My watch list
my.bionity.com  
Login  

Fat choy



Fat choy
Traditional Chinese: 髮菜
Simplified Chinese: 发菜
Literal meaning: hair vegetable
Fat choy
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Division: Cyanobacteria
Class: see [1]
Order: Nostocales
Family: Nostocaceae
Genus: Nostoc
Species: N. flagelliforme
Binomial name
Nostoc flagelliforme

Fat choy (Nostoc flagelliforme), also known as faat choy, black moss, hair moss or hair weed is a terrestrial cyanobacterium (a type of photosynthetic bacteria) that is used as a vegetable in Chinese cuisine. When dried, the product has the appearance of black hair. For that reason, its name in Chinese means "hair vegetable." When soaked, this vegetable has a very soft texture which is like very fine vermicelli, and an appearance very similar to long, black human hair.

Additional recommended knowledge

Contents

Production

Fat choy grows on the ground in the Gobi Desert and the Qinghai plateau. Over-harvesting on the Mongolian steppes has furthered erosion and desertification in those areas. The Chinese government has limited its harvesting, which has caused its price to increase. This may be one reason why some commercially available fat choy has been found to be adulterated with strands of a non-cellular starchy material, with other additives and dyes.[2][3] Real fat choy is dark green in color, while the counterfeit fat choy appears black.[2]

Chinese culture

The last two syllables of this name in Cantonese sound the same as another Cantonese saying meaning "struck it rich" (though the second syllable, choi, has a different tone) -- this is found, for example, in the Cantonese saying, "Gung1 hei2 faat3 choi4" (恭喜发财, meaning "congratulations and be prosperous"), which is often proclaimed during Chinese New Year. For that reason, this product is a popular ingredient in dishes used for the Chinese New Year. It is enjoyed as an alternative to cellophane noodles.[citation needed] It is mostly used in Cantonese cuisine and Buddhist cuisine. It is sometimes used as a hot pot ingredient.

Vietnamese culture

Fat choy is also used in Vietnamese cuisine. It is called tóc thiên (literally "angel's hair" in Vietnamese.

Health effects

A research team from the biochemistry department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong said that international research has shown that fat choy, besides having no nutritional value, has also been found to contain Beta-methylamino L-alanine (BMAA), a toxic amino acid that could affect the normal functions of nerve cells. Professor Chan King-ming of the team told the media that eating fat choy could lead to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and dementia.[2]

Notes

  1. ^ ijs.sgmjournals.org
  2. ^ a b c The standard.com.hk
  3. ^ Waynesword

References

  • But, Paul Pui-Hay; Ling Cheng; Pui Kwan Chan; David Tai-Wai Lau; and Joyce Wing-Hin But (2002). "Nostoc flagelliforme and Faked Items Retailed in Hong Kong." Journal of Applied Phycology 14: 143-145.
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Fat_choy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE