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A taste for duck blood

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The Beijing News
November 12, 2008

Duck blood formed into cubes, known as "duck blood tofu" (鸭血豆腐), is a common menu item at Beijing's hotpot restaurants, and a culinary delight for those who enjoy it.

However, an article in The Beijing News says that most of the duck blood on Beijing's market is actually cheaper pig or cattle blood. Even worse, like many other foods in the country, it has not been untouched by the safety issue.

The article quotes a blood vendor who says, "for many years, customers have gotten used to fake duck blood. If we suddenly start selling them real duck blood, they would be suspicious."

At a blood tofu manufacturer, the reporter also found four plastic barrels containing unidentified liquid that later tested for high level of toxic formaldehyde. Though tests showed that formaldehyde levels in blood tofu was lower than the state standards allows, formaldehyde's instability may make the test unreliable.

Also on the front page:

· Beijing has banned hotels and dormitories from using nonstandard coal stoves, heated brick beds, and other hazardous heating systems. Violation of the ban is punishable by maximum fine of 30,000 yuan.

The ban came after two tourists were found dead in a rural lodge (known as 农家乐) in suburban Beijng's Pinggu District on November 6. The police determined the cause of the two deaths to be carbon monoxide that leaked through a crack in the heated brick bed.

· Following a two-day strike by Chongqing taxi drivers at the beginning of the month, drivers in Sanya, Hainan Province, and Yongdeng, Gansu Province, also went on strike starting on November 10.

Today, Sanya mayor Wang Yong apologized to the striking drivers and asked that they resume operation. Wang refused the drivers' request to release 27 people who were arrested for damaging taxis that operated during the strike.

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Comments on A taste for duck blood

The heating regulations just call for some creative re-branding: 农家安乐死

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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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