digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















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.


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.


  • 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.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
50327 videos foundNext > 

Gung Hay Fat Choy Song

Class 2 have been learning all about Chinese New Year. Here is a special song they have been singing in Class!

gung hay fat choy.wmv

Songs on Sunday for Chinese New Year. http://naturenest.wordpress.com.

Kong Hei Fatt Choy - Chinese New Year Song

Gong Xi Fa Cai: Chinese New Year is a spring festival, celebrated by Chinese people all over the world. It follows the Chinese Lunar calendar, and falls between mid-January and mid-February....

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Chinese New Year traditions from my family.

【國語】恭喜發財 (神仙龍虎豹) Kung Hei Fat Choy


Cantonese Lessons - Learn Chinese : "Kung Hei Fat Choi"

PLEASE SUSCRIBE! Cantonese lessons, From the TV show "Cantonese In One Minute" - Created by Pierre-Francois Metayer An efficient TV program using fun and humor to teach or learn Chinese....

恭喜發財 Kung Hei Fat Choy

恭喜發財Kung Hei Fat Choy.

Happy Chinese New Year / Kung Hei Fat Choy

Happy New Year greetings from Edinburgh Napier to our friends in Hong Kong and the People's Republic of China. This film features just some of our students, graduates and friends in Hong Kong....

恭喜發財 許冠英 Kung Hei Fat Choy - Ricky Hui

Kung Hei Fat Choy - Ricky Hui.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2009


50327 videos foundNext > 

5798 news items

South Asian Link

Daily Record (subscription)
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 04:56:15 -0800

The Year of the Goat (or Sheep) began Feb. 19, which also happened to be my first day in the office that week. Between President's Day, a snow day and a sick kid, my work week began on a Thursday and I was trying to put out all of the fires that blazed ...

Diablo Magazine

Diablo Magazine
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 09:15:00 -0800

February 19 kicks off Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations for 2015, a year the Chinese zodiac suggests will be marked by creativity and inspiration, thanks to its distinction as the year of the ram. Here are some of the best ways to celebrate: ...
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.


Wed, 25 Mar 2015 03:05:55 -0700

Last time out, over track and trip, he made the gambled-on Kung Hei Fat Choy (10/1 to 100/30) work all the way for victory, and with a number of fair yardsticks left in his wake that form looks likeably solid. His latest two placed efforts have come in ...

Scotland Now

Scotland Now
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 07:26:15 -0700

She secured and poured whisky at Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a cultural celebration of Roberts Burns Day and Chinese New Year in Vancouver, and volunteered with the annual British Columbia Highland Games. • 'Tip A Wee Dram' which she helped found has ...


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 ...

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 ...

Daily Astorian

Daily Astorian
Fri, 06 Mar 2015 13:33:45 -0800

Kindergarten through second-grade students adorned in dragon masks participate in a parade to celebrate the Chinese New Year at Gearhart Elementary School. The students marched through the school chanting, “Gong Hey Fat Choy” and then sat down to ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight