“Bruhaha” about food preservatives and flavor enhancers (MSG, KNO2, additives, etc.) is always a trending hashtag in my country.
Many turn their backs and shun intake of food due to presence of some food chems
which they “just heard” from others as “bad”.
Familiar with “herd-ism”?
That state of mind: that when some say so…oh yah…for me to be “in”…I must say so, too, with evident lack of self study and/or research.

Nothing wrong. That’s your life.
In fact, that’s the result of country’s wretchedness now due to
“hero worship following and voting pattern for government officials”

Going back, there is presently a ban on the use of certain meat preservative in P.I.
Potassium Nitrite (KNO2) or “salitre” or “saltpeter”.
That food chemical responsible for “curing” processed meat products like:
“longanizas” (native sausages)
“tocino” (anisado wine and sugar sweetened pork)
hams, bacon, corned beef and all those dry/wet sausages produced in the world.

Even without food color, notice the pinkish color of meat when boiled or fried.
Side by side on a freezer, witness processed meats’ staying power of not spoiling
for longer period as opposed to fresh ones.
Bite to a bit more tender and flavorful meat than your usual.
These are all due to the “cure”.

Years back, in an article or two, there were reports that KNO2 “might have caused” the “cancer” in rats fed with HUGE VOLUME of processed meat cured with said chemical….no further confirmation that KNO2 caused the illness directly.

This led to worldwide panic that it was banned.
IIRR, U.S. report claimed humans have to consume 15 kilos of KNO2 cured meat DAILY for 10 years

to contract cancer…that is, if you will.
(Correct me, it could have been the other way around: 10 kilos DAILY for 15 years)
Of course, Pinoys followed suit. With un-open arms, meat processors-folks in Pampanga and other parts of the country obeyed. Them, who had been utilizing said ingredient for decades finding no harmful results (not even a single report of “cancer”
caused by eating their “tocinos or longanizas or hams or bacon”)

Sodium Nitrite (NaNO2) was developed to replace KNO2.
To date NaNO2 is used worldwide and is approved by utilizing countries’ FDAs as OK for human consumption and considered GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe).
Used now for ALL our fave processed meat products.

Before the BIG question, here’s my major premise:
Singapore is my dream country.
I wish to retire and see my sunset here.
I am a man of discipline.
Hungry for determined leadership
out to instill discipline amongst its constituents,

fostering true-honest-sincere administration effecting genuine peace and order,
heartfelt concern and care for the citizens (more so for the elderly and the poor), PRs, expats and foreigners-tourists, strictest implementation of the laws no matter who the subject(s) is/are and sure shot programs fully studied and implemented not for mere “votes hunting” but for real country’s growth (not of his/her or cohorts’ money vaults).
And I see, witness and spell ALL of the above in this petite nation I love.

The ultra “deafening” and mega clear examples of “discipline” plus
“strict implementation” are:
the “deafening” silence due to vehicles’ non blaring of horns no matter what
and the wholehearted observance of
no counter flowing despite heaviest traffic snarls.
Can you beat that?

The “only” place I’ve known and witnessed where restro clients line up and fill their condiments container on per need basis. Not the usual and normal ways of many in other countries where they fill to overflowing-brim-not fully consuming-going to waste…or directed to home consumption. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.


No counter-flows. No blowing of horns. Each one waiting for their turn patiently, happily and with the mindset…“riders safety is our prime priority”. Oh WOW. Not here.


Cleanest. Most disciplined.


No matter how busy, patiently waiting for the green-go-pedestrian light before proceeding. Law abiding. A good example to young ones.

But here goes my question:
I chanced upon this product at the shelf of one of the cold storages.
Mind you, it’s bought by locals and foreigners, educated and issues-aware at that.
Staff in-charge claimed processed meats with similar labeling-acceptance for the use of KNO2 are best sellers.
I did so too for I don’t believe in the earlier reports about KNO2
and for the fact that I love to consume it.
Potassium NitrateClick on the pic to zoom and check KNO2.

Singapore implements its laws to the fullest.
But why this product with evident and clear imprinting of KNO2 use
if such ingredient is banned.

