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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.


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.
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44851 videos foundNext > 

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Gung Hay Fat Choy Song

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【國語】恭喜發財 (神仙龍虎豹) Kung Hei Fat Choy

某日天上的財神(譚詠麟)誤墮凡間,為了逃避群眾追趕,而湊巧遇上了茶室老闆(石天)及其妹妹愛玲(柏安妮)、兒子彬彬(小彬彬)。隨即他變被打扮成時代青年財仙,替老闆解決了不少難題,更積極​​傳播真理 ...

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6985 news items

Evening Standard
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 04:11:15 -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.

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: ...


Wed, 21 Jan 2015 09:30:37 -0800

Todd Wong does it every year, regardless, for his Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, a cultural mashup that features deep-fried haggis wontons, haggis dim sum, and haggis lettuce wrap. The 18th annual event takes place at ...
Las Vegas Sun (blog)
Sun, 25 Jan 2015 21:23:18 -0800

After recommendations from resort executives and elected officials, especially Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, I finally dined at Fat Choy restaurant at Eureka casino. Very good, especially as this place is “double-tucked,” tucked inside ...
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fri, 10 Oct 2014 09:08:27 -0700

The Eureka Casino has been a locals' favorite for more than 50 years, and it may have something to do with Fat Choy, the cozy Asian American cafe inside. With warm lighting and a peaceful atmosphere, the quiet space offers a relief to the glare of neon.

Marketwired (press release)

Marketwired (press release)
Mon, 26 Jan 2015 07:33:45 -0800

There are many ways to say Kung Hey Fat Choy, do it this year with Edible Arrangements' Year of the Goat bouquets. The Year of the Goat Party (available in 5 sizes, from HKD $1,858.00 ) and the Year of the Goat Fruit Design (Available in 3 sizes, from ...

The Record Gazette

The Record Gazette
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 00:03:45 -0800

(l to r) Joan Lau, Lisa Chan and Nora Huffman wish everyone "Gong Hey Fat Choy" at the International Dancers early Chinese New Year celebration of 2015, the year of the goat. Great excursions offered by the Recreation Department. As of the writing of ...
Fri, 16 Jan 2015 03:31:11 -0800

Be Royale 9-2 (9-1) Tracked leaders on inside, ridden and effort over 2f out, kept on same pace, weakened inside final furlong, 7th of 8, 9l behind Kung Hei Fat Choy (9-5) at Southwell 7f hcp 0-75 (5) fbs. Chelwood Gate (IRE) 8-1 (9-4) In touch, effort ...

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