From beef skewers, steak, tofu skin, to sweets such as steam buns, soy milk and bubble tea. According to Chinese blogger Xin Jifei, any meal can be made with all kinds of strange ingredients nowadays.
Xin is giving his viewers a craving for popular street food recipes that he says are ways that vendors might use to maximize profit or taste. He makes a wide variety of dishes, but they all carry the same “secret ingredients”: additives and synthetic flavors.
As Jimu News reports, Xin 辛 also showed how white sugar is faked as honey, Chinese bird’s nest is actually all jelly and milk tea that contains no milk, for instance.
His videos received between 100,000 and 200,000 likes per episode. Many viewers said that, thanks to his work, they were able to leave the street kiosks for good.
Jimu News confirms from industry sources that many of Xin’s recipes are real. A reporter from the news agency visited a supermarket and observed that soy protein appeared as a key component in any meat product. A bird’s nest producer also concurred that gelatin or white mushrooms are sometimes added.
But several people from the milk tea industry dismissed the use of counterfeit ingredients, saying that this market is highly competitive, and sellers would have to pay close attention to their reputation as consumers can generally dictate what is good or bad.
Likewise, Xin Jifei has been gaining a massive audience. According to Chinese media Da Ji Yuan, he attracted about 6.5 million followers within a month, and so far, the number had risen to around 9 million.
Yet, his account disappeared from China’s Douyin platform, which is a mainland version of TikTok, on September 28.
The outlet reports that besides supporters, Xin has also been criticized for making a profit by stirring public concerns. China Food News Media publicly lamented Xin’s content, noting that the quality of food should not be judged by the price. Several people from the catering industry also spoke up, alleging that his videos would hurt the sector.
Before his abrupt disappearance, a video of him speaking to the customer service of a video platform also circulated online. The platform representative told him that many people had reported his account, telling him to stop producing videos of the kind.
Xin asked, “Are my videos illegal or against morality? Or are the additives illegal?”