My own “maybes”:
1. The report or the ban could had been corrected and retrieved.
Could be as some meat processors in the country (P.I.) now return to the use of “salitre” claiming it more effective than NaNO2.
2.Consumers in Singapore do not succumb to “herd-ism”. They analyse issues and decide for themselves.
2. If this is allowed openly in a country like Singapore,

Well, I’ve consumed it.
Brought home 4 packs back to P.I. together with 3 packs of my
“to die for Johnsonville Cheese-Filled Hotdogs”…yummiest.

Surprising Health Benefits and Usages of ONION.


I chanced upon “a rotting onion bulb” in our ref’s veggie cooler.
Examining closely, saw a tiny greenish chive still intact at bulb’s head.
Believing it’s still alive and can be resurrected, got a clear drinking glass,
poured in little tap water, peeled off browned skin and set onion on it.
Left it by the side of sink. No direct sunlight.
Traveled for days and when I came back 12 days thereafter…WOW!
Above shot tells it all.
Quantity may not be enough for my usual recipe-cooking issues particularly the chive.
But it now lies in my office working table as…
a conversation piece.
Read on…
1. Sore throats can be soothed by “onion tea”. Boil 300ml. tap water with 5-6 slices of medium onion.
Drain to remove boiled cloves, drink hot or cool via ref for while.
2. Besides flavor and nutrients, health-promoting phytochemicals in onions improve the Vitamin C in our body
thereby enhancing immunity levels. Read more here: http://www.mdidea.com/products/proper/proper02806.html
(thank you mdidea)
3.Onion chives (onion leaves without the bulb), like carrots, melon, mango, lettuce, red and green sweet bell peppers are
rich in Vitamin A.
4. Raw onion enhances production of good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) that our healthy hearts
become ready for healthy loving.
5. A bit painful burn(s)? Rubbing onions unto it(them) will mild the pain.
6. “The chromium in onions works to improve the cell’s response to insulin. Studies of diabetics show that onions lower
insulin levels and improve tolerance for glucose.” Read more here:

(thank you FITDAY)
7. Centuries ago, onions were utilized to reduce inflammation and heal infections.
8. Onions thrive on consuming free radicals that your risk of developing gastric ulcers is reduced
9. For honeybee bites, rub onion juice on affected area for immediate relief from pain and “heat” sensation.
As bug-repellant, rubbing onion on your skin aids in your walking freely-unmindful of them. Had been bitten?
Still, rubbing onion on area will ease the pain.
10. Crushed onion slices in water will clean metal surfaces. Just rub with the use of cloth.
11. I use water with sliced onion to get rid of our home’s unhealthy odors emitted by chemicals in paints.
12. The most important which, also, I do firmly believe to be so,
     is this:
                 onions attract and collect air born bacteria and viruses thereby purifying your home thereat”
Read more here:   http://www.snopes.com/medical/swineflu/onion.asp
(thank you Snopes)

The truth about “extenders” in the food we eat (2nd of 2 series). TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) What are these?

(Textured Vegetable Protein)
(or sometimes called Textured Soya Protein)
My major premise (again & again): NOTHING IS WRONG WITH TVPs.
It contains 50-65% protein.
You are not aware of it.
Producers label their food products so flowery-nice that these “extenders” are left un-noticed.
Different “extenders” are used by manufacturers to cut down on costs of goods sold unto you:
1. Chicken MDM (Mechanically De-boned Meat) (explained in 1st Series)
2. TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein or Soya Protein)
(below elaborated now)
There are other food “extenders” that you’re not aware of:
3. Bread & milk.
4. Modified Starches, different types of flour, rice & cereals.
5. Meat trimmings, internals & skins.
Rendering the name “textured”, these are manufactured from soya beans,
converted into paste then extruded into different shapes, sizes, color,
protein content and hydration capacity (the capacity to absorb water).
Sold by the sacks of 25kilos, red, white, natural light brown or caramel color, 50-65% protein content,
best quality ones are from USA, Israel and Brazil.
Argentina, Turkey, India and China joined the industry as demand keeps on rising year after year.
Prices are based on protein content, absorption capacity & size.
The higher the protein & absorption rate, the higher amount you shell out.
Normal absorption capacity is 1 part TVP:3 parts water.From above rate you will note that a kilo of TVP, approximately P75.00/ or U$D1.70/,
when hydrated with 3 kilos of water (in seconds) will come out 4 kilos of “seemingly like ground meat”
…at that P75.00/kilo price. Great cost cutting.
98% or processed meats (canned or frozen-packed), here & worldwide, contain TVP.
Some are manufactured with little meat (pork, beef, chicken etc.) plus TVP as extender and some,
aside from TVP, in conjunction with such, still add Chicken MDM plus other “extenders”.How low, do you think, will the production cost be if this formulation (TVP + MDM + other extenders) is employed?Your favorite most vaunted burger patty, almost ALL,
repeat almost ALL types of sausages & longanizas, luncheon meats, meat & beef  loaves, embutidos, dimsums, dumplings, meat & beef balls, corned beef etc and etc and etc…TVP plays the major role.
TVP is as basic as Tylenol, or Tempra or Biogesic when you have fever or wish to ease a pain.Let’s disect the widely bragged item…corned beef.
Why do you think a “low-cost” 100-gram can of corned beef can be sold at below P14.00 (U$D0.31)?
A kilo of good quality CARA-beef (or India’s buffalo meat) demands P130.00/ (U$D2.95/). By just plain division: P130/1000grams (1000 grams to a kilo) = P0.13 X 100 grams (100 grams can) = P13.00
So how can you sell it at say P14/can? MIRACLE?
The manufacturer makes ONLY P1/can?
Where do they charge product cost, labor, utilities, can, label, marketing expenses?
How about the profit of the dealers or distributors?
NOT THE REAL CATTLE BEEF which is much higher in price.

