Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gutter Oil

Taiwan’s gutter oil scandal found its way to Hong Kong, for some reason.

Gutter oil is the appropriate description for recycled cooking oil that some cheaper restaurants and even a few high end places like to use to save a few pennies. It is less expensive for the restaurant, but they can still charge whatever they want because no one will ever know what type of oil they use. At least until there is a big scandal and government investigation.

The scandal comes not from the fact that gutter oil is repulsive and will make your stomach feel about as good as if you drank the water in Victoria Harbour. Surprisingly, gutter oil is actually illegal in Hong Kong. Most restaurants will try to use the cheapest oil they can find, but somewhere along the line, the Hong Kong government decided that cooking oil that literally went down the drain and has been shown to cause various types of cancer is probably not ideal. I don’t know if it’s illegal in Taiwan, but they are in the middle of a big scandal, so someone there is obviously upset about having poison in their food.

Restaurants cutting corners to save money is nothing new around here. If Hong Kong had a restaurant health inspection ratings system, millions of places would have a big F posted in their windows. What’s unusual is that the Hong Kong restaurants caught up in this latest investigation bought their gutter oil from Taiwan. I would assume that illegal poison oil would be cheaper to get from China. Most things from China are cheaper, and it’s easier to import Chinese products. The Chinese government would definitely rather have Hong Kong restaurants serve Chinese poison over Taiwanese poison. They don’t like Hong Kong very much right now, but they haven’t liked Taiwan for a long time.

Hong Kong has banned the import of all products made from the company in Taiwan that is getting the most attention, but it doesn’t seem like they are doing anything about any of the other companies that sell gutter oil. In typical Chinese fashion, if they only concentrate on the most infamous troublemaker, they think no one will notice that so many other troublemakers are still making trouble.

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