The 10 Dirtiest Street Snacks

The 10 Dirtiest Street Snacks
Aug 25, 2009 Translated by

Many people like eating snacks, especially the kind you find on the streets. Some steer clear of all street food after seemingly innocent chuanr left them with horrible intestinal distress. Many of the following snacks are rumored to contain hogwash oil. Hogwash oil isn’t some kind of complicated way to indicate we’re pulling your leg – hogwash oil is actually refined, inedible waste oil which should never be eaten and if not disposed of properly can cause terrible pollution. It’s also becoming a big business in China. If you routinely enjoy street food, and want to keep it that way, you might not want to read on.

Dirty stinky tofu china street snack

1. Stinky Tofu (Smelly Tofu) 臭豆腐
Hazard rating: ★★★★
Preference rating: ★★★
Rumored to contain: Ferrous sulfate, alum, scrap heap
Accusation: Chemical ferrous sulfate is used to dye the tofu black

Unsafe Malatang china street snack

2. Hot-hot-hot Malatang 麻辣烫
Hazard rating: ★★★★★
Preference rating: ★★★★
Rumored to contain: opium, hogwash oil, Hydrogen Peroxide, formalin, PPA
Accusation: Malatang is really opium soup

Bacteria embryo eggs china street snacks

3. Embryo Egg 毛鸡蛋
Hazard rating: ★★★★★
Preference rating: ★★★
Rumored to contain: Parasites and germs
Accusation: Contains many harmful bacteria


Dirty chuanr china street food

4. Chuanr 烤肉串
Hazard rating: ★★★★
Preference rating: ★★★★
Rumored to contain: Stray cats, pigs, nitrite
Accusation: Selling cat meat as mutton. Is the kabob you eat really mutton?

Dirty steamed dumplings china

5. Steamed Dumplings 包子
Hazard rating: ★★
Preference rating: ★★★★★
Rumored to contain: pork sarcoma, plaster
Accusation: Pork sarcoma are used by some bad sellers as the filling of the dumplings

Dirtiest street snacks china

6. Deep-Fried Pancakes and Deep-Fried Dough Sticks (You Tiao) 油饼、油条
Hazard rating: ★★★
Preference rating: ★★★★★
Rumored to contain: Too much aluminum, DDVP, hogwash oil
Accusation: Too much aluminum and DDVP are used in deep-fried dough sticks


Unsafe seafood china

7. Seafood Sidewalk Booth 海鲜排挡 
Hazard rating: ★★★
Preference rating: ★★★★
Rumored to contain: Parasites, mercury, formaldehyde
Accusation: There’s formaldehyde in the seafood

Jian bing street food china

8. Jian Bing 煎饼果子 
Hazard rating: ★★★
Preference rating: ★★★★
Rumored to contain: Hogwash oil, pigment of citron yellow and expired ham
Accusation: Some street sellers are using dirty hogwash oil to cook the think pancakes

Sweet potato dirtiest snacks china

9. Roasted Sweet Potato 烤红薯
Hazard rating: ★★★
Preference rating: ★★
Key words: Chemical barrel and Alternaria brassicicola
Accusation: The barrel they’re using to roast the sweet potatoes once held chemicals


Rotten Chicken wings China

10. Fried Chicken Wings 炸鸡翅 
Hazard rating: ★★
Preference rating: ★★★★
Rumored to contain: sweet potato powder, rotten chicken wings
Accusation: Spicy chicken wings are made of rotten chicken wings in some fast food restaurants

Read the original in Chinese at


Related Links:

Interest in Organic Food on the Rise in China
Eat This and get Cancer; Eat This and Live
Wo Chi Su – Being a Vegetarian in China
Guide to Street Food

Warning:The use of any news and articles published on without written permission from constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.


All comments are subject to moderation by staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.



those street seller only care about profit, and don't care how they prepare the foods

Sep 01, 2016 09:12 Report Abuse



Oh for goodness sake! Another article filled with rumours aimed to scare us!

When was the last time anyone heard of someone suffering anything more than a mild dose of the s**ts after eating street snacks?

Been eating whatever looks good on the street in both China and Thailand for ten years now. Never been ill from it.

Oh, and I drink the tap water in China, too. No problem.

Nov 17, 2012 22:58 Report Abuse



I guess i will be sticking to McDonalds, KFC, Kebabs, pizza and Fish & Chips I will take the more pleasurable route to dieing!!

Nov 09, 2012 16:02 Report Abuse



Well, I'm still alive after a couple of years of eating out on the street whatever looks good. Maybe you should also check out what McDonald's slips into their hamburgers, or find out how that steak was manufactured in N. American abattoirs before you get too horrified by street food. Eat and enjoy! These guys make their living from repeat customers, not one timers.....Just my two cents but i like to carry my own chopsticks.

Oct 21, 2012 20:51 Report Abuse


Ell Tee

Whatever, man. Apparently everything is dirty. Baozi and youtiao? Really? And the "it's really cat meat" just echoes the worst of the sophomoric racist jokes of the truly dumb back home. I guess the writer will prefer his KFC and McDonald's; that's not shitty in the least, is it?

Oct 07, 2012 09:46 Report Abuse



Whatever doesn't kill you...will kill the factory owner instead. Zhidao ma?

Sep 21, 2012 22:23 Report Abuse



This is nothing new... in 2008 they had problems with milk that TODAY they still have NOT fixed. My wife and I spend a lot on food, mostly because we always buy clean and safe imported food. I just love the corruption in China.

Nov 22, 2011 01:35 Report Abuse



Hooray for me! Deep fried mushrooms on a stick didn't make the list. I can feast away in ignorant bliss.

Oct 20, 2011 06:17 Report Abuse



No point going to China now....

Dec 10, 2010 09:46 Report Abuse



*pretending I never read this*

Aug 28, 2009 02:59 Report Abuse



Oh.... dear... god.....

Aug 27, 2009 08:59 Report Abuse