Oh really? Don’t pull my crump-prone leg guys.

Further, what if the label & ad campaign claim is: “made from Angus beef”?
Does real Angus beef mean TOP (1st rated or the EMIRP…you have to read this backwards) or the CHOICE (2nd rated) cut?
THINK. THINK VERY DEEPLY. Even if they double the price
…I will be too stubborn…as I will NEVER believe it’s Angus.
Check this out:
* The “chicken” in the “sotanghon soup” you buy…that’s white TVP-strips not chicken.
* The “beef” in your comfort food cupped-noodle soup are hydrated caramel TVP-minced.
*The highly popularized canned corned beef now, bragging of pure beef, the one used is
 red (or caramel colored) TVP-powder.
And once way too large volume of TVPs is used,
how do they mask the soya aroma & taste of the end product?
Flavors, concentrates of food extracts, add-on spices/herbs/condiments/chemicals etc. come to use.

You dislike MSG (Monosodium Glutamate-Vetsin). Do you know that the other types of food you eat contain the same ingredient as MSG? The truth behind this dreaded enhancer. Read on.


You dislike MSG (Monosodium Glutamate or Vetsin).
Fine…but do you know that the other types of food you eat contain the same ingredient as MSG?
Have seen, witnessed, heard many saying…
“I don’t like MSG & I don’t eat food with MSG”.
I can say…tell that to the marines.Look closely at what you’re eating.
The seasonings, sauces, dips, dressings, batters, marinades and thousands of other food
…contain YOU’RE DREADED MSG. You veer away from the known brand of Vetsin
but you consume other types of food that contain the same ingredient present in the former.
You like ? seasoning, ? oyster sauce or ? soy sauce…they all contain MSG.You’re delighted with instant noodles especially on cold rainy days;
you love the taste of your dish when you add your favorite “seasoning” to it
and you brag of your handmade pizza or that from your fave parlor…
One way or the other, they contain your hated MSG.
Learn from this link: http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html
(thanks truthinlabelling)
WHY? Afraid of consuming it?
MSG is sodium salt of glutamic acid.
It is obtained through fermentation of either: sugar cane, corn or tapioca (cassava)
Crystal MSGs are crystals.
A closer look even in its powder form, MSG is millions of small crystals.
THEY DO NOT HAVE TASTE AT ALL but are good flavor enhancers.Human tongue is consists of “taste buds”, small tiny cells of about 10,000 or so
scattered in different parts of tongue’s surface.
These “taste buds” are the ones responsible for humans to feel what they are consuming
then these cells send signal to the brain-and brain analyzes what taste it is
(sweet, salty, bitter, sour and the latest addition…umami)Women possess more “taste buds” than men.
Babies and young ones have more of these and wane as they grow older.
They do not actually seize to exist but are just out there-inactive-due to various factors:
smoking and alcohol which tend to numb these “buds” faster,
unhealthy mouth condition where dirt, grime and leftovers cover these cells
until they form part of them and as we grow old through time their taste potency also diminishes.So, the more active “taste buds” the better we grasp the taste of food.
When MSG is added to a recipe, these tiny crystals actually “hones”
(in Tagalog…”hinahasa”) or “scrapes” the covering of these “buds” exposing them to the true taste of the food.
That’s it, MSG does not impart any flavor or taste but helps us identify specific taste.CAUTION: not because MSG has that effect, “pilosopo” (one track mind) will claim,
“why not put a ton of MSG so we can taste the food really well”, NO!
Put a bit more and be ready to experience ache at the back of your head.
Too much of anything is…ahh you know what.

