffer from lung cancer, the figures showed.

And the situation is not looking any better in the province as a whole. The incidence of cancer in Guangdong is 23.5 percent higher than the national level, while the number of deaths caused by cancer in the province is 7.5 percent higher than the national level, according to the province’s disease control center. To put the figure into perspective, the center said among every five people who die in Guangdong, one is caused by cancer.

The situation in the city of Guangzhou is even grimmer as one in four deaths in the city is attributed to cancer. Every year, the city adds 22,000 new cancer patients, the report said. The city has a population of 8 million people.

The report, however, did not say the causes behind the city’s increasing lung cancer patients. But China’s ex-health minister Chen Zhu had previously stated the country’s smog is responsible for 350,000 premature deaths each year, the South China Morning Post reported.

Home page image: residents in Zhengzhou wear oxygen masks for fresh air.
Photo credit: China News


Guangzhou wife for sale: only 300,000 yuan

Posted: 11/12/2013 6:00 pm

It seems that in China today money can buy anything. But can it buy love? That’s a hard question to answer. It will, however, buy you a 20-year-old Chinese wife — assuming you have a spare 300,000 yuan (US$49,200) lying around.

A 20-year-old Guangzhou woman, only identified as Li, posted an offer on her microblog at the end of October stating that she would marry the man who covered her father’s enormous medical bills: he has been diagnosed with leukemia and requires a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

An elementary school teacher and Art graduate, Li has so far managed to find a rather impressive 200,000 yuan (partly thanks to loans from relatives), leaving her 100,000 yuan short of the total sum.

“I have no other way to turn. I hope it can raise awareness and bring help,” Li said, according to a report by Want China Times yesterday.

In reply to her plea, a man claiming to be a “professor” essentially told her to sell sex instead, because he would “rather pay for sex services” than a wife.

Good luck with that, prof.

Photo credit:


Researchers in Guangzhou find that Viagra may help prevent cancer

Posted: 04/25/2013 7:00 am

Researchers at Sun Yat Sen University have found that Viagara can help prevent cancer and can work well with other anti-cancer drugs, Guangzhou Daily reports.

The research team, led by Professor Fu Liwu and working alongside St. John’s University in the United States, found after 19 years of research that a number of drugs can enhance up to 90% of cancer-fighting cells and these drugs include anti-impotence drugs sildenafil and tetrandine.

Research and development will continue in collaboration with a university in Sichuan.

This finding, made by the university which has campuses in Guangzhou, Zhuhai and Zhongshan, is not the first of its kind.

In 2010, lab tests on cells and mice found that when Viagara was combined with powerful chemotherapy it not only reduced the size of tumors but also protected the heart at the same time. In 2011, Viagara was also found to help fight skin cancer.


14-year-old’s parents both diagnosed with cancer in Huizhou, teen desperate for cash

Posted: 05/30/2012 10:00 am

14-year old Zheng Tao’s world has just been turned upside down.  The teenager’s parents have both been diagnosed with cancer within the past six months, leaving Zheng to feed them and fund their medical treatment, according to Nanfang Daily.  For a 14-year old in Huizhou, that task is nearly impossible.

Zheng’s father, Zheng Xigui, 69, originally hails from Heyuan City and has lived in the rural areas of Huicheng longer than any other resident. In April, he discovered that an abdominal pain that he had had for several years had left him too weak to ride a bicycle. He had never been to hospital in Huizhou before because he was unable to afford it, but after receiving a check-up and some further examinations, he was diagnosed with liver cancer at Central Huizhou People’s Daily on April 27.

Five months earlier, Zheng Tao’s mother, Zhong Xiulian, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as squamos cell carcinoma, and since then her medical fees have been more than 700 yuan a month.  The couple also have a daughter, Zheng Qiao Hong, 16. She had to leave school two years ago because her family was unable to afford the tuition fees and now she works in a restaurant.

Zheng has been left in the difficult position of concocting Traditional Chinese Medicine for his parents before and after school, as well as cook for them and wash their clothes.  The couple are barely able to leave the house because Zheng Xigui is too weak and Zhong Xiulian must not inhale exhaust fumes, therefore Zheng Tao must run errands as well as make the 30-minute journey to and from school.

Zheng is so desperate that he wrote a letter to his classmates at Huizhou Number Three Middle School on May 2 asking for financial support; several days later, his teacher, Lin, donated more than 20,000 yuan that had been collected.  Unfortunately, that’s not nearly enough, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.

According to the family’s neighbour, Mr. He, an additional 70,000 RMB is needed for Zhong Xiulian’s medical treatment and her husband wants to go to Guangzhou for additional tests.

The paper published the account number of the family if you’d like to donate.  It is at the Industrial Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and the account number is:  6222022008014744198

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