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How might one find out if a restaurant or eating facility is using that toxic disgusting recycled cooking oil to prepare their dishes?

I was just told by a coworker that the cafeteria I've been eating at uses it. 

Can anybody give any tips on how one can be on the safer side of things here? 



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I'm in my 8th year here and I have been sick so many times because of this that I just don't eat in Chinese restaurants normally  - only when I break the rule do I get sick.  Some people have no problem but many suffer and a few have had to leave. 

But even if they say they aren't - would you believe them?

I love the taste of Chinese food don't get me wrong but that oil and MSG are killers for me.

Suggestion - cook for yourself if you can - I cook with olive oil and buy good ingredients. 

Or eat somewhere you really trust such as the World Life Club where you can good healthy reasonably priced grub.

Thanks for reply and advice!   Are there any other concerns I should have regarding what type of animal they are actually serving here?  For example, the Muslims that cook up the lamb kabob on the streets over a fire.  Is it really lamb?  or is it Goat?  Or some other mysterious ingredient?   I know that Muslims will serve Hallal meat to each other, but to the general public, could it be .... dare I say....D-O-G ? 

I will definitely start doing much of my own cooking.  But in the event I need to grab some food on the road, I wanted to at least be more informed. 

By the way, if anybody wants to know more about the recycled oil issue, this is the source that I read after another Chinese employee warned me about the kitchen at our work place:

Forgotten the chinese name for it, but you are right to be wary of such issues since I KNOW you can dye in some extreme cases. I also know that people have been sentenced to long prison sentences and even sentenced to DEATH in some provinces. The government take this very seriously, but unfortunately the right kind of health officials arent going around often enough to check up on these places. To be honest, it is almost impossible to keep a track, I mean how many restaurants are in this city. Cooking at home is a sure way of staying on top of this but aside from that, no real way of knowing!!

Call the local authorities. I can help you if you'd like. It's illegal. If they get caught, they'll be punished severely by the government.

If you like to eat at home, but you want to vary your recipes a bit, try CDKitchen:

You can get many of the ingredients, and it's easy to change up some of them. For example, if a recipe calls for parsnips, use potatoes, instead. Spices can also be interchanged for a different taste. Ovens are relatively cheap, as well. My wife picked one up for 250 RMB. It's big enough that I can make a 14" pizza. It's perfect for Shepard's Pie and casseroles. I can even make hotdog/hamburger buns and bread in it.

Another good website is A really great site for recipes.

Hey guys, if you are going to discuss recipes etc then go to this discussion forum

I think this one is more about dodgy cooking oil!

That may be so, Richard, but the two responses do attempt to answer his question:

"Can anybody give any tips on how one can be on the safer side of things here?"

We were not discussing recipes, nor were any recipes posted. Websites where the OP can get ideas for alternate eating ideas in order to avoid the cooking oil scandal WERE posted.

As for notifying the local authorities suggestion, you would probably have to get a Chinese friend to do that for you, to avoid the "do not interfere in the internal affairs of China" speech.

Fair points Chris -

Thanks for the tips and suggestions.  My wife from the Philippines will be joining me soon in China (unless there is an all-out war, which I highly  I don't have too much time to cook with my schedule, but she would love to help.

I've discussed the oil situation with a few other Chinese friends, and they all have the same response: there is no way of truly knowing, but definitely agree there is a problem and everybody must take caution.  I honestly thought recycled oil meant, using the same cooking oil for many rounds of cooking which is done in the Philippines.  I had NO IDEA it meant using oil derived from trash and sewage.  That is outright disgusting!!  When I do eat out now, I try to find foods that are either roasted on fire or boiled in water.

I like your thinking Michael. Stay away from fried food. although be careful with some BBQ places because they do like to brush the food with "oil" as they cook it!

Relating to the cooking oil concern. Possibly a naive question.

What if a Chinese person invites you to eat out with them and you're too nervous?

Suggestions on avoiding offence, please.

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