Welcome to our humble restaurant! To start you off tonight, our anonymous chef has prepared an appetizer of his “four recommendations for eating in China” after which you will be free to dive into your main course: pictures of scary additives and scarier food prep. Bon apetit!
- Do not ask the waiter for recommendations, as they will choose food that is about to spoil.
- Do not send the food back to the kitchen, no matter how bad it tastes.
- When asking for leftovers to be boxed, make sure it’s done in front of you.
- You know what? Just don’t even bother going to restaurants in China!
For a while we could convince ourselves that if we avoided the street vendors, the small hole-in-the-wall restaurants and the Frowny Face Health Report Cards we’d be relatively safe from nastiness like gutter oil, food poisoning, fake beef, and cancer, among other things.
Well, as things always seem to turn out, the rabbit hole goes deeper than anyone expected. In a photo set uploaded earlier this year titled “Eat Out Less,” one anonymous chef walks us through a hall-of-shame of “spices and flavoring” transgressions that are apparently common among restaurants, big and small, all around China.
Each picture has a caption explaining just what “flavor” you’re looking at, allowing you to ensure you never make the mistake of ordering the dish containing it ever again.
We here at Shanghaiist are finding this a little hard to swallow. We can handle it when we receive a food warning surrounding a specific food, or a specific restaurant, or even specific venues like street vendors or small, dinky restaurants. But to say all restaurants across all of China operate under these conditions seems pretty extreme.
In some pictures it’s not exactly clear whether or not an additive is either dangerous or has the claimed effects, and others seem to show just the goings-on in one specific restaurant rather than an industry-wide practice.
Although, one of our staff did come down with severe food poisoning after eating at a restaurant despite it having a green smiley face and flawless reputation, so who knows anymore?
(h/t Ministry of Tofu)