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For the villages in Romania, see Făcăi (disambiguation).
Fat choy
Nostoc flagelliforme microscope.jpg
Nostoc flagelliforme under a microscope
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Division: Cyanobacteria
Class: see [1]
Order: Nostocales
Family: Nostocaceae
Genus: Nostoc
Species: N. flagelliforme
Binomial name
Nostoc flagelliforme
Harv. ex Molinari, Calvo-Pérez & Guiry, 2016

Fat choy (Nostoc flagelliforme), also known as faat choy, fa cai, 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.


Fat choy
Faat choy.jpg
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Literal meaning hair vegetable
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Literal meaning hair vegetable

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 it's harvesting, which has caused it's 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[edit]

The last two syllables of this name in Cantonese sound the same as another Cantonese saying meaning "struck it rich" (though the second syllable, coi, has a different tone) -- this is found, for example, in the Cantonese saying, "Gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4" (恭喜發財, meaning "wishing you prosperity"), 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[edit]

Fat choy is also used in Vietnamese cuisine. It is called tóc tiêng or tóc thiêng (literally "angel's hair") in Vietnamese.

Health effects[edit]

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]

There is also a study by Takenaka which shows no significant difference between laboratory rats fed Nostoc flagelliforme and the control group .[4]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ ijs.sgmjournals.org
  2. ^ a b c The standard.com.hk
  3. ^ Waynesword
  4. ^ Takenaka, H., Yamaguchi, Y., Sakaki, S., Watarai, K., Tanaka, N., Hori, M., Seki, H., M. Tsuchida, M., Yamada, A., Nishimori, T., and Morinaga, T. "Safety evaluation of 'Nostoc flagelliforme' (Nostocales, Cyanophyceae) as a potential food". Food and Chemical Toxicology. 1998. Volume 36, Issue 12. Pages 1073-1077.


  • 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.
  • Takenaka, H., Yamaguchi, Y., Sakaki, S., Watarai, K., Tanaka, N., Hori, M., Seki, H., M. Tsuchida, M., Yamada, A., Nishimori, T., and Morinaga, T. "Safety evaluation of Nostoc flagelliforme (nostocales, cyanophyceae) as a potential food". Food and Chemical Toxicology. 1998. Volume 36, Issue 12. Pages 1073-1077.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_choy — Please support Wikipedia.
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1630 news items


Tue, 09 Feb 2016 09:48:45 -0800

Gung Hay Fat Choy! It's the Lunar New Year and we're entering the Year of the Monkey which, “according to Chinese Horoscope: the characteristics of people born in the Year of the Monkey are curiosity, mischievousness, and cleverness. When it comes to ...
Santa Fe Reporter
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:03:44 -0800

Every few years, a new product explodes upon the global mixology scene, and bar folks' ears perk up. A new toy! A few years back, genever, the Dutch predecessor to today's gin, became the darling of the industry with its unique, malty flavor. Today ...

South China Morning Post (subscription)

South China Morning Post (subscription)
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:25:32 -0800

Apart from getting down and boogying, it can perform bows and reel out phrases like kung hei fat choy (“I wish you wealth”) or any other message you care to dub in. It works by applying the features from your photo to a 3D puppet. Most parts can be ...

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Mon, 15 Feb 2016 11:30:00 -0800

In a city that is well celebrated as America's lavish “foodie” capital, and home to one of the nation's hottest contemporary Asian food scenes, the selective posh, luxury restaurant chain Hakkasan is fast becoming San Francisco's new exclusive dining ...

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle
Fri, 08 Apr 2016 20:39:49 -0700

Jew was itching to join the young chefs at restaurants like Fung Tu in New York and Fat Choy in Las Vegas who have been re-envisioning the Chinese food they grew up with through the lens of contemporary American cuisine: “We're trying to stick to food ...

Chase News & Stories

Chase News & Stories
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 13:33:54 -0700

There are even places to snag a Japanese burger (Fukuburger) or Chinese bao (Fat Choy). The aesthetic of these restaurants is extravagant too, with modern, creative flourishes—from Lago's ultra-fantastical, 20th Century Italian Futurismo-inspired ...

Las Vegas Weekly (blog)

Las Vegas Weekly (blog)
Wed, 12 Aug 2015 14:00:00 -0700

Wed, Aug 12, 2015 (2 p.m.). Fresh off a recent appearance on the still wildly popular Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Fat Choy owners Sheridan Su and Jenny Wong are set to embark on another adventure. The husband and wife duo will soon be opening Flock ...

Maui News

Maui News
Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:33:45 -0800

'Kung hee fat choy' time at the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel. February 11, 2016. The Maui News. Save |. Come and celebrate the "Year of the Monkey" at Ka'anapali Beach Hotel's hugely popular annual Chinese New Year celebration brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ...

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