Still, the best ways to revive and/or revitalize “taste buds” are:
1. quit smoking-minimize alcohol intake
2. have a healthy mouth habit
3. when brushing teeth, scrub lightly tip, top and back of tongue
4. …and this is fun, always try to identify the ingredients used in your every intake.
Over time…you will be amazed…you are “a food critic”, too.

So far there are only 4 reliable (I hope)
MSG manufacturers supplying the world:
1. Aji-No-Moto (Japan) – more of the home directed crystals
2. Vedan (Vietnam) – used by majority of food processors
due to low price and in powder form
3. ADM (USA) – no nonsense best quality
and also more on the powder type
4. Unknown China-made.
5. …there could be other brands somewhere-for sure it’s repacked.

(meaning Disodium Inosinate + Disodium Guanylate…then STOP & decide if you’ll continue)
Reason: full flavor identifying & enhancing effects of I+G
go well-hand-in-hand with MSG.
When the former is present so is the latter.

You like BEEF. But what kind of beef do you eat? Would you know?



You love beef.
But do you know the type of beef you’re eating?
OR, what you’re eating is NOT BEEF at all.
You’ll be surprised.
I. What kind of beef?
Fastfood chains, restos, processed meat manufacturers, they ALL claim: “100% pure beef”.
And presto! You go for it. Not knowing what type of beef you’re about to consume: be it burger, corned beef, sausages (different types of hotdogs-cocktails-jumbos-etc), canned recipes, beef balls, including but not limited to,
the loved beef viand from your fave resto.
India supplies “buffalo meat” to almost all processed-frozen meat manufacturing counties of the world.
It is equivalent to Philippines’  “carabao meat”. “
Nothing is wrong with “buffalo meat”. In fact it is higher in protein content than cattle beef.
The only apprehensible-negative point of it is consumers’ notion of it being “dirty”
and/or not fitted for human consumption and/or meat is tough being an errand animal, etc.
But its price is pretty much lower than cattle.
It is for this nega attitude that “buffalo” users & marketers try to “hide” reality by claiming their products are: again, “100% pure beef”
which automatically gives possible consumers the impression that what they offer is cattle beef.
Majority, repeat, MAJORITY of processors utilize “buffalo or carabao meat”.
Your choice. Be inquisitive.
Be bolder, ask: what kind of beef next time around.
II.  Angus beef. Really?
The fad now is to crave for Angus beef, Wagyu, milk or pineapple-rind fed cattles
and all those “ek-ek” marketing strategies.
Be extra cautious. Why?
Angus, which is a breed-type of cattle, for one, is really the melt in your mouth lean-fat bite that will gear you up to be ecstatically happy of what you eat. But ANGUS has a GRADING system. NOT ALL ANGUS are the same, similar, egual, pareho.
If your cut is TOP OF THE LINE (like the EMIRP cut…read this backwards), then you have to shell out ++U$D for it,
like: your 1/3 lb. PURE EMIRP ANGUS burger sandwich
commanding a price of U$D15-25 per.
Similarly, but on a bit lower tag, if “choice” (the second best ANGUS) is the cut served to you.
Then you have: select, standard, commercial grade, utility, cutter and the lowest level…the canner grade.This grading system is determined by USDA on very stringent requirements
which will tell us that angus beef before it can be “a certified angus beef”
must be certified by this same agency. And so, a beef can be “angus” (here, be sure of the grade)
…but NOT all angus beef are “certified”.The commercial, utility & cutter grades are the levels used by many of those claiming to be “angus so and so product”.
They dream of attracting consumer interest while paying the amount equivalent
to plain cattle beef from New Zealand or Australia, which most of the times,
tastes better than those they claim as “angus”.Again, and again, be careful
In coming posts…you will know the type of “extenders” that manufacturers utilize in their meat production…
like: the siomai or shu-mai or shiew mai you are eating
may not be pork at all.

Know it in coming posts.