Hong Kong Food Critic Said He Wishes Hotpot Would Vanish from the World

From The Guardian . . . . . . . . .

A famous Hong Kong restaurant critic and TV personality known as the “Food God” has found himself in hot water – or a steaming vat of hot broth – after criticising the much beloved dish Chinese hotpot.

Chua Lam, a critic who is also the author of several cook books, made the comments during an appearance on the Chinese talk show Day Day Up.

He was asked by one of the hosts what dish he would like to see vanish from the world and said: “hotpot”.

“Because hotpot is a cooking method totally lacking cultural significance. You just throw some ingredients into a pot. I don’t get what’s delicious about it,” he said. “If hotpot fandom continues to grow, you’ll see fewer and fewer chefs in the years to come.”

Hotpot is a popular Chinese dish that is eaten communally, with people putting raw meat, vegetables and noodles into a shared pot of hot seasoned broth. Eating hotpot is often a social occasion, with groups gathering around and eating from the same pot.

Chua’s comments about the beloved dish prompted shocked reactions among the other panellists, one of whom exclaimed: “Many people love hotpot!”

Responding on Chinese social media, many viewers were outraged by the attack on the dish. One said: “Chinese hotpot has an abundance of cultural significance, from its broth to the order that you put ingredients into various sauces. Trashing hotpot exposed your ignorance and your inability to discover cultural details in things.”

Another suggested that Chua had “never had a good hotpot. I feel sorry for him.”

Hotpot was the subject of controversy earlier in the week when Australian metalcore guitarist and vegan advocate Jona Weinhofen tweeted a picture of hotpot saying “Meat eaters be like ‘vegan food looks and tastes gross.’ And then eat something that looks like leftover dishwater.”

Weinhofen’s tweet was criticised for its cultural insensitivity and for not acknowledging that hotpot can be made from entirely vegan ingredients; and for being classist, as hotpot developed as a way for working-class people to make their supply of meat and vegetables stretch further.

Jeff Yang, an American columnist, wrote that Weinhofen’s comment was an example of “neocolonialist” beliefs about food.

“Can we talk about white veganism for a second? The kind espoused by folks like Jona here, who begins his Twitter bio with the Sanskrit word for ‘non-violence’ but then craps on Asian cultural expressions in order to advance his neocolonial beliefs?” he wrote.

Source: SCMP

Skillet Mediterranean Chicken


1 large boneless skinless chicken breast (about 225 g)
1/2 tsp each dried tarragon and dried oregano
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
85 g broccolini
half sweet yellow pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil


  1. Place chicken on cutting board. Holding knife blade parallel to board and with opposite hand on top of chicken, slice chicken horizontally all the way through to form 2 cutlets. Sprinkle both sides of each with tarragon, oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. In large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, turning once, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to plate.
  3. In same pan, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Cook Broccolini, yellow pepper, garlic and olives until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add chicken and wine. Cover and simmer until chicken is no longer pink inside and Broccolini is tender-crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and sprinkle with feta and basil.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Canadian Living

In Pictures: One-person Hotpot of Restaurants in Japan

New Portion Size Guide Tells You How Much You Should Actually be Eating

James Rogers wrote . . . . . . . . .

Nutritionists have launched a brand-new portion size guide to tackle overeating.

The British Nutrition Foundation’s (BNF) guide spells out how much of each sort of food.

The guide includes starchy carbohydrates, protein, dairy, fruit and vegetables and oils and spreads.

The aim of the guide is to revolutionise our eating and tackle the obesity crisis.

It takes into account the foods we should be eating – and in which portions – to have a healthy diet.

Women should be eating 2,000 calories a day – and men 2,500.

According to the guide, the correct portion size for pasta is two hands cupped together.

A finger and thumb, meanwhile, is the right thickness of spaghetti.

The right amount of cheese, more worryingly for cheese lovers, is a mere two thumbs.

The suggested single portion of a grilled chicken breast, a cooked salmon fillet or a cooked steak is “about half the size of your hand”.

A baked potato should be the “about the size of your fist”.

The BNF survey suggested that when it comes to eating pasta, on average we eat around 230g worth when cooked.

And that’s without any sauces or sides.

Researchers found that 10% of the people questioned eat 350g.

That’s around 500 calories alone, but their recommendation is 180g.

A portion of fruit or vegetables – of which we should eat at least five a day – could be two plums, two satsumas, seven strawberries, three heaped serving spoons of peas or carrots, one medium tomato or three sticks of celery.

But it’s not all bad news.

