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For the villages in Romania, see Făcăi (disambiguation).
Fat choy
Faat choy.jpg
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Literal meaning hair vegetable
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Literal meaning hair vegetable

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.

Production[edit]

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

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[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 tiên or tóc thiên (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.

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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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5523 news items

 
Eater
Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:13:16 -0700

At Fat Choy, I enjoy the Grandma's pot stickers: the filling and the sauce are a great combination. I also always get the duck rice, which is duck confit that is always cooked perfectly with rice and salad; the rice is topped with fresh grated ginger ...
 
Taipei Times
Tue, 07 Jul 2015 09:00:46 -0700

Dried pebble plants are sold at about NT$500 per jin, a price that has dropped over the years and is lower than the price they could get for sea urchins or fat choy, she said. Fat choy is a type of edible algae that looks like human hair when dried ...

Time Out London

Time Out London
Wed, 18 Feb 2015 10:11:15 -0800

Horses are so last year. It's all about the lambs and rams, now that the Chinese Year of the Sheep is approaching. And, as Chinatown gears up for the annual shindig, we're expecting big crowds, food vendors, lion and dragon dances, costumes, floats and ...

CBC.ca

CBC.ca
Sun, 22 Feb 2015 15:08:12 -0800

Organizers say up to 100,000 spectators lined the streets of Vancouver's historic Chinatown for the 42nd annual Chinese New Year Parade. The parade is part of the Vancouver's Chinatown Spring Festival, celebrating the Year of the Sheep. There were more ...

Patch.com

Patch.com
Sat, 21 Feb 2015 11:18:45 -0800

Gong Hey Fat Choy! Win Tickets To China In Contest To Celebrate Chinese New Year. Answer five questions on SFO's Facebook page, and you could win the two non-stop, round-trip tickets! Contest runs through March 6. By Susan C. Schena (Patch Staff) ...

Bensonhurstbean

Bensonhurstbean
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 09:31:41 -0800

Today, February 19, marks the Chinese or Lunar New Year of 2015 and we at Bensonhurst Bean and Corner Media would like to wish all who celebrate a warm gung hay fat choy! We said farewell to the year of the horse last night and today we welcome the ...

Montana Kaimin

Montana Kaimin
Thu, 05 Feb 2015 23:30:00 -0800

I just tell my dad the best I can do is rent "Rush Hour," eat ramen and try to not spend money on decorations from the Internet. Jackie Chan and noodles are a combination you can't go wrong with. Sometimes I'll say “Gung Hay Fat Choy!” to impress my ...
 
Evening Standard
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 04:14:12 -0800

On Thursday February 19, the Chinese Year of the Sheep begins. Kate Lough shows you where to find the best of the feasting and say Kung Hei Fat Choy (Happy Chinese New Year). Hoping for good fortune: Hakkasan's wishing tree and special dessert.
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