Healthier 'youtiao'? Chengdu vendor finds breakthrough recipe

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 8:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

Chinese youtiao-lovers will be thrilled to learn about a recent breakthrough by a Chengdu vendor to make healthier versions of the deep-fried dough stick.

Youtiao is a popular but unhealthy breakfast food in China. Li Gang, a street vendor in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, took the initiative to try to make healthier ones – without using a raising agent that contains high levels of aluminum, a newspaper reported.

“I have conducted more than 50 experiments,” Li told Chengdu Business Daily. His efforts paid off when he finally came up with a way to make youtiao without aluminum, the unhealthy but essential ingredient that makes youtiao crispy.

The secret is to add eggs in the dough before frying the dough, Li said.

The newspaper says results from Chengdu’s food safety testing centre show Li’s youtiao contains 16mg/kg of aluminium, much lower than national safety limit of 100mg/kg. Over-consumption of aluminium can lead to damage to the nervous system, which can contribute to the loss of memory, according to the food safety testing centre.

Li’s new creation boosted his daily youtiao sales, he told reporters. Each cost only 1 yuan.

Reports about Li’s new invention quickly led to an online buzz. Li won public praise as the recent food safety crisis in China played on everyone’s minds. He was even given the nickname “youtiao brother” by people online.

“‘Youtiao brother’ has brought shame to the illegal food produces,” one person commented.

Another wrote: “His sincerity and good fair has deeply moved me.”

A well-known angel investor Xue Manzi even invited Li to launch a business in Beijing.