If you do fancy a snack, you’re still allowed them – but you are told to keep them small.

They should be around 100 to 150 calories, and not too frequent.

Examples included a small chocolate biscuit bar, a small multipack bag of crisps, four small squares of chocolate (20g) or a mini muffin.

Bridget Benelam, nutrition communications manager at the BNF, said: “More often than not, portion size is not something people give much thought to.

“The amount we put on our plate typically depends on the portion sizes we are used to consuming, how hungry we feel and how much is offered as a helping at a restaurant table or in a packet/ready meal.

“Nonetheless, in order to maintain a healthy weight we should ensure that our diets contain the right balance of foods, in sensible amounts.

“This isn’t just about eating less; it’s also about eating differently.”

Louis Levy, head of nutrition sciences at Public Health England, said: “The Eatwell Guide, the nation’s healthy eating model, shows the proportion of foods that should be consumed from each food group for a healthy balanced diet.

“With the exception of fruit and vegetables, fish and red and processed meat, the government does not provide guidance on specific food portion sizes as there is no evidence to make recommendations at a population level.”

Source: Birmingham Live

Read also at British Nutrition Foundation:

Find your balance, get portion wise! . . . . .

More Evidence Marijuana May Damage the Teen Brain

Dennis Thompson wrote . . . . . . . . .

Smoking just a couple of joints may cause significant changes in a teenager’s brain structure, a new study has found.

Brain scans show that some adolescents who’ve tried marijuana just a couple of times exhibit significant increases in the volume of their gray matter.

These changes were associated with increased risk of anxiety, and decreased ability on thinking and memory tests.

“It is important to understand why some people may be more vulnerable to brain effects of cannabis at even the earliest stages of use, as it might give us some insight into why some people transition to substance misuse while others do not,” said lead researcher Catherine Orr. She is a lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

“Also, if we can identify some of the factors that place people at greater risk of these brain effects, we need to let people know what they are so that they can make informed decisions about their substance use,” Orr continued.

However, these findings are inconsistent with earlier studies that have found no significant long-term changes in brain structure or deficits in memory, attention or other brain function that can be attributed to pot use, said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, an advocacy group for reform of marijuana laws.

“The notion that even low-level exposure to cannabis results in significant brain changes is a finding that is largely out of step with decades worth of available science,” Armentano said. “Therefore, these findings ought to be regarded with caution.”

Most studies involving the effects of pot on the brain focus on heavy marijuana users. These researchers wanted to focus instead on what might happen as teens experiment with marijuana.

To that end, they gathered brain scan data obtained as part of a large research program investigating brain development and mental health in teens.

The researchers examined brain imaging of 46 kids, aged 14 years, from Ireland, England, France and Germany, who reported trying pot once or twice. They also looked at the teens’ scores on cognitive and mental health tests.

The teens’ brains showed greater gray matter volume in brain areas more affected by pot, when compared with kids who’d never toked, the study authors said.

“The regions of the brain that showed the volume effects map onto the parts of the brain that are rich in cannabinoid receptors, suggesting that the effects we observe may be a result of these receptors being stimulated by cannabis exposure,” Orr said.

Regions most affected by weed were the amygdala, which is involved in processing fear and other emotions, and the hippocampus, which is involved with memory and reasoning, the researchers said.

The findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Senior study author Hugh Garavan said, “You’re changing your brain with just one or two joints.” Garavan is a professor of psychiatry with the University of Vermont.

“Most people would likely assume that one or two joints would have no impact on the brain,” he added in a university news release.

Researchers can’t say whether these changes in the structure of the brain are permanent, Orr said. There are a lot of things that influence brain development in teens that can’t be ruled out by the data at hand.

“The imaging technology we have does not let us disentangle what differences in the adult brain may be a result of smoking pot once or twice as a 14-year-old from what differences are due to studying a second language or playing video games as a teen,” Orr said.

Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai, in New York City, said one would expect some things to return to normal if a teen tries marijuana a couple of times and then stops.

“I would be very surprised if just a few exposures to marijuana would cause irreparable damage,” Hurd said.

On the other hand, even temporary changes in brain structure might make a person more predisposed to emotional or cognitive problems later in life, Hurd added.

Orr suggested that “if they may then use drugs later in life or are exposed to excessive stresses later in life, they’re much more vulnerable. This indicates that any drug use leaves a trace in the brain. Whether that trace has long-term consequences for subsequent disorders, that’s something that really needs to be researched.”

Source: HealthDay

Today’